News

Anca Dragan awarded 2017 Okawa Foundation Research Grant

CS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan has been selected to receive a 2017 Okawa Foundation Research Grant.  This award recognizes promising young faculty members in the fields of information and telecommunications, and comes with a $10K prize.  The presentaton ceremony will be held on September 20th in San Francisco.

CS Assistant Teaching Prof. Josh Hug

Thank you, Josh Hug

In an article for the Daily Cal, undergraduate Taylor Choe thanks CS Assistant Teaching Prof. Josh Hug for helping her overcome her negative first impression of Berkeley and discover what makes it so special.   "My mindset going into CS 61B was definitely not a positive one. I struggled with 61A and felt discouraged, making me really come to dislike computer science." she wrote.  But Dr. Hug made her fall in love with computer science and helped her find faith in the public school system.   "You could tell that he wanted to be at lecture and wasn’t thinking about being somewhere else. His projects, homeworks and labs were entertaining and engaging, displaying the time and thought that went into each of them. He constantly emphasized the importance of being an honest person in addition to being an honest programmer. He was somehow able to make a 1,400-person class feel a little smaller. And I don’t think there is anything more you can ask of a professor, especially at a school as large as UC Berkeley."

CS faculty and alumni participate in Turing Award 50th Anniversary

The Turing Award 50th Anniversary celebration was held at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco on June 23-24, 2017.   CS Professors Stuart Russell and Michael Jordan participated on a panel discussion about advances in deep neural networks, Prof. Umesh Vazirani moderated a panel on quantum computing.  Prof. Emeritus and Turing winner Michael Stonebraker discussed the legal ramifications of collecting data from a growing number of devices with different encoding formats, and alumnus and Turing winner Butler Lampson (Ph.D. '67) participated on a panel about the end of Moore's Law.

The ACM A.M. Turing Award is considered the "Nobel prize of computing," and comes with a $1 million prize for contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the computing field.   EECS faculty have won four:  Richard Karp for theory and efficiency of algorithms (NP-completeness) in 1985, William Kahan for numerical analysis (floating-point) in 1989, Manuel Blum for computational complexity theory and cryptography in 1995, and Michael Stonebraker for modern database systems in 2014.  EECS alumni have won seven: Ken Thompson (B.S. '65/M.S. '66) for operating systems theory (UNIX) in 1983, Niklaus Wirth (Ph.D. '63) for computer languages (EULER/Pascal, etc.) in 1984, Butler Lampson (Ph.D. '67) for distributed, personal computing (workstations, networks, etc.) in 1992, Douglas Englebart (MS. '53/Ph.D. '55) for interactive computing in 1997, Leonard Adleman (Ph.D. '76) for public-key cryptography in 2002, and Shafi Goldwasser (M.S. '81/Ph.D. '84) with Silvio Micali (Ph.D. '82) for cryptography and complexity theory in 2012.

Alistair Sinclair named recipient of the 2017 ACM Distinguished Service Award.

Alistair Sinclair has been awarded the 2017 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented on the basis of value and degree of services to the computing community including activities on behalf of the ACM, other computer organizations, and/or other entities. Prof. Sinclair is recognized for his role in the spectacular success of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing in taking collaboration in the field to an entirely new level.

Sculpted Light in the Brain

In an effort to gather scientists at the interface between neurosciences, optical engineering, and computer science, an all-day conference is being held on Friday, June 9, in Stanley Hall titled Sculpted Light in the Brain.   Participants are united in their mission to develop technologies to enable real time optical communication with the living brain.  The endeavor was initiated with a $2k seed grant to the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) and grew into a $20K showcase for the collaboration between neuroscientists, electrical engineers, and computer scientists, highlighting U.C. Berkeley's position as a preeminent leader in brain research. The conference, which already has a 50 person waitlist, will host 11 fully funded speakers including EE Associate Prof. Laura Waller,  present 25 posters, and is supported by a dozen corporate sponsors .

Meet the most nimble-fingered robot yet

Many researchers are working on ways for robots to learn to grasp and manipulate things by practicing over and over, but the process is very time-consuming. The research work on robotic deep learning by Prof. Ken Goldberg is featured on the cover of MIT Review in an article titled "Meet the Most Nimble-Fingered Robot Yet".  Instead of practicing in the real world, Prof. Ken Goldberg and colleagues have developed a robot that learns by feeding on a data set of more than a thousand objects that includes their 3-D shape, visual appearance, and the physics of grasping them. This data set was used to train the robot’s deep-learning system. Advances in control algorithms and machine-learning approaches, together with new hardware, are steadily building a foundation on which a new generation of robots will operate.

David Culler named Interim Dean for the Division of Data Sciences

Prof. David Culler has been appointed the Interim Dean for the newly created Division of Data Sciences.  The purpose of the new division is to bring techniques to bear in statistics, mathematics, and computer science on new sources of data.  One of their goals is the creation of an undergraduate data science major and data science minor.   Prof. Culler's duties will include fostering a cooperative atmosphere among the relevant faculties; working with the administration to form an advisory board with representation of key external constituencies; advancing fundraising efforts in concert with broader campus fundraising objectives; and enlisting a team of Berkeley faculty members who will work with him to develop the initiative. He will begin his new role on July 1, 2017 for a two-year term.

David Patterson is leading one of Google's most crucial projects

Prof. Emeritus David Patterson is profiled in a CNBC article which describes how he postponed retirement to conduct research at Google into the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), an ambitious new chip that's designed to run at least 10 times faster than today's processors and is sophisticated enough to handle the intensive computations required for artificial intelligence.  Without it, it is estimated that Google would have to double its data centers to support even a limited amount of voice processing.  Prof. Patterson described his work on the TPU when he returned to Berkeley as a Colloquium speaker on May 3rd.