2014-2015 Externally Funded Research Centers and Institutes

Center for Domain-Specific Computing

National Science Foundation Expeditions in Computing Program and InTrans Award

Jason Cong, Ph.D. (Computer Science), Director; http://www.cdsc.ucla.edu

To meet ever-increasing computing needs and overcome power density limitations, the computing industry has entered the era of parallelization, with tens to hundreds of computing cores integrated into a single processor and hundreds to thousands of computing servers connected in warehouse-scale data centers. However, such highly parallel, general-purpose computing systems still face serious challenges in terms of performance, energy, heat dissipation, space, and cost. The Center for Domain-Specific Computing (CDSC) looks beyond parallelization and focuses on domain-specific customization as the next disruptive technology to bring orders-of-magnitude power-performance efficiency improvement to important application domains.

CDSC develops a general methodology for creating novel customizable computing platforms and the associated compilation tools and runtime management environment to support domain-specific computing. The recent focus is on design and implementation of accelerator-rich architectures, from single chips to data centers. It also includes highly automated compilation tools and runtime management software systems for customizable heterogeneous platforms, including multi-core CPUs, many-core GPUs, and FPGAs, as well as a general, reusable methodology for customizable computing applicable across different domains. By combining these critical capabilities, the goal is to deliver a supercomputer-in-a-box or supercomputer-in-a-cluster that can be customized to an application domain to enable disruptive innovations in that domain. This approach has been successfully demonstrated in the domain of medical image processing.

CDSC research is carried out as a collaborative effort between four universities: UCLA (lead institution), Rice University, UC Santa Barbara, and Ohio State University. The research team consists of a group of highly accomplished researchers with diversified backgrounds, including computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, medicine, and applied mathematics. CDSC offers many research opportunities for graduate students, and also provides summer research fellowship programs for high school and undergraduate students. Core funding for CDSC is provided by the National Science Foundation with a $10 million award from the 2009 Expeditions in Computing Program, which is the largest single investment made by the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) . In July 2014, CDSC was awarded an additional $3 million by the Intel Corporation with matching support from NSF under its Innovation Transition (InTrans) program. This award supports CDSC's follow-on research on accelerator-rich architectures with applications to health care, in which personalized cancer treatment is added as an application domain in addition to medical imaging. Oregon Health and Science University also joins as a research partner under the InTrans program.

Center for Encrypted Functionalities

National Science Foundation Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace FRONTIER Award

Amit Sahai, Ph.D. (Computer Science), Director; http://cs.ucla.edu/cef/

The Center for Encrypted Functionalities tackles the deep and far-reaching problem of general-purpose program obfuscation, which aims to make an arbitrary computer program unintelligible while preserving its functionality. Viewed in a different way, the goal of obfuscation is to enable software that can keep secrets: it makes use of secrets, but such that these secrets remain hidden even if an adversary can examine the software code in its entirety and analyze its behavior as it runs. Secure obfuscation could enable a host of applications, from hiding the existence of many vulnerabilities introduced by human error to hiding cryptographic keys within software.

The center's primary mission is to transform program obfuscation from an art to a rigorous mathematical discipline. In addition to its direct research program, the center organizes retreats and workshops to bring together researchers to carry out its mission. The center also engages in high-impact outreach efforts, such as the development of free massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Center for Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering

Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) STARnet and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Researcher Center

Jane P. Chang, Ph.D. (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), Director; http://fame-nano.org

The Center for Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering (FAME) aims to incorporate nonconventional materials and nano-structures with their quantum properties for enabling analog, logic, and memory devices for beyond-Boolean computation. Its main focus is nonconventional material solutions ranging from semiconductors and dielectrics to metallic materials as well as their correlated quantum properties. FAME creates and investigates new, nonconventional, atomic-scale engineered materials and structures of multifunction oxides, metals, and semiconductors to accelerate innovations in analog, logic, and memory devices for revolutionary impact on the semiconductor and defense industries.

