News

Lecture series with Turing laureates celebrates Berkeley’s ‘golden age’ of CS research

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of computer science at UC Berkeley and the university’s sesquicentennial, the EECS Department is launching a special series of lectures by winners of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, considered the field’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize.  The Turing laureates all have ties to UC Berkeley either as current or past faculty members or as alumni. They include David Patterson, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of computer science, who, along with former Stanford president John Hennessy, earned a Turing this past March for influential work on computer architecture design. “The 1970s and 1980s represented a golden age of computer science research at Berkeley,” said Patterson. “A remarkable seven research projects that began here went on to earn Turing awards.”

John Ousterhout, professor of computer science at Stanford University, adds: “If you use Turing Awards as the metric, you could make the case that the greatest team of computer researchers ever assembled at one place and time was at UC Berkeley in the 1970s and 1980s.” The lecture series, which is open to the public, will kick off at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, with a talk by Shafi Goldwasser, director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley. Every Wednesday through Nov. 14 will feature a Turing award laureate speaking in Banatao Auditorium in Sutardja Dai Hall.  In addition to their technical talk, the lecturers will reflect on their time at UC Berkeley and look toward the future of research and technological development in their fields. In anticipation of full attendance, these lectures will also stream live on YouTube via CITRIS.

Nico Deshler will present at Council on Undergraduate Research REU Symposium

Research undertaken by undergraduate student Nico Deshler will be presented at the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Symposium in Alexandria, VA, on October 28-29.   Deshler's project, "Multi-Sensor Arrays: Augmenting 3D Reconstruction Volumes for Mask-Based Computational Cameras," was done as part of the CS Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley (SUPERB) under the mentorship of Prof. Laura Waller and EECS PhD student, Kristina Monakhova.  The goal of the EECS SUPERB Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) program is to prepare and motivate diverse, competitive candidates for graduate study.

David Wang and Samantha Wathugala named 2019 Siebel Scholars

CS graduate students David Wang and Samantha Wathugala have been named to the Siebel Scholars Foundation’s 2019 class.  The Siebel Scholars program recognizes top students at the world’s leading graduate schools of bioengineering, business, computer science and energy science, and comes with a $35,000 award.  Wathugala applies state-of-the-art deep learning techniques to object detection, grasping and manipulation in an unstructured domain, using a toy-collecting robot.  Wang uses deep learning to build accurate, reliable systems for precision irrigation and autonomous driving.


Audrey Sillers wins Wil Zeilinger Staff Excellence Award

Director of Student Diversity and EECS Undergraduate Affairs, Audrey Sillers, is the recipient of the 2018 EECS/ERSO Wil Zeilinger Staff Excellence Award.  The Zeilinger Award is the most prestigious staff honor in the EECS department and is presented annually to the staff member who best embodies "a spririt of service cheerfully given for the general good."  Over the course of Audrey's 12 year career in EECS, she has worked her way up through 5 positions,  sharing her calm, focus, warmth and dedication with everyone she has encountered.  Among her many achievements is the creation of the EECS Wellness Committee, designed to find ways to help people feel more welcome, comfortable, and supported in the department. 

The Art of Innovation: George Crow’s Path from Cal to Apple

EECS alumnus George Crow (B.S. '66) is the subject of a California Magazine article titled "The Art of Innovation: George Crow’s Path from Cal to Apple."  Crow was lured away from a job at Hewlett-Packard in 1981 to take charge of the team responsible for developing the power supply and display for what would become the pathbreaking Mac personal computer.  Crow discusses his time at Berkeley and Apple, founding NeXT with Steve Jobs, and going back to Apple before retiring in 2006 to devote his time to the arts.

Six new EECS faculty welcomed in 2018

The EECS department welcomes six new faculty members who joined the department in 2018:  CS Prof. Shafi Goldwasser (EECS M.S. '81/Ph.D. '84) is a cryptography pioneer and one of only three women to have won the ACM A.M. Turing Award. Goldwasser was a professor in the Department of EECS at MIT and joined us to become the new director of the Simons Institute; EE Assistant Prof. Jiantao Jiao's research on causal relationships has applications in the fields of health and social sciences. Jiao is expecting his Ph.D. in EE from Stanford University this fall; CS Prof. Jennifer Listgarten applies machine learning to computational biology and gene editing, including CRISPR technology. She came to us from Microsoft Research New England; EE Prof.-in-residence Yi Ma (EECS M.S. '97/Ph.D. '00) applies mathematical analysis to applications in computer vision and autonomous robots. He comes to us from ShanghaiTech University, where he was professor and executive dean of the School of Information Science and Technology; EE Associate Prof. Robert Pilawa-Podgurski's research interests include renewable energy applications and power electronics. He comes to us from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was an associate professor of ECE; EE Assistant Teaching Prof. Gireeja Ranade (EECS M.S. '09/Ph.D. '14) has research interests that span various aspects of artificial intelligence (AI), wireless communications and robotics. She comes to us from Microsoft Research, where she was a postdoctoral researcher in AI.

K. Shankari warns that Google is tracking you

CS graduate student K.Shankari (advisors: Randy Katz and David Culler) is featured in an AP News article titled "AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not."  Shankari, who studies the commuting patterns of volunteers in order to help urban planners,  noticed that her Android phone prompted her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl’s, even though she had turned Location History off.  When Location History is turned off,  iPhones and Androids display pop-ups which say "None of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History" and “places you go with your devices will stop being added to your Location History map," respectively.  However, the Google account web page admits that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.”  “I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle,” said Shankari. “It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated.”

Explore UC Berkeley’s culture of entrepreneurship with Hriday Kemburu

CS alumnus Hriday Kemburu (B.A. '16) is featured in a Daily Cal article about UC Berkeley’s start up ecosystem titled "‘Dream, build and start up’: Exploring UC Berkeley’s culture of entrepreneurship.'   Kemburu is the CEO of Wildfire,  which began as a UC Berkeley-specific safety app during Kemburu's senior year and branched out into a communications platform spanning more than 30 campuses.  Wildfire is used for spreading the word about anything from crimes to celebrity sightings.  Berkeley's network of startup incubators, accelerators, investors and classes have helped launch hundreds of companies.

Some EECS contributions to the history of Berkeley's scientific endeavors

Some of the achievements of members of the EECS department are highlighted in a Daily Cal article titled "From cyclotrons to wetsuits: A brief history of UC Berkeley’s scientific endeavors. The article covers  Unix, which was developed by EE alumnus Kenneth Thompson (B.S.‘65/M.S.‘66) in 1969, and RISC, a project directed by CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson in 1981.  Prof. Randy Katz, who is currently Berkeley's Vice Chancellor for Research, says “The magic of Berkeley is that we are (a) public institution. Our research agenda is about how the work we do impacts society.”

Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye builds VR sharing platform

CS alumnus Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye (M.S. '12, advisor: Björn Hartmann) is profiled in an ejinsight article titled "Former Silicon Valley executives build VR version of YouTube."  In 2016, Ye gave up his lucrative job with Sierra Ventures in Silicon Valley to establish VeeR VR, a Virtual Reality content sharing platform in China.  The platform allows the growing number of content-creating VR enthusiasts to share their work with viewers via the web and mobile devices. In less than two years, the company has grown to 70 employees, while the number of its registered users around the globe has reached more than 20 million.  Customers include corporate users such as travel companies, news agencies, restaurants, and hotels.