News

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Raluca Ada Popa featured in People of ACM

CS Prof. Raluca Ada Popa was interviewed as a Featured ACM Member as part of the "People of ACM" bulletin. As the Co-Director of RISELab and SkyLab, two labs aiming to build secure intelligent systems for the cloud and for the sky of cloud, she spoke about her research interests, which include security, systems, and applied cryptography. “I love both to build systems that can solve a real-world problem and to reason about deep mathematical concepts,” she said. Aiming to predict the direction of her research, she outlined her renewed focus on confidential computing, a major shift in the cloud computing landscape, which she said “will revolutionize data systems in industry in the coming years…[through] the combination of hardware security via hardware enclaves and cryptographic techniques. Many organizations have a lot of confidential data that they cannot share between different teams in their organization or different organizations. Sharing it would enable better medical studies, better fraud detection, increased business effectiveness, and other benefits.”

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Ruzena Bajcsy receives Slovak Medal of Honor

EECS Prof. Emerita Ruzena Bajcsy has been awarded the Slovak Medal of Honor. Bajcsy was recognized for her scientific achievements, leading by example, and setting a positive image of the Slovak Republic abroad. The medal was presented at the Consulate in New York by Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová. 

95 Female-identifying first year students hold an ice cream social with CS advisors in the Cory Hall courtyard

CS Kickstart thrives amid return to in-person outreach

Now in its 11th consecutive year, CS Kickstart held its one-week computer science immersion program earlier this month, ushering in over 95 attendees to the program, a record turnout. The program is designed to introduce female-identifying first-year students to computer science at Berkeley and aims to add more diversity to the field. Completely student-run, they host workshops in Python, web development, electrical engineering, and data science; panel discussions featuring current Ph.D. students and faculty speakers like CS Prof. John DeNero;  field trips, like a community-building experience with the Oakland Athletics, and tours, panels, and Q&A sessions with industry partners, such as SAP Academy and Stitch Fix. “It was amazing to see CS Kickstart held in person again this year and with more students than in previous years!” said EECS Director of Student Diversity, Audrey Sillers.

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Laura Waller balances work, life, research, and family in a feature by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

EECS Prof. Laura Waller is the subject of a feature by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative titled, “A Day in the Life of an Imaging Scientist: Laura Waller.” In it, Prof. Waller describes her day-to-day while she juggles raising a family, cultivating creativity and collaboration in her labs, and mentoring her graduate students through the pandemic. Waller is known for her work in computational imaging. In 2021, she was elected a Fellow of The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) for her work in computational microscopy. In the same year, she won the Adolph Lomb Medal presented by Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America). “I really love this field, because it’s very creative. There are new ideas and new things to think about all the time, but it’s also grounded in real applications.”

EECS alumnus Gary May, Chancellor of U.C. Davis

Gary May and Sheila Humphreys interviewed for Inside Higher Ed

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, is the focus of an Inside Higher Ed story highlighting the unique bond between three Black Berkeley Engineering alumni in the 1980s, all of whom have gone on to lead top research institutions. Reggie DesRoches has become the president of Rice University, and Darryll Pines is the president of the University of Maryland, College Park. The three met at Berkeley where they studied different fields of engineering. The article describes the unique landscape of diversity in the era before Proposition 209, and interviewed EECS staff emerita, Sheila Humphreys for the story, who was then the EECS director of diversity, as well as Dean Liu who said this past academic year (2021-22) “is the first year that we ended up with a higher percentage [of undergraduate underrepresented minorities] then even before Prop 209.” In fostering the minority engineering programs (MEP) of the 1980s, Sheila attributes the "unwavering administrative support" of the late Dean Pister, and a "comprehensive, whole-student approach."

