News

Panamanian Hackers Unite!

The inaugural edition of PanamaHackea, an educational hackathon for the peoples of Panama, will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2018, in Torre de Las Américas, Panama City.  This event is the brainchild of 6 students from 4 schools, including Berkeley CS junior Rafael Félix, who hope to inspire and empower "a new generation of Panamanian designers, entrepreneurs, and engineers" by making new technologies more available and accessible to everyone.  In the months leading up to the event, they will create and share tutorials, workshops, tools and resources covering topics from the basics of programming to the latest in Machine Learning.  Participants will enjoy space, food, comaraderie, challenges, and prizes, in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Nancy Amato is first woman to lead UI computer science department

CS alumna Nancy Amato (M.S. '88, advisor: Manuel Blum) has been chosen to lead the highly ranked University of Illinois Department of Computer Science — the first woman to hold that position.  She will oversee a fast-growing department that has 80 faculty members and more than 2,400 students, plus 700 online, and is ranked fifth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.  As a professor at Texas A&M, Amato's research focused on motion planning in robotics, parallel algorithms and bio-informatics.  She led an influential group within the Computing Research Association (CRA) to bring more women into the field and runs an undergraduate summer research program that matches students from underrepresented groups with faculty members. She received the CRA Habermann Award in 2014 for her efforts to involve more women and underrepresented minorities in computing research.

Stuart Russell dissects the hype around AI in Paris

CS Prof. Stuart Russell's speech at an event at the American Library in Paris titled "AI And The Future Of Humanity" has been described as a "potential game-changer."  The lecture is explored in an article for Forbes by  Lauren deLisa Coleman titled "Here's The Real Reason You're Terrified Of The $1.2-Trillion AI Industry But Don't Yet Truly Know Why."  Russell is credited with dissecting the hype around AI, including affirming the value of the technology to humanity while asking questions about the ways it might evolve, and exploring some of the shared strategies that are needed during the foundation of this evolution.  The event was produced by Ivy Plus European Leaders, a think tank of alumni from leading US and European Universities, in partnership with UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

Tiffany Perumpail wins Teaching Effectiveness Award

EECS undergraduate Tiffany Perumpail has won a Teaching Effectiveness Award (TEA) from the UC Berkeley Graduate Division.  This very competitive award is bestowed annually by the Graduate Council’s Faculty Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs.  Applicants submit essays in which they identify a problem they encountered in teaching, explain their strategy and rationale in devising a solution, and assess the effectiveness of the solution. Perumpail's essay, about her experience TAing CS61A, is titled "Improvement of Academic Intern Experience and Performance in Introductory Computer Science."  

Emerald Templeton and Eric Fraser win BSA Excellence in Management Awards

Emerald Templeton, the Director of L&S CS Undergraduate Affairs, and Eric Fraser,  Assistant Dean and Director of Information Technology in the College of Engineering, have won  Berkeley Staff Assembly (BSA) Excellence in Management (EIM) Awards.   This year’s theme was “Building Pride & Trust In Our Changing Community,” recognizing managers and supervisors whose leadership encourages respect, dignity, confidence, inclusion, and empowerment amid changing times.  Templeton was cited for being "dynamic, trustworthy, and inclusive in her decision making" as well as being "a strong and outspoken manager," and Fraser was credited for being "generous with his time, providing excellent advice, and never failing to help in any matter." The EIM awards honor managers and supervisors exclusively.  Nominations must originate from staff directly supervised by the nominee and include supporting signatures from at least one-half of these staff.  The winners were honored at a ceremony on May 31st.

Eric Schmidt urges Californians to support UC

1997 CS Distinguished Alumnus Eric Schmidt (M.S. ’79, Ph.D. ‘82), the former executive chairman of Google, has penned an article for the Sacramento Bee titled "You don’t need to be the head of Google to know what needs to be done about the UC."  In it, he describes how public funding for the University of California has shrunk as student enrollment has surged, and why Californians need to support public education.   "Budgets are moral documents – they reveal our true values," he says. "Putting more resources into higher education, sustaining what the state’s founders started, is not only an economic no-brainer – it’s the right thing to do."

Kevin Wang tackles technology with TEALS program

Alumnus Kevin Wang (B.S. '02) is mentioned in an Observer Reporter article titled "Trinity tackles technology with TEALS program."  Wang, who went on to earn an M.Ed. in Technology, Innovation, and Education (TIE) from Harvard, created a Microsoft Philanthropies program called Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) to showcase technology's influence to students .  TEALS is a grassroots program designed to help high schools teach computer science by recruiting, training, and mentoring teams of high tech professionals who partner with classroom teachers.  It is currently being implemented at Trinity High School in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Kristin Stephens-Martinez is new assistant professor of practice at Duke

CS alumna Kristin Stephens-Martinez (M.S. '13/Ph.D. '17 advisors: Vern Paxson/Armando Fox) is a new Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Computer Science at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  Her research interests lie at the intersection of education and computer science, focusing on using data available in large classrooms--both local and MOOCs.  She received the Outstanding GSI (OGSI) Award from the UC Berkeley Graduate Division in 2013 and began her career at Duke in the spring  where she co-taught CompSci 101: Introduction to Computer Science.  She was profiled for a Duke Computer Science article titled "New Faculty: Kristin Stephens-Martinez Takes a 'Meaning-full' Approach to Data Science" in March.

Introducing the new L&S Data Science Major

A new Data Science major in the College of Letters and Science has been approved, effective Fall 2018. This is part of Berkeley’s active engagement with the burgeoning field of data science, which has the potential to shape numerous fields of study and practice.  The major is designed to equip students to draw sound conclusions from data in context, using knowledge of statistical inference, computational processes, data management strategies, domain knowledge, and theory.  Students will learn to carry out analyses of data through the full cycle of the investigative process in scientific and practical contexts, as well as gain an understanding of the human and ethical implications of data analysis and integrate that knowledge into their work.   The College of Engineering also has plans for a Data Science major, which is currently undergoing design and review.  A minor is also under consideration for students in both colleges. More than 3,000 students enroll in data science courses at Berkeley every year.

Lea Kissner leads Google's internal privacy strike force

EECS alumna Lea Kissner (B.S. '02) is the subject of a Gizmodo article describing her visit to a class at Berkeley this week where she discussed her job as a Principal Engineer at Google leading the security and privacy teams for infrastructure and social products.  One team of 90 employees with different backgrounds and skill sets, called NightWatch, reviews almost all of the products that Google launches for potential privacy flaws.  The article also covers some of the obstacles she has faced and her involvement chairing a discussion topic on Practical Privacy Protection at the OURSA conference in San Francisco today. “I want to tell people things we’ve learned. I want to build the world I want to live in, and the world I want to live in includes things like products being designed respectfully of users and systems being designed respectfully for users. I don’t think everybody has to learn everything the hard way,” Kissner tells me later. Then, the mathematician in her kicks in and she adds, “It’s very inefficient if nothing else.”