News

Woody Hoburg receives assignment for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission

EECS alumnus Warren “Woody” Hoburg (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '13, advisor: Pieter Abbeel), one of the first graduates of NASA's Artemis astronaut basic training program in 2020, has been assigned to launch on the agency’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission – the sixth crew rotation flight aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.  Hoburg will pilot the spacecraft when it is expected to launch from a Falcon 9 rocket at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 2023.  This will be his first mission into space.  At the time of his selection as an astronaut, Hoburg was a commercial pilot and an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.  His research focused on efficient methods for design of engineering systems.

Alistair Sinclair and Shafi Goldwasser win inaugural STOC Test of Time awards

CS Profs. Alistair Sinclair and Shafi Goldwasser have won inaugural Test of Time awards at the 2021 Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (SIGACT).  Sinclair won the 20 Year award for his paper, “A polynomial-time approximation algorithm for the permanent of a matrix with non-negative entries," which solved a problem that had been open for decades. Goldwasser won the 30 Year award for "Completeness theorems for non-cryptographic fault-tolerant distributed computation," which showed how to compute a distributed function even if up to one-third of the participants may be failing, misbehaving, or malicious.  The awards were presented at the 2021 STOC conference in June.

Shafi Goldwasser wins 2021 FOCS Test of Time Award

CS alumna and Prof. Shafi Goldwasser (Ph.D. '84, advisor: Manuel Blum) has won the 2021 Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS) Test of Time Award.  This award "recognizes papers published in past Annual IEEE Symposia on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS) for their substantial, lasting, broad, and currently relevant impact. Papers may be awarded for their impact on Theory of Computing, or on Computer Science in general, or on other disciplines of knowledge, or on practice."  Goldwasser is among five co-authors who won the award in the 30 year category for their groundbreaking complexity theory paper "Approximating Clique is Almost NP-Complete," which used the classification of approximation problems to show that some problems in NP remain hard even when only an approximate solution is needed. 

Stuart Russell to lead new Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public

EECS Prof. Stuart Russell is slated to direct the future Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public, which aims to make ethics and social equity more central to scientific decision-making, and which will try to ensure that the public has a greater say in future scientific advances.  The new center will combine forces with a sister center at the University of Cambridge, UK, to connect scientists, ethicists, and the public, in necessary and intentional discussions about the potential impacts of scientific discoveries.  “In addition to answering fundamental questions about the ethics of science, the Kavli Center is going to create a generation of scientific leaders who have seen how other scientific disciplines grapple with ethical problems and who have real training in the philosophical analysis of these questions,” said Russell. “It’s not just about changing public policy, it’s about changing what it means to be a good scientist in every discipline that can have an impact on the public.”

Madhu Sudan wins 2022 IEEE Hamming Medal

2003 Distinguished CS Alumnus Madhu Sudan (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Umesh Vazirani) has won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Hamming Medal.  This award recognizes "exceptional contributions to information sciences, systems, and technology."   Sudan was cited “for fundamental contributions to probabilistically checkable proofs and list decoding of Reed-Solomon codes.”  He won the Berkeley EECS Sakrison Memorial Award for his graduate thesis, worked as a researcher at both the IBM Watson Research Center and Microsoft Research, was a professor of EECS and the Associate Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, and is now a professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).  Sudan is known for his contributions to theoretical computer science, particularly for advancing the theory of probabilistically checkable proofs, which is a way to recast a mathematical proof in computer language for additional checks on its validity, and for developing error-correcting codes.

Deborah Estrin wins 2022 IEEE John von Neumann Medal

2008 Distinguished CS Alumna Deborah Estrin (B.S. EECS '80) has won the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) John von Neumann Medal.  The award recognizes “outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology.”  Estrin, whose research interests include technologies for caregiving, immersive health, small data, participatory sensing and public interest technology, was cited for “her leadership in mobile and wireless sensing systems technologies and applications, including personal health management.”  Now a professor at Cornell, Estrin was the founding director of the National Science Foundation Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) at UCLA, where she pioneered the development of mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real-time data about the physical world. She also co-founded the nonprofit startup Open mHealth, which creates open data sharing standards and tools that allow developers of health applications to store, process, and visualize data.

Loza Tadesse named to Forbes 30 Under 30

A postdoc working in Prof. Laura Waller's Computational Imaging Lab, Loza Tadesse, has been included in the Forbes 2022 list of 30 Under 30 in Healthcare.  Tadesse was cited for "developing diagnostics for extreme environments. To that end, she has developed a rapid system using machine learning and a light scattering approach that can identify infectious bacteria much faster which will lead both to better treatments and less reliance on the use of broad spectrum antibiotics."   She co-founded Frontiers in Science for Africa (SCIFRO) which "works with institutions in Africa to enable African high school and college students to innovate affordable technologies that solve local problems in areas of health and energy." Tadesse received her PhD in BioE from Stanford last year and has accepted a faculty position in MIT's engineering department.

Christopher Hunn and Antoine Davis win 2020/2021 Advising and Student Services Awards

The EECS Director of Undergraduate Student Instruction, Christopher Hunn, and the EECS Director of Undergraduate Affairs, Antoine Davis, have won 2020 and 2021 Advising and Student Services Awards.   These awards are presented by the UC Berkeley Council of Advising and Student Support to "recognize the positive and innovative impact our recipients have on student learning, engagement, and belonging on the Berkeley campus."   Hunn won an Equity Champion Award for coaching TAs, undergraduates (especially CS Scholars and CS Mentors), graduates, staff (including student services personnel), and faculty "with evidence-based practices that have increased student engagement, success, self-efficacy, and belonging."   Davis won an Outstanding Advising or Student Services Administrator, Director, or Manager Award for supporting  and strengthening his staff team and the EECS and CS undergraduate populations, particularly during the pandemic, with his unique blend of humor and calm positivity.  "His relaxed approach fosters an environment where we are able to engage in self-reflection and open-mindedness toward each other and our students."  The winners will be celebrated at a virtual ceremony on December 15th.

Google Doodle honors Lotfi Zadeh, father of fuzzy logic

EECS Prof. Emeritus Lotfi Zadeh (1921 - 2017) is being honored with a Google Doodle feature today.  In 1964, Zadeh conceived a new mathematical concept called fuzzy logic which offered an alternative to rigid yes-no logic in an effort to mimic how people see the world.  He proposed using imprecise data to solve problems that might have ambiguous or multiple solutions by creating sets where elements have a degree of membership. Considered controversial at the time, fuzzy logic has been hugely influential in both academia and industry, contributing to, among other things, "medicine, economic modelling and consumer products such as anti-lock braking, dishwashers and elevators."   Zadeh's seminal paper, "Fuzzy Sets -- Information and Control," was submitted for publication 57 years ago today.

Michael Jordan calls for a more practical and advantageous approach to AI

CS Prof. Michael Jordan has co-written an article in Wired titled "The Turing Test Is Bad for Business" in which he argues that now that "computers are able to learn from data and...interact, infer, and intervene in real-world problems, side by side with humans," humans should not try to compete with them but "focus on how computers can use data and machine learning to create new kinds of markets, new services, and new ways of connecting humans to each other in economically rewarding ways."  Jordan wrote the article because many AI investors are focusing on technologies with the goal of exceeding human performance on specific tasks, such as natural language translation or game-playing. “From an economic point of view, the goal of exceeding human performance raises the specter of massive unemployment,” he said. “An alternative goal for AI is to discover and support new kinds of interactions among humans that increase job possibilities.”