News

Laura Waller, Sarah Chasins and Nilah Ioannidis named Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigators

CS Associate Prof. Laura Waller, and Assistant Profs. Sarah Chasins and Nilah Ioannidis, are among the newest cohort of scientists to be named Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigators.  The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator Program, open to faculty from Stanford, UCSF, and UC Berkeley, funds "innovative, visionary research with the goal of building and sustaining an engaged, interactive, and collaborative community of researchers that spans across disciplines and across the three campuses to help solve critical challenges in biomedicine."  Waller leads the Computational Imaging Lab, which develops new methods for optical imaging designed jointly with optics and computational algorithms; Chasins' research focuses on programming languages and program synthesis, with an emphasis on work that brings together programming systems, HCI, and data science; and Ioannidis works on computational methods for personal genome interpretation, including machine learning tools to predict the clinical significance of rare genetic variants of unknown significance and statistical methods to link genetic variation with personal complex disease risks.  Recipients  receive $1M in unrestricted gift funds over a nonrenewable 5-year term ($200,000 per year).

Dave Patterson wins 2022 NAI Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson has won the 2022 Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).  Recognized as one of the world's preeminent awards for engineering achievement, the prize "honors an engineer whose accomplishment has significantly impacted society by improving the quality of life, providing the ability to live freely and comfortably, and/or permitting the access to information."  Patterson, and his co-recipients, John Hennessy, Stephen Furber, and Sophie Wilson, were cited "for contributions to the invention, development, and implementation of reduced instruction set computer (RISC) chips."  Patterson began the seminal Berkeley RISC project in 1980 to design a basic, neutral, freely-available set of microprocessor instructions that could be used in different types of machines and which could be optimized for different characteristics, like efficiency, physical size, and monetary cost.  When different devices are capable of running the same machine code, a better quality, higher-performance machine can replace a less expensive, lower-performance machine without having to replace software.  The open-source Berkeley RISC design was later commercialized by Sun Microsystems as the SPARC architecture, and inspired the ARM architecture used in virtually all new computer chips in the world today.  The biennial Draper prize is open to both NAE members and non-members worldwide, and comes with a $500K cash award.

Anantha Chandrakasan wins 2022 IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal

EECS alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. '90/Ph.D. '94, advisor: C. V. Ramamoorthy), has been awarded the 2022 IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal.  The award recognizes "outstanding technical contributions in science and engineering, of great impact to IEEE fields of interest."   Chandrakasan, who is currently an EECS professor at MIT and the dean of the MIT School of Engineering, was cited for his “contributions to ultralow-power circuits and systems, and leadership in academia and advancing diversity in the profession.”  He spearheaded a number of initiatives that opened opportunities for students, postdocs, and faculty to conduct research, explore entrepreneurial projects, and engage with EECS. These programs include “SuperUROP,” a year-long independent research program that provides tools for students to do publication-quality research; the Rising Stars program, an annual event that convenes graduate and postdoc women for the purpose of sharing advice about the early stages of an academic career; and StartMIT, an independent activities period class that provides students and postdocs the opportunity to learn from and interact with industrial innovation leaders. Chandrakasan is also known for his leadership of the MIT Energy-Efficient Circuits and Systems Group, whose research projects have addressed security hardware, energy harvesting, and wireless charging for the internet of things; energy-efficient circuits and systems for multimedia processing; and platforms for ultra-low-power biomedical electronics.  He also serves as co-chair of the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab, the MIT-Takeda Program, and the MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology, and chairs the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium. 

Woody Hoburg receives assignment for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission

EECS alumnus Warren “Woody” Hoburg (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '13, advisor: Pieter Abbeel), one of the first graduates of NASA's Artemis astronaut basic training program in 2020, has been assigned to launch on the agency’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission – the sixth crew rotation flight aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.  Hoburg will pilot the spacecraft when it is expected to launch from a Falcon 9 rocket at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 2023.  This will be his first mission into space.  At the time of his selection as an astronaut, Hoburg was a commercial pilot and an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.  His research focused on efficient methods for design of engineering systems.

