Barbara Simons Receives 2019 ACM Policy Award

CS alumna Barbara Simons (PhD 1981, advisor: Richard Karp) has won the 2019 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Policy Award for long-standing, high-impact leadership.  The award recognizes "an individual or small group that had a significant positive impact on the formation or execution of public policy affecting computing or the computing community."  Over several decades, Simons has advanced technology policy by founding and leading organizations, authoring influential publications, and effecting change through lobbying and public education.  She was president of ACM from 1998-2008 and the founding Chair of ACM's US Public Policy Committee (USACM, now USTPC), which was envisioned "to provide cogent advice and analysis to legislators and policymakers about a wide range of issues including cryptography, computer security, privacy, and intellectual property."  She is internationally known as an expert on voting technology and reform, and is a key player in persuading election officials to shift to paper-based voting systems.  Simons currently chairs the Board of Directors of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that advocates for legislation and regulation of elections to improve accuracy, transparency and verifiability.

Two EECS projects awarded Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants

CS Prof. Eric Paulos and Associate Prof. Bjoern Hartmann have both won 2020 Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants to support projects involving "transformative ideas with real applications that  benefit the Berkeley campus."  Paulos's project is Lucid Learning, a suite of tools to help students in disciplines like architecture, art practice, theater, dance and performance studies, to incorporate augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into their iterative processes of collaboration, design and feedback.  There are currently online tools that can help assess work in quantitative courses but few available for more open-ended, studio-based teamwork courses.  Hartmann's project, VRTutor, aims to both allow students to interact with an instructional 3D video pre-recorded by their professor in  VR, and also allow instructors to view a live feed of students working in VR to give them guidance.  Tutorial feedback can be offered by drawing on the student's video feed on a tablet, then re-projecting the drawings into the student’s VR scene in 3D.

Two projects led by EECS faculty win funding to combat COVID-19

Projects led by CS Prof. Jennifer Listgarten and EE Prof. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli have been awarded funding from the Digital Transformation Institute to harness the power of AI to combat the spread of COVID-19 and other emerging diseases.  Listgarten's project will draw upon techniques such as reinforcement learning, robust uncertainty estimation and probabilistic modeling to develop new and trustworthy methods for therapeutic drug discovery for COVID-19.  Sangiovanni-Vincentelli's project will develop algorithms for AI that will help health care institutions better detect and contain emerging diseases.  These projects are two of six awarded to UC Berkeley, and among 26 projects world wide, which will share $5.4M to accelerate AI research for COVID-19 mitigation through advances in medicine, urban planning and public policy.

Margo Seltzer, Keith Bostic and Mike Olson

BerkeleyDB wins 2020 SIGMOD Systems Award

The creators of BerkeleyDB (BDB) have won the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) Systems Award for their "seminal work in embodying simplicity, quality, and elegance in a high-performance key-value store that has impacted many systems and applications over the last 25 years."   BDB is a software library that originated as an effort to free up the user space utilities in BSD, UC Berkeley's free version of the Unix operating system.  It used revolutionarily simple function-call APIs for data access and management, which allowed developers to create custom solutions at a fraction of the usual cost.  Keith Bostic, a member of Berkeley's Computer Science Research Group (CSRG), and his wife, graduate student Margo Seltzer (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Michael Stonebraker), co-founded Sleepycat Software, Inc. to provide commercial support for BDB.  Seltzer served as CTO, Bostic as VP Eng and Product Architect, and former Berkeley student and BDB co-developer Mike Olson (who later co-founded Cloudera) was the first full-time employee and later served as CEO.  Seltzer, Bostic, and Olson are among the 16 developers cited for the award. BDB ships in every copy of Linux and BSD; drove most LDAP servers, and powered a large portion of the Web 1.0.