FAME is one of six university-based research centers established by SRC through its Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research network (STARnet). Funded by DARPA and the U.S. semiconductor and supplier industries as a public-private partnership, STARnet projects help maintain U.S. leadership in semiconductor technology vital to U.S. prosperity, security, and intelligence. FAME expects to receive a total of $35 million in funding through 2018.

Center for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems

National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center

Gregory P. Carman, Ph.D. (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Director; Jane P. Chang, Ph.D. (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), Deputy Director; http://www.tanms.ucla.edu

The Center for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TANMS) is a 10-year program focused on miniaturizing electromagnetic devices and built around a three-pillar strategy involving research, translation, and education. The research strategy engages the best researchers from the four TANMS campuses (UCLA, UC Berkeley, Cornell University, and California State University, Northridge) to understand and develop new nanoscale multiferroic concepts. The fundamental research activities work synergistically with the center's industrial partners to translate the concepts into applications such as memory, antennae, and motors. These research and translational efforts rely on a workforce of postgraduate, graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 students and also serve to educate the next generation of engineers. TANMS strongly encourages diverse participation using a diversity strategy that creates an inclusive environment, producing a more creative and innovative research environment as compared to a conventional monolithic center culture.

Center of Excellence for Green Nanotechnologies

Kang L. Wang, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering), Director; http://www.cegn-kacst-ucla.org

The Center of Excellence for Green Nanotechnologies (CEGN) undertakes frontier research and development in the areas of nanotechnology in energy and nanoelectronics. It tackles major issues of scaling, energy efficiency, energy generation, and energy storage faced by the electronics industry. CEGN researchers are innovating novel solutions through a number of complementary efforts that minimize power usage and cost without compromising electronic device performance. The approach is based on the integration of magnetic, carbon-based, organic, and optoelectronic materials and devices.

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Saudi Arabia and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science collaborate in CEGN under KACST's established Joint Center of Excellence Program (JCEP) to promote educational technology transfer and research exchanges. KACST has an agreement with UCLA for research in nanoelectronics and clean energy for the next 10 years. KACST is both Saudi Arabia's national science agency and its premier national laboratory. CEGN expects to receive an additional $11 million over the next six years in addition to the $3.7 million it has already received.

Molecularly Engineered Energy Materials Energy Frontier Research Center

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences

Vidvuds Ozolins, Ph.D. (Materials Science and Engineering), Director

The interdisciplinary Molecularly Engineered Energy Materials (MEEM) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) was established in 2009 and brings together several faculty across the UCLA campus in close collaboration with scientists and faculty at the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Eastern Washington University, the University of Kansas, and UC Berkeley.

MEEM has active research programs on organic solar cells, electrochemical supercapacitors, and materials for carbon capture. MEEM focuses on materials that are inherently inexpensive (such as polymers, oxides, and metal-organic frameworks), can be easily assembled from intelligently designed building blocks (molecules, nanoparticles, and polymers), and have the potential to deliver transformative economic benefits in comparison with current crystalline- and polycrystalline-based energy technologies.

A great deal of the center's research is aimed at understanding the basic science issues in energy-related materials phenomena. These advances will enable rational design, efficient synthesis, and effective deployment of novel materials for energy applications. As global energy demands continue, the center's work will be essential in helping to make alternative and renewable energy a viable resource for the 21st century.

Named Data Networking Project

National Science Foundation Future Internet Architecture (FIA) Program

Lixia Zhang, Ph.D. (Computer Science), Principal Investigator; http://named-data.net

While the Internet has far exceeded expectations, it has also stretched initial assumptions, often creating tussles that challenge its underlying communication model. The TCP/ IP architecture was designed to create a communication network where packets named only communication endpoints. Sustained growth in e-commerce, digital media, social networking, and smartphone applications has led to dominant use of the Internet as a distribution network. Solving distribution problems through a point-to-point communication protocol is complex and error-prone.

