UC San Diego Information Theorists Show Up in Force at IEEE International Symposium

San Diego, July 9, 2010  -- More than a dozen research papers at the 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT) were co-authored by researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and the papers presented by graduate students resonated with reviewers. Among 250 student papers at the June conference in Austin, Texas, 44 were selected as finalists by the Information Theory Society Award Committee, and five of those were co-authored by students affiliated with the Information Theory and Applications Center (ITA), based at the UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). The papers were evaluated based on technical content and the quality of the presentation at ISIT, and now the Society has announced that one of the UCSD finalists is also a Best Student Paper Award winner for 2010.

Jayadev Acharya
Jayadev Acharya, a third-year graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, received the news while he was in India – getting married. “It was a great honor for my colleagues and me,” said Acharya. “Could there be a better wedding gift?”

Acharya’s prize-winning paper – “On Reconstructing a Sequence from its Subsequence Compositions” – was co-authored with Hirakendu Das, Olgica Milenkovic, Shengjun Pan and ITA director Alon Orlitsky. The paper considered the simple problem of reconstructing a string from the compositions of all its substrings. The problem is motivated by mass-spectrometry protein sequencing, where the protein molecule is broken up into segments whose weights and hence amino-acid composition can be determined. The segment compositions are then used to infer the protein's sequence of amino acids, and hence its functionality. Viewing strings as bivariate polynomials, Jayadev and his co-authors converted the reconstruction problem into that of polynomial factorization. They then used this formulation to show that strings of length one short of a prime can be uniquely reconstructed, while for other lengths, reconstruction may not be unique.

UCSD's Information Theory and Applications Center at Calit2
In addition to Acharya et al.'s prize-winning paper, four other UCSD papers were among the finalists. They cover topics in communication with secrecy, distributed network computation, reliable storage, and communication with feedback. The selection of five finalists from one institution, much less one research center, “reflects on the quality and breadth of our faculty and students' research,” said ITA’s Orlitsky, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering.

The other UCSD finalists' papers were: 

Next fall ITA will host a colloquium where the five UCSD finalists will present their papers. Also, many of the researchers who participated at the Austin symposium will be in San Diego next February 6-11, when ITA hosts its sixth annual Information Theory and Applications Workshop. 

Related Links

 ISIT 2010 
ISIT Student Paper Awards 
Information Theory and Applications Center 
ITA Workshop 2011 
UCSD Electrical and Computer Engineering 
Jacobs School of Engineering 

Media Contacts

 Doug Ramsey, 858-822-5825,