News

Hany Farid and Alexei Efros team up with Facebook to improve accountability

EECS Profs. Hany Farid and Alexei Efros will be working with Facebook to help develop new methods to improve detection of fake content, fake news and misinformation campaigns. Facebook has launched $7.5 million partnership with three universities, including UC Berkeley, to create the technology.  Farid is a long-time crusader for holding social media companies accountable for removing and preventing harmful content, and Efros specializes in artificial intelligence, graphics and computer vision.  Some immediate steps that can be taken include having the company hire more people to monitor the site, charging a nominal fee to use the service, redefining Facebook and other tech giants as publishers--rather than as platforms, and creating unambiguous rules.

Jeff Bokor rises to position of EECS Chair

Prof. Jeffrey Bokor, the current Chair of the EE Division, will assume the post of EECS Department Chair on July 1, 2019.  Bokor earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1975, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford in 1976 and 1980, respectively.  His research interests include physical electronics and nanotechnology.  He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1993 and served as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering from 2012-2017.  He currently holds a joint appointment as a Senior Scientist in the Materials Science Division at LBNL.  He will replace outgoing EECS Chair James Demmel.

John Canny named new CS Division Chair

Prof. John Canny will become the new Chair of the Computer Science Division on July 1, 2019.   Canny joined the Berkeley faculty in 1987.  He received a B.S. in CS and Theoretical Physics (1979) and a B.E. in EE (1980), both from Adelaide University in Australia, and an M.S. (1983) and a Ph.D. (1987) from MIT.   He has made significant contributions to various areas of CS and mathematics including AI, robotics, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, computer security, computational algebra, and computational geometry.   He will replace outgoing Chair James Demmel.

Introducing the New CS Faculty: Alvin Cheung, Hany Farid, Nilah Ioannidis, Jelani Nelson, and Aditya Parameswaran

Five new Computer Science faculty will be joining the EECS department in June:   Assistant Prof. Alvin Cheung, whose research interests include database management and programming systems; Prof. Hany Farid, who will have a joint appointment with the I-School; Assistant Prof. Nila Ioannidis, who will have a joint appointment with the Center for Computational Biology; Prof. Jelani Nelson in computing theory; and Assistant Prof. Aditya Parameswaran, who will also have a joint appointment with the I-School.

Scott Shenker National Academy of Sciences
Professor Scott Shenker

Scott Shenker elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Prof. Scott Shenker has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).  Membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original scientific research. Prof Shenker is a fellow of the ACM and IEEE, as well as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In 2017, he was named a Berkeley Visionary by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, and also received the ACM Paris Kanellakis Award “for pioneering contributions to fair queueing in packet-switching networks, which had a major impact on modern practice in computer communication.”

Andrew Carnegie Fellowship

Stuart Russell wins Andrew Carnegie Fellowship

Prof. Stuart Russell has been elected as an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Also called the “Brainy Award,” the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship awards recipients with a grant of up to $200,000 in order to “devote significant time to research, writing, and publishing in the humanities and social sciences — work that will benefit all of us.”  The award’s objective “is to offer fresh perspectives on the humanities and solutions to the urgent issues of today.”

ACM SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award

Paper by Koushik Sen wins ACM SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award

The paper titled "CUTE: a concolic unit testing engine for C", authored by Prof. Koushik Sen (EECS), Darko Marinov (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Gul Agha (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) has been chosen to receive an ACM SIGSOFT (Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Software Engineering) Impact Paper Award. The award is given annually and “recognizes the breadth and vitality of the software engineering community."

EECS department mourns the loss of Jean Paul Jacob and Elwyn Berlekamp

The EECS department lost two beloved faculty emeriti this month:  Jean Paul Jacob on April 7 and Elwyn Berlekamp on April 9.  Jacob was born in Brazil and spent a number of years working in industry before attending Berkeley (MS '65/PhD '66, advisor: Elijah Polak).  He was a world expert on Informatics and had a career at IBM that spanned over 40 years.  He returned to Berkeley as Faculty-in-Residence in 1971 where he actively promoted diversity initiatives and helped found the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) in 2001.  Jacob won the EE Distinguished Alumni award in 1992.  Berlekamp was known for his work in coding theory and was one of the founders of combinatorial game theory.  He co-invented  the Berlekamp-Welch algorithm (which finds the shortest linear feedback shift register for a given binary output sequence) and the Berlekamp-Massey algorithm (which is used to implement Reed–Solomon error correction).  He bought out the controlling interest in Axcom Trading Advisors in 1989 and vastly increased the returns after rewriting the trading algorithms: returns to all investors in 1990 exceeded 55%, net of all trading costs and performance fees. He sold his interest in Axcom in December 1990.

Meet Blue, the low-cost, human-friendly robot designed for AI

Meet Blue, a new low-cost, human-friendly robot conceived and built by a team of researchers led by CS Prof. Pieter Abbeel, postdoc Stephen McKinley, and grad student David Gealy. Blue was designed to use recent advances in AI and deep reinforcement learning to master intricate human tasks, all while remaining affordable and safe enough that every artificial intelligence researcher — and eventually every home — could have one.  “AI has done a lot for existing robots, but we wanted to design a robot that is right for AI,” Abbeel said. “Existing robots are too expensive, not safe around humans and similarly not safe around themselves – if they learn through trial and error, they will easily break themselves. We wanted to create a new robot that is right for the AI age rather than for the high-precision, sub-millimeter, factory automation age.”

Two papers selected as 2018 IEEE Micro Top Picks

Two papers by EECS faculty have been named 2018 IEEE Micro Top Picks by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture (SIGARCH).  The papers were "A Hardware Accelerator for Tracing Garbage Collection," co-authored by Profs. Krste Asanović and John Kubiatowicz (along with Martin Maas), and "FireSim: FPGA-Accelerated Cycle-Exact Scale-Out System Simulation in the Public Cloud," co-authored by Profs. Borivoje Nikolić, Randy Katz, Jonathan Bachrach, and Krste Asanović (along with Karandikar, Mao, Kim, Biancolin, Amid, Lee, Pemberton, Amaro, Schmidt, Chopra, Huang and Kovacs).  Top Picks represent "the most significant research papers in computer architecture based on novelty and potential for long-term impact."  The papers will be published in IEEE Micro's annual “Top Picks from the Computer Architecture Conferences” issue in May/June 2019.