This project investigates a new Internet architecture called Named Data Networking (NDN). NDN changes the host-centric TCP/IP architecture to a data-centric architecture. This conceptually simple shift has far-reaching implications for how we design, develop, deploy, and use networks and applications. Today's TCP/lP architecture uses addresses to communicate; NDN directly uses application data names to fetch data. TCP/IP secures the data container and communication channels; NDN directly secures the data, decoupling trust in data from trust in hosts. The project takes an application-driven, experimental approach to design and build a variety of applications on NDN to drive the development and deployment of the architecture and its supporting modules, test prototype implementations, and encourage community use, experimentation, and feedback into the design.

The new Future Internet Architectures' Next Phase (FIA-NP) program began in May 2014. The Named Data Networking Project is now under FIA-NP funding.

Smart Grid Energy Research Center

Rajit Gadh, Ph.D. (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Director; http://smartgrid.ucla.edu

The UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center (SMERC) performs research, creates innovations, and, demonstrates advanced wireless/communications, Internet, and sense-and-control technologies to enable the development of the next generation of the electric utility grid—the Smart Grid. SMERC also provides thought leadership through partnership between utilities, renewable energy companies, technology providers, electric vehicle and electric appliance manufacturers, DOE research labs, and universities, so as to collectively work on vision, planning, and execution towards a grid of the future. The Smart Grid of the future would allow integration of renewable energy sources, reduce losses, improve efficiencies, increase grid flexibility, reduce power outages, allow for competitive electricity pricing, allow for integration of electric vehicles, and overall become more responsive to market, consumer, and societal needs. SMERC is currently working on the topics of automated demand response, electric vehicle integration (G2V and V2G), microgrids, distributed renewable integration, storage integration into microgrids, cyber-security, and consumer behavior.

WIN Institute of Neurotronics

Nanoelectronics Research Initiative National Institute of Excellence

Kang L. Wang, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering), Director; http://win-nano.org

Successor to the Western Institute of Nanoelectronics (WIN), the WIN Institute of Neurotronics (WINs) focuses on cutting-edge research including nanostructures for high-efficiency solar cells, patterned nanostructures for integrated active optoelectronics on silicon, and carbon nanotube circuits.

Through the multidisciplinary research efforts of WINs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded UCLA $6 million to build the Western Institute of Nanotechnology on Green Engineering and Metrology (WIN-GEM) building as part of the Engineering Building I replacement, which broke ground in 2013.

Wireless Health Institute

Bruce Dobkin, M.D. (Medicine/Neurology), William Kaiser, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering), Majid Sarrafzadeh, Ph.D. (Computer Science), Co-Directors; http://www.wirelesshealth.ucla.edu

Advances in engineering and computer science are enabling the design of powerful home and mobile technologies that can agment functional independence and daily activities of people with physical impairments, disabilities, chronic diseases, and the accumulative impairments associated with aging. These home-health and mobile-health technologies can serve as monitoring devices of health and activity, feedback reinforcement for risk factor management, and outcome measures for individual care and large clinical trials.

The Wireless Health Institute believes that tiny sensors—including accelerometers, gyroscopes, force transducers, and visual and sound recorders worn on the body and in clothing—will become essential components for the delivery of health care and health maintenance. Sensors created by micro- and nano-technologies will simplify communications with health providers seamlessly over Internet and Wi-Fi transmission using telephones and other convenient devices. To pursue these applications, WHI collaborators include the highly ranked UCLA schools of Medicine, Nursing, Engineering and Applied Science, and Management, the Clinical Translational Science Institute for medical research, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and faculty from many departments on campus. WHI education programs span high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, and provide training in end-to-end product development and delivery for WHI program managers.

WHI products appear in diverse areas including motion sensing, wound care, orthopaedics, digestive health and process monitoring, advancing athletic performance, and many others. Clinical trials validating WHI technology are underway at 10 institutions. WHI products developed by the UCLA team are now in the marketplace in the U.S. and Europe. Physicians, nurses, therapists, other providers, and families can apply these technologies in hospital and community practices. Academic and industry groups can leverage the organization of WHI to rapidly develop products in complete-care programs and validate in trials. WHI welcomes new team members and continuously forms new collaborations with colleagues and organizations in medical science and health care delivery.