News

Ruzena Bajcsy celebrated with bobblehead at 2018 Grace Hopper Conference

The life and career of EECS Prof. Ruzena Bajcsy were celebrated with a commemorative bobblehead doll in her image at the 2018 Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in Houston, Texas, last week.  Bajcsy was recognized alongside Engineering and CS legends Grace Hopper, Annie Easley, and Mae Jemison by GHC sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance.  Bajcsy is renowned for her innovations in robotics and computer vision, specifically the development of improved robotic perception and the creation of better methods to analyze medical images.  In addition to founding the General Robotics and Active Sensory Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at UPenn, she headed the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate from 1999–2001, with authority over a $500 million budget.

Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye builds VR sharing platform

CS alumnus Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye (M.S. '12, advisor: Björn Hartmann) is profiled in an ejinsight article titled "Former Silicon Valley executives build VR version of YouTube."  In 2016, Ye gave up his lucrative job with Sierra Ventures in Silicon Valley to establish VeeR VR, a Virtual Reality content sharing platform in China.  The platform allows the growing number of content-creating VR enthusiasts to share their work with viewers via the web and mobile devices. In less than two years, the company has grown to 70 employees, while the number of its registered users around the globe has reached more than 20 million.  Customers include corporate users such as travel companies, news agencies, restaurants, and hotels.

Blockchain’s Energy Web Foundation names Hervé Touati as first CEO

CS alumnus Hervé Touati (Ph.D. '90, advisor: Robert Brayton) has been named the first CEO of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a global nonprofit focused on "unleashing blockchain’s potential to accelerate the transition to a decentralized, democratized, decarbonized, and resilient energy system."  EWF, the world's largest energy blockchain consortium (with a  network of more than 70 affiliates), is building the shared, digital infrastructure—an open-source, scalable blockchain platform—specifically designed for the energy sector’s regulatory, operational, and market needs.  Touati, who comes to the EWF from Shell, is an energy industry veteran with more than two decades of executive-level experience.

Joe Hellerstein on the must-haves of a modern data prep platform

CS Prof. Joseph Hellerstein is the subject of a feature in InsideBigData titled "The Must-Haves of a Modern Data Prep Platform."  Hellerstein is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Trifacta, a company that develops data wrangling software for data exploration and self-service data preparation for analysis.  he discusses how the challenge of data preparation sits squarely between the growth of BI and visualization tools and the specific data needed to fuel them.  Efficient data preparation is key to alleviating new demand from business users. The article offers three key requirements that a data preparation platform should have.  Hellerstein's career in research and industry has focused on data-centric systems and the way they drive computing. Fortune Magazine included him in their list of 50 smartest people in technology , and MIT’s Technology Review magazine included his work on th eir TR10 list of the 10 technologies “most likely to change our world.”

Jitendra Malik takes position at Facebook

Facebook has announced that it has hired EECS Prof. Jitendra Malik in an effort to expand its artificial intelligence research.  Malik, one of the most influential researchers in computer vision, will be based at the Menlo Park lab, where Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) is headquartered.  He will retain part-time affiliation with U.C. Berkeley to advise students; the Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) Lab is one of several receiving funding from FAIR.  “He has been influential in shaping Berkeley’s AI group into the exceptional lab that it is today, and we look forward to his help in continuing the growth of FAIR,” Facebook chief AI scientist Yann LeCun wrote in a news release.  LeCun added that Facebook plans to support a number of doctoral students who will conduct research in collaboration with researchers at FAIR and their university faculty, or on topics of interest to FAIR under the direction of their faculty.

