Accel Scholars offers industry-oriented opportunities for undergrads

The Accel Scholars program, a joint venture between Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel and the EECS Department, was created to empower undergraduate engineering and computer science students by providing access to Silicon Valley leadership, personalized mentorship, and an industry-relevant curriculum that covers topics not generally taught in class— like how to grow a career, how to build a professional network, and how to raise money to start a company.  Accel Scholars is open to all Berkeley undergraduates who have demonstrated leadership, excellence in their pursuits, and/or a deep passion for a particular area of their discipline.  Apply by visiting the Accel Scholars page on the EECS website until April 5, 2020.

Largest gift in Berkeley's history to fund new Data Science building

An anonymous donor has pledged $252 million to help fund the construction of a building for the newly christened Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS): it is the single largest gift in Berkeley’s history.  The new "Data Hub" will be located at the intersection of Hearst Avenue, Arch Street, and MacFarlane Lane, at the site previously occupied by Tolman Hall.    An additional $300 million of private support will need to be raised to complete the capital project.  The building will house faculty offices and labs, robotics and other artificial intelligence laboratories, research centers and workroom spaces, public gathering areas, and teaching space, including a large auditorium and classrooms to accommodate the 6,000+ undergraduates who take data science courses each year.

Women In Tech at Berkeley

The 4th Annual Women In Tech Symposium, part of the Women In Tech Initiative (WITI) will be held at UC Berkeley on Friday, March 6, 2020.  The theme will be "Reimagining Cybersecurity for All."  Many members of the EECS community will be involved, including: alumna and Prof. Dawn Song (PhD '02) - opening remarks; WITI@UC co-founder and dean of Engineering Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu - fireside chat; Prof. Raluca Ada Popa - Panel: What’s at Stake? Global and Systemic Cyber Threats;  and CITRIS Director Prof. Costas Spanos - Athena Awards presentation. Tickets will be available until Monday, March 2nd.

Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing

Computer Science and Global Studies double major, Jake Tibbetts, has published an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled "Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing."  Tibbetts, who is a research assistant at the LBNL Center for Global Security Research and a member of the Berkeley Nuclear Policy Working Group, argues that instead of worrying about winning the quantum supremacy race against China, U.S. policy makers and scholars should shift their focus to a more urgent national security problem: How to maintain the long-term security of secret information secured by existing cryptographic protections, which will fail against an attack by a future quantum computer.  Some possible avenues include deploying honeypots to misdirect and waste the resources of entities attempting to steal classified information; reducing the deployment time for new encryption schemes; and triaging cryptographic updates to systems that communicate and store sensitive and classified information.

Aditya Parameswaran and Sanjam Garg win 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships in Computer Science

Assistant Profs. Aditya Parameswaran and Sanjam Garg hav been selected 2020 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows in Computer Science.  These awards recognize distinguished performance by young American scientists who show "unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field."   Parameswaran develops systems for "human-in-the-loop" data analytics, and Garg's research interests are in cryptography and security.  As two of the nine UC Berkeley researchers to win the highly competitive fellowship this year, they will each receive a $75,000 award.

Alvin Cheung wins VMware Early Career Faculty Award

CS Assistant Prof. Alvin Cheung has won a VMware Early Career Faculty Award.  The award recognizes recently appointed faculty "whose research interests and accomplishments seem poised to have significant impact within the industry and academia."  Cheung's research interests include program analysis, program synthesis, improving database application performance, and building large-scale data systems in general. The award comes with a $50K grant and opportunities to collaborate with VMware.

Meet the new Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society

The Berkeley data science division, which was launched in July 2019, has just announced its new name: the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society.  The name reflects the division's broad, cross-disciplinary approach to education, and encompasses the School of Information, BIDS, the Data Science Education Program, and the Data Science Commons, as well as involvement with the departments of Statistics and EECS.  The announcement follows the arrival of the new Associate Provost for the Division, Jennifer Chayes, who took the reins in January.

EECS Remembers Jason Rossilli

The Department is sorry to share the news that EECS major Jason Rossilli passed away at his home late last week.  Jason was close with many of his peers, staff and faculty in the department.  We are deeply saddened by his loss.   News of the passing of a member of our community will no doubt impact all of us. Talking to a professional counselor can be very helpful.  Students may reach a Tang Center Counselor at 510-642-9494, or may visit them at 2222 Bancroft Way for drop-in counseling between 10am-4:30pm. ESS also has three dedicated psychologists available with drop-in counseling hours in 241 Bechtel on Tuesdays 2-4pm, and Wednesdays and Thursdays 10am-12pm.  Faculty and staff may reach a counselor through the campus Employee Assistance Program: (510) 643-7754.

Covariant-enabled robots go live

Pieter Abbeel, the co-founder, president and chief scientist of the start-up Covariant, is featured in a number of articles appearing in major publications this week.  The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, the Verge, the MIT Technology Review, and the IEEE Spectrum all feature articles about robots trained using Covariant's AI technologies that will be deployed  to perform complex tasks in live warehouse environments in the next few years.  Covariant uses deep reinforcement learning techniques to train robots to distinguish between materials that are particularly difficult to discern through a lens, like highly reflective metallic surfaces, transparent plastics, and easily deformable surfaces like cloth and polypropylene, with an unparalleled 99% accuracy.

Xinyun Chen wins 2020 Facebook Fellowship

Third year CS graduate student Xinyun Chen (advisor: Dawn Song) has been awarded a 2020 Facebook Fellowship.  Chen was recognized in the Machine Learning category for her work in neural program synthesis and adversarial machine learning.  Her goal is to increase the accessibility of programming to general users, and enhance the security and trustworthiness of machine learning models.   Chen has interned at both Facebook AI Research and Google Brain.