Alistair Sinclair and Shafi Goldwasser win inaugural STOC Test of Time awards

CS Profs. Alistair Sinclair and Shafi Goldwasser have won inaugural Test of Time awards at the 2021 Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (SIGACT).  Sinclair won the 20 Year award for his paper, “A polynomial-time approximation algorithm for the permanent of a matrix with non-negative entries," which solved a problem that had been open for decades. Goldwasser won the 30 Year award for "Completeness theorems for non-cryptographic fault-tolerant distributed computation," which showed how to compute a distributed function even if up to one-third of the participants may be failing, misbehaving, or malicious.  The awards were presented at the 2021 STOC conference in June.

Shafi Goldwasser wins 2021 FOCS Test of Time Award

CS alumna and Prof. Shafi Goldwasser (Ph.D. '84, advisor: Manuel Blum) has won the 2021 Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS) Test of Time Award.  This award "recognizes papers published in past Annual IEEE Symposia on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS) for their substantial, lasting, broad, and currently relevant impact. Papers may be awarded for their impact on Theory of Computing, or on Computer Science in general, or on other disciplines of knowledge, or on practice."  Goldwasser is among five co-authors who won the award in the 30 year category for their groundbreaking complexity theory paper "Approximating Clique is Almost NP-Complete," which used the classification of approximation problems to show that some problems in NP remain hard even when only an approximate solution is needed. 

Stuart Russell to lead new Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public

EECS Prof. Stuart Russell is slated to direct the future Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public, which aims to make ethics and social equity more central to scientific decision-making, and which will try to ensure that the public has a greater say in future scientific advances.  The new center will combine forces with a sister center at the University of Cambridge, UK, to connect scientists, ethicists, and the public, in necessary and intentional discussions about the potential impacts of scientific discoveries.  “In addition to answering fundamental questions about the ethics of science, the Kavli Center is going to create a generation of scientific leaders who have seen how other scientific disciplines grapple with ethical problems and who have real training in the philosophical analysis of these questions,” said Russell. “It’s not just about changing public policy, it’s about changing what it means to be a good scientist in every discipline that can have an impact on the public.”

Madhu Sudan wins 2022 IEEE Founders Medal

2003 Distinguished CS Alumnus Madhu Sudan (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Umesh Vazirani) has won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Founders Medal.  This award recognizes "outstanding contributions in the leadership, planning, and administration of affairs of great value to the electrical and electronics engineering profession."   Sudan was cited “for fundamental contributions to probabilistically checkable proofs and list decoding of Reed-Solomon codes.”  He won the Berkeley EECS Sakrison Memorial Award for his graduate thesis, worked as a researcher at both the IBM Watson Research Center and Microsoft Research, was a professor of EECS and the Associate Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, and is now a professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).  Sudan is known for his contributions to theoretical computer science, particularly for advancing the theory of probabilistically checkable proofs, which is a way to recast a mathematical proof in computer language for additional checks on its validity, and for developing error-correcting codes.

Deborah Estrin wins 2022 IEEE John von Neumann Medal

2008 Distinguished CS Alumna Deborah Estrin (B.S. EECS '80) has won the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) John von Neumann Medal.  The award recognizes “outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology.”  Estrin, whose research interests include technologies for caregiving, immersive health, small data, participatory sensing and public interest technology, was cited for “her leadership in mobile and wireless sensing systems technologies and applications, including personal health management.”  Now a professor at Cornell, Estrin was the founding director of the National Science Foundation Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) at UCLA, where she pioneered the development of mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real-time data about the physical world. She also co-founded the nonprofit startup Open mHealth, which creates open data sharing standards and tools that allow developers of health applications to store, process, and visualize data.

Loza Tadesse named to Forbes 30 Under 30

A postdoc working in Prof. Laura Waller's Computational Imaging Lab, Loza Tadesse, has been included in the Forbes 2022 list of 30 Under 30 in Healthcare.  Tadesse was cited for "developing diagnostics for extreme environments. To that end, she has developed a rapid system using machine learning and a light scattering approach that can identify infectious bacteria much faster which will lead both to better treatments and less reliance on the use of broad spectrum antibiotics."   She co-founded Frontiers in Science for Africa (SCIFRO