Siemens to acquire startup Comfy

German conglomerate Siemens announced it will acquire Comfy, an Oakland-based startup co-founded in 2012 by two CS alumni, Andrew Krioukov (M.S. '13) and Stephen Dawson-Haggerty (Ph.D. '14).  Both students were advised by David Culler.  Comfy (formerly named Building Robotics) is an end-to-end solution utilizing sensors and smart technology to control all aspects of the workplace environment, allowing office workers to not just control temperature and lighting but determine whether a room is currently empty.  This comprehensive approach has helped Comfy land numerous tech giant clients, including Microsoft, Intel, Salesforce and Infosys.  "Our unique strength is that we have, from the beginning, focused on the end user experience," explained Krioukov. "The building of the future that we envision is one that from the moment you walk into work, it knows who you are and what you're doing that day."  The purchase is part of Siemens' expansion into smart building strategies.

Ekta Singh-Bushell appointed to board of Datatec

Alumna Ekta Singh-Bushell (M.S. '95), the former Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has been appointed to the board of directors for Datatec, South Africa’s biggest Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed tech firm.  Singh-Bushell will also be a member of Datatec’s audit, risk & compliance committee and on its social & ethics committee.   She previously worked at a senior level for EY (formerly Ersnt & Young) for 17 years, including as US innovation & digital strategy leader, Northeast Advisory people leader and chief information security officer.

SiFive receives $50.6M in series C funding

SiFive, a fabless provider of customized semiconductors built on research by alumnus Yunsup Lee (MS '11/Ph.D. '16), alumnus Andrew Waterman (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '16), and Prof. Krste Asanović, received $50.6M in series C funding in April.  Lee is Chief Technology Officer,  Waterman is Chief Engineer, and Asanović is Chief Architect at SiFive. The funding round was co-led by Osage University Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, Spark Capital, and Intel Capital.  SiFive's semiconductors are built on Risc-V, an instruction set architecture (ISA), which acts as the conduit between a computer's software and hardware.  The series C round is being used to commercialize additional products based on Risc-V.  The company has raised $64.1M in funding to date.

How Mary Ann Horton invented the email attachment, then revolutionized trans rights

CS alumna Mary Ann Horton (Ph.D. '81) is the subject of a Daily Beast article titled "How Mary Ann Horton Invented the Email Attachment, Then Revolutionized Trans Rights."  As a student, Horton contributed to Berkeley UNIX (BSD), including the vi editor and terminfo database, and created the first email attachment tool, uuencode.  She then became a pioneering transgender activist who, in the 1990s and 2000s, played a key role in encouraging American companies to add the categories of gender identity and gender expression to their non-discrimination policies—and to provide transgender health benefits.  It began when she encouraged her employer, Lucent, to become the first large company in the United States to include gender identity or expression in its non-discrimination policy.  “Getting Lucent to do it was all about me, but once Lucent did it, I thought, this could be for everybody,” Horton remembers. “My vision was to push the snowball, and build up that snowball, and get it bigger and bigger until it would roll down the hill by itself—until I didn’t have to push it any more.”

Introducing the 2018 EE and CS distinguished alumni

The 2018 EECS Distinguished Alumni are Prof. Marie desJardins , Prof. Andrea Goldsmith, Richard Ruby, and our own EECS Prof. Emeritus Eric Brewer.  CS alumna desJardins (Ph.D. '92), currently a Professor of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering & Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, is being honored “For distinguished research and teaching, innovations in pre-college computer science curricula, and effective mentoring of students and junior faculty.”  EE alumna Goldsmith (B.A. '86/M.S. '91/Ph.D. '94), who is currently the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford, is being honored “For excellence in research and teaching, and for tireless commitment to the advancement of women in the profession.”   EE alumnus Ruby (Ph.D. '84), Director of Technology (FBAR & Orthogonal Markets) at Broadcom, is being honored “For inventions and groundbreaking technology advancements in FBARs making possible the remarkable success of smart phones and miniature communication links.”  And CS alumnus Brewer (B.S. '89), who contributed to the foundations of cloud computing and formulated the CAP Theorem, is being honored “For research and industrial leadership in scalable distributed systems, used by millions of people daily.”  The 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented at the Berkeley EECS Annual Research Symposium (BEARS) on February 8, 2018.