Monday, June 15: Celebrate the 2020 Computer Science Graduates

We invite all graduates, their families and friends, and the university community to join us remotely on Monday, June 15th, for a Celebration of the Computer Science 2020 Graduates. The online celebration is intended to acknowledge and celebrate our graduate’s accomplishments, but its format is not intended to replace a live commencement ceremony. The self-guided program will include recorded video remarks from the CS Division Chair, the Departmental Citation recipient, and faculty, as well as personalized slides for each graduate. The site will go live on June 15th and visitors will be allowed to engage with the content as they wish. This includes deciding which video greetings and slides they view at their convenience. If you have any questions regarding the postponed ceremony or the online celebration, please contact Antoine Davis (  We look forward to having you join us when the celebratory site debuts on June 15th. Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Go Bears!

Ming Lin elected to 2020 ACM SIGGRAPH Academy

EECS alumna Ming C. Lin (B.S./M.S./Ph.D. '93, advisor: John Canny) has been elected to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) Academy.  She is one of six scholars selected for membership this year, an honor which is reserved for individuals who have made "substantial contributions to the field."  Lin was cited "for contributions in collision detection, physics simulation, natural phenomena, crowd animation, haptics, and sound rendering."  She became an ACM Fellow in 2011 and IEEE Fellow in 2012, and is currently chair of the Computer Science department at the University Maryland.  An expert in virtual reality, computer graphics and robotics, Lin's particular focus is on multimodal interaction, physically based animations and simulations, as well as algorithmic robotics and their use in physical and virtual environments.  Her research has applications in medical simulations, cancer screening, urban computing, as well as supporting city-scale planning, human-centric computing, intelligent transportation and traffic management.

Paper by Peter Mattis to be presented at ACM SIGMOD conference

A paper co-written by EECS alumnus Peter Mattis (B.S. '97) is being presented at the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) International Conference on Management of Data this month.  The paper, titled "CockroachDB: The Resilient Geo-Distributed SQL Database," describes a cloud-native, distributed SQL database called CockroachDB, that is designed to store copies of data in multiple locations in order to deliver speedy access.  The database is being developed at Cockroach Labs, a company co-founded in 2015 by a team of former Google employees that included Mattis, who is also the current CTO, and fellow-alumnus Spencer Kimball (CS B.A. '97), currently the company CEO.  Cockroach Labs employs a number of Cal alumni including Ceilia La (CS B.A. '00) and Yahor Yuzefovich (CS B.A. '18).

Gary May: "George Floyd could have been me"

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, has penned an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle titled "UC Davis chancellor: George Floyd could have been me" in which he observes that "at a traffic stop, no one knows I am a chancellor. No one knows I have a doctorate."  He explains that building an inclusive society that recognizes and respects people of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and a wide variety of political views, gender identities, and personal experiences, will increase our capacity to "make discoveries and solve problems."  "It requires collective effort," he writes.  "It requires each one of us, in our own way, working to make a difference, whether that’s through video recording, peaceful protest or working to change procedures that reflect bias."

Eden McEwen awarded SPIE 2020 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship

Eden McEwen, a fourth year undergraduate double-majoring in Computer Science and Physics, has been awarded a 2020 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by the international Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE), for her potential contributions to the field of optics and photonics.  McEwen's research interests focus on predictive control and hardware design of adaptive optics systems for ground based astronomical observing in the optical and near-infrared. She has worked with groups at Berkeley, Keck II Observatory, NASA JPL, Caltech, and the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. McEwen is a 2020 Goldwater Scholar and hopes to continue her studies in optics with a graduate degree in astrophysics.

Aditya Parameswaran Awarded Best Paper at SIGMOD/PODS 2020

CS Assistant Prof. Aditya Parameswaran has been awarded the Best Paper Award at the 2020 ACM Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD)/Symposium on Principles of Database Systems (PODS) for his joint paper: “ShapeSearch: A Flexible and Efficient System for Shape-based Exploration of Trendlines.”  The paper proposes the implementation of ShapeSearch, a tool that mitigates issues with existing visual analytics tools, such as limited flexibility, expressiveness, and scalability.  The paper was one of two that received the top award out of over 144 accepted research papers and 450 submissions to ACM SIGMOD/PODS, the premiere international conference on the theoretical aspects of database systems.