Simons Institute announces Richard M. Karp Distinguished Lecture Series

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing has announced the creation of the Richard M. Karp Distinguished Lectures, named in honor of CS Prof. Emeritus Richard Karp, the Institute’s Founding Director. The series will feature talks by leading researchers in the foundations of computing including Sanjeev Arora (Ph.D. '94, advisor: Umesh Vazirani), Faith Ellen (Ph.D. '82, advisor: Richard Karp), Dan Gusfield (B.S. '73/Ph.D. '80, advisor: Richard Karp), Mike Luby (Ph.D. '83, advisor: Richard Karp), Antony P.-C. Ng (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Richard Brayton), Prabhakar Raghavan (Ph.D. '86, advisor: Clark Thompson), CS Prof. Scott Shenker, Vijay Vazirani (Ph.D. '84, advisor: Manuel Blum), and Karp, himself.  The lecture series will be launched in the Fall.

GauGAN AI art tool wins two major awards at SIGGRAPH 2019 Real-Time Live Competition

A viral real-time AI art application, co-created by three current and former graduate students of CS Prof. Alexei Efros, has won two coveted awards--Best in Show and Audience Choice--at the SIGGRAPH 2019 Real-Time Live Competition.  The interactive application, called GauGAN, was co-created by Ph.D. candidate Taesung Park during a summer internship at NVIDIA, along with alumni and NVIDIA researchers Jun-Yan Zhu (Ph.D. '17,  ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Doctoral Disseration winner) and Ting-Chun Wang (Ph.D. '17), as well as NVIDIAs Ming-Yu Liu.  GauGAN is the first semantic image synthesis model that can turn rough sketches into stunning, photorealistic landscape scenes.

Bill Kramer to Lead Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

CS alumnus Bill Kramer (Ph.D. 2008, advisors: David Culler and James Demmel) has been selected as the next director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), a joint research center of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.  Kramer, currently project director and PI of the Blue Waters Project and the senior associate director for  NCSA @Scale Science and Technology at Urbana-Champaign, begins his role in  fall 2019.  Kramer has also held leadership rolls at LBNL, NASA Ames, and NERSC.

Kathy Yelick looks back and ahead

Kathy Yelick has announced that she will be stepping down as Associate Laboratory Director of the Computing Sciences organization at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), a position she has held for nine years. Yelick, who was also the Director of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) from 2008 to 2012, is the subject of an HPC interview where she talks about her time at LBNL and what the future holds.

Wymbo app seeks to notify students about events and opportunities at UC Berkeley

Recent CS alumnus Shawn Magee (B.A. '19) and Haas student Raja Riahi are developing an app called Wymbo to help UC Berkeley students navigate the campus’s many events and activities.  They co-founded Wymbo inside Berkeley startup accelerator SkyDeck as a discovery platform:  students choose what types of subjects they’re interested in and Wymbo displays related resources, events and opportunities around campus.  They hope the app will provide students with opportunities to step away from their smart phones to explore the Berkeley campus and community.  Wymbo is set to be released on both the iOS and Android app stores by the end of July.

2019 VLDB Early Career Award

Aditya Parameswaran wins VLDB Early Career Award

Prof. Aditya Parameswaran wins the Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) Early Career Award, which recognizes a researcher who has demonstrated research impact through a specific technical contribution of high significance since completing the Ph.D. The VLDB Endowment is a non-profit organization incorporated in the United States for the sole purpose of promoting and exchanging scholarly work in databases and related fields throughout the world. Prof. Parameswaran is cited "for developing tools for large-scale data exploration, targeting non-programmers.” 

2019 EECS PECASE Winners

Anca Dragan and Alvin Cheung win Presidential Early Career awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

Profs. Anca Dragan and Alvin Cheung have been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers. Established in 1996, the PECASE acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, and community outreach. Prof. Dragan was nominated by the National Science Foundation and Prof. Cheung was nominated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Michael Jordan on the goals and remedies for AI

CS Prof. Michael Jordan has written a commentary in the Harvard Data Science Review (HDSR) titled "Dr. AI or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Economics" (a play on the title of the film Dr. Strangelove).  In it, he  argues that instead of trying to put "‘thought’ into the computer, and expecting that ‘thinking computers’ will be able to solve our problems and make our lives better," he explores the prospect of bringing microeconomics "into the blend of computer science and statistics that is currently being called ‘AI.'"

New RIOS Lab to expand RISC open-source ecosystem

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson, his former graduate student Zhangxi Tan (PhD '13), and Lin Zhang of the Tsinghua-UC Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI), have been chosen to co-direct the new RISC-V International Open Source (RIOS) Laboratory, an non-profit research lab launched by the TBSI.  RIOS aims to expand and elevate the capabilities of Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) microprocessors.  Patterson, who is currently a distinguished engineer at Google, coined the term RISC in the early 1980s to describe a computer architecture that allowed microprocessors to operate far more efficiently with simple, general instructions.  Nearly all of the 16 billion microprocessors produced annually are RISC processors.

Shruti Agarwal and Hany Farid use facial quirks to unmask ‘deepfakes’

CS graduate student Shruti Agarwal and her thesis advisor Prof. Hany Farid have created a new weapon in the war against "deepfakes," the hyper-realistic AI-generated videos of people appearing to say and do things they never actually said or did.  The new forensic technique, which uses the subtle characteristics of how a person speaks to recognize whether a new video of that individual is real, was presented this week at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Long Beach.  “The basic idea is we can build these soft biometric models of various world leaders, such as 2020 presidential candidates," said Farid, "and then as the videos start to break, for example, we can analyze them and try to determine if we think they are real or not.”