Putri Karunia's Typedream allows users to build no-code websites

EECS alumna Putri Karunia (B.S. '19) who co-founded 2022 Forbes 30-Under-30 Enterprise Tech company "Typedream," is the subject of a profile titled "Putri Karunia proves that women not only belong in tech startups, but will actually make them more successful and profitable." Karunia, who was raised in Indonesia, graduated cum laude from Cal in 2019 and joined a team that included fellow EECS student Anthony Christian (B.S. '19) to found start-up Cotter, a passwordless authentication service that allows users to add a one-tap login to websites and apps in less than 15 minutes.  While developing Cotter, they came up with the idea for Typedream, a fast, user-friendly website-building tool that enables Notion (platform) customers to publish attractive websites in just 10 minutes, without prior coding experience. The design offers an intuitive text-editing interface with enriched web3 functionality, like gradients, blur navigation bars, cards, and text or buttons over images. "With a community-driven approach, our users help us prioritize the features we build and define our roadmap for the foreseeable future," said Karunia. "Listening and observing our community also led us to see glimpses of what the web could be like in the next 5-10 years."

Rediet Abebe named 2022 Carnegie Fellow

CS Assistant Prof. Rediet Abebe has been named to the 2022 class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows.  This fellowship recognizes "scholars and writers in the humanities and social sciences" who are addressing "important and enduring issues confronting our society."  Abebe’s research is in algorithms and artificial intelligence, with a focus on inequality and distributive justice concerns.  Her project, “Algorithms on Trial: Interrogating Evidentiary Statistical Software,” will shed light on the ubiquitous and improper use of software tools as evidence in the U.S. criminal legal system. "The project will use a mix of algorithmic and qualitative techniques to analyze large legal databases, with a focus on admissibility hearings. The results will coalesce in the form of a public platform containing thousands of tools, alongside known issues and resources like ready-to-file affidavits to empower public defenders."  Abebe is a co-founder and co-organizer of both the MD4SG research initiative and the nonprofit organization Black in AI, where she also sits on the board of directors and co-leads the Academic Program.  Carnegie Fellows, who each receive a $200K award, are selected by a panel of jurors based on the originality and potential impact of their proposal as well as their capacity to communicate their findings to a broad audience.

Audrey Sillers wins 2022 BSA Excellence in Management Award

Audrey Sillers, the EECS Director of Student Diversity, has won a Berkeley Staff Assembly (BSA) 2022 Excellence in Management (EIM) Award.  This award "honors exemplary non-academic managers and supervisors who have led their teams and team members to meaningful accomplishments this past year."  The 2022 theme, building and maintaining community, highlights leaders "who demonstrate and encourage flexibility, adaptiveness, supportiveness, compassion, understanding, work-life balance, and well-being." Sillers, who was nominated by her team, will be honored at a live-streamed ceremony on May 3rd. "Audrey exemplifies so many of the UC Berkeley Principles of Community, not in a self-conscious way, but just in the way that she operates in the world as a person," said one of her coworkers.  "Audrey’s passion for diversity and her openness to her staff developing their own capacities to do better work as advisors to a very diverse student population has been inspirational. Having such a supervisor makes a tremendous difference."

Black Women Matter: Arlene Cole Rhodes, Valerie Taylor and Melody Ivory

Three EECS alumnae are featured in a 150W Black Women Matter web page recognizing the legacies of Black women at Cal as part of the 2022 Black History Month celebrations.  The web page, which was put together by EECS Emerita Director of Diversity Sheila Humphreys, highlights 31 Cal pioneers whose lives spanned the past 120 years.  The EECS Department is represented by: Arlene Cole Rhodes (Ph.D. '89, advisor: S. Shankar Sastry), the first Black woman to earn an EE doctorate from Berkeley; 2020 EE Distinguished Alumna Valerie Taylor (M.S. '86 / Ph.D. '91, advisor: David G. Messerschmitt ), the first Black chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University; and Melody Ivory (M.S. '96/Ph.D. '01, advisor: Marti Hearst), the first Black woman to earn a CS doctorate in from Berkeley.

EECS Black History Month: Lee Julian Purnell (EE M.S. 1929)

Lee Julian Purnell is the first Black student who is known to have graduated from the EECS department. He was born in Washington, D.C. in 1896, graduated from Berkeley High in 1915, was a superb track athlete, and earned a B.A. from Cal in 1919.  He got his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at MIT in 1921, where he and another student were said to be the first pair of Black students to graduate from MIT in the same class together.  He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Berkeley in 1929, and eventually settled into a career at Howard University, where he served as the Dean of Engineering for 20 years.  Learn more about Lee Purnell in the EECS Newsletter.