News

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.

Roger Fujii wins IEEE CS 2020 Richard E. Merwin Award

EECS alumnus Roger U. Fujii (M.S. '68) has won the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE CS) 2020 Richard E. Merwin Award for Distinguished Service.  The Merwin Award is the Computer Society's highest-level volunteer service award, and is presented to "individuals for outstanding volunteer service to the profession at large, including significant service to the IEEE CS."  Fujii was cited "for his sustained and innovative leadership contributions to IEEE Computer Society standards, strategic activities, and financial transformation."  He is currently  the president of Fujii Systems, Inc., a provider of services in the development of large, trusted systems, and the Vice President-Elect of IEEE CS Technical Activities.  He is also an IEEE volunteer who has served in many capacities for over 30 years.

Doug Tygar has passed away

Prof. Doug Tygar (CS B.A. '82) unexpectedly passed away on January 16th.   As a Professor of Computer Science and a Professor of Information Management and Systems, he made unique and significant contributions to the fields of usable computer security, cryptography, privacy, and digital rights management.  He co-founded the Secure Machine Learning research group in 2004, which focused on defining how machine learning algorithms can be dishonestly manipulated, and how to make them more robust, culminating in a recently published book, Adversarial Machine Learning, with a colleague and two former students.  He also helped to create and co-teach the first offering of the undergraduate Computer Security class at Berkeley (CS 161), and most recently helped to craft and launch the School of Information’s Master of Information and Cybersecurity in 2018.  He will be sorely missed.  Memorial information will be provided at a later date.

EECS kicks off Berkeley 150W with ten "first" women

In celebration of the anniversary of 150 Years of Women at Berkeley (150W) in 2020, the EECS department will profile a number of remarkable women who have studied or worked here.  This month, Berkeley EECS is highlighting ten trailblazing women who were the first to reach important milestones over the past 50 years.  Learn how professors Susan Graham, Avideh Zakhor, Shafi Goldwasser and Tsu-Jae King Liu, and alumnae Kawthar Zaki, Carol Shaw, Paula Hawthorn, Barbara Simons, Deborah Estrin, and Susan Eggers, broke through glass ceilings on campus, in their fields, in industry, and in the world.

Darrell, Dragan, Goldberg, Katz and Russell to participate in Robotics + AI 2020 TC Session

EECS Profs. Trevor Darrell, Anca Dragan, Ken Goldberg, Randy Katz and Stuart Russell are slated to participate in "TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020" on March 3rd.  The single-day event will focus on "Minds and Machines: The Future of Robotics," and will feature "on-stage, live interviews and demos with the world's leading technologists, founders and investors, as well as workshops, audience Q&A with speakers, and highly curated networking."  The event is sponsored by online publishing company TechCrunch in partnership with UC Berkeley, Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR), CITRIS, the Sutardja Center, and the Fung Institute.

Warren Hoburg graduates from NASA's Artemis astronaut training program

EECS alumnus Warren “Woody” Hoburg (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '13, advisor: Pieter Abbeel) will be among the first candidates to graduate under NASA's Artemis astronaut basic training program on Friday, Jan. 10, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Starting next week, Hoburg will be eligible for spaceflight assignments to the International Space Station, missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.  He earned a B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) from MIT before attending Berkeley, and returned to MIT as an assistant professor in AeroAstro after graduation.  Hoburg is also a commercial pilot who served on the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit and Yosemite Search and Rescue.

Celebrating 150 Years of Women at Berkeley

2020 is the 150th anniversary of the first year women students were admitted to UC Berkeley.  EECS Emerita Director of Diversity and unofficial department historian Sheila Humphreys is co-chairing the History Steering Committee for the year-long campus celebration, for which she will be collecting, creating and archiving information about the history of the contributions of women to UC Berkeley.  The EECS department will post stories throughout the year, highlighting the extraordinary women of EECS and the impact they have made on our community and the world.  If you have any information or ideas to share, please contact 150w@berkeley.edu or upload them to the 150W History Project website.

Kirk Tramble, one of three generations of Cal Bears

Alumnus Kirk Tramble (B.S. EECS 1993) is both the son and father of proud UC Berkeley alumni.  His father, Thomas, earned a B.A. in Sociology/African American Studies in 1971, and his son, Gabriel, graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies in 2018.  The family is profiled in a Cal Alumni article which compares their experiences as Black students at Cal during three different eras.  Kirk arrived on campus at a time when academic support for students of color was at an all-time high, and watched as everything changed after the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996, when the percentage of black students dropped from 8% to 2%.  “The response [to Prop 209] was to ultimately shut down many of the programs that were the highest serving programs for African Americans on campus,” he said.  He and his father now administer a scholarship offered by the African American Initiative to encourage and support Black students at Cal.