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UC Merced Engineering Delegation Travels to Japan to Present Technology

April 25, 2006

UC Merced Engineering Delegation Travels to Japan to Present Technology

It’s easy to mention technology and Japan in the same breath, or technology and the Bay Area. Budding technology ideas from UC Merced found audience among ideas from those locations at a recent meeting in Tokyo. The meeting was sponsored by the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), an intercampus UC effort focusing on technology for energy, transportation, health care and other applications.

Professors Alberto Cerpa and Shawn Newsam and Assistant Dean German Gavilan of the UC Merced School of Engineering traveled to the CITRIS Asia Research Symposium in April with their CITRIS colleagues from Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Davis. Cerpa presented some of his research at the meeting.

It was important for us at UC Merced to show that we are part of CITRIS. It’s an exciting affiliation, said Newsam. Alberto’s research was right in line with the themes of the meeting – environmental monitoring and communications were among the stated topics for the meeting.

Cerpa presented ideas from his research to an audience of about 200 Japanese industrial, government and academic leaders who came specifically to gather technical and organizational information. He found a positive response to his solutions for monitoring water conditions using a robotic sensor system, to his thoughts about sensor networks to monitor conditions in buildings, and to his ideas on cost-effective transmissions in sensor networks. A dynamic illustration of signal strength that Cerpa had prepared as a short video using a constantly changing, color-coded grid especially seemed to connect with his audience.

He noted that culturally, the Japanese audience preferred to listen to the entire presentation without interrupting, so he didn’t encounter many questions during his talk. The questions and expressions of interest came later.

We accomplished a lot of good networking during meals and receptions, Cerpa said. The purpose of the CITRIS gathering was to form collaborations with Japanese institutions, so that networking was exactly on target. It was also helpful to get to know CITRIS colleagues from different campuses, he added.

It’s exciting to get a little recognition and begin to put UC Merced on the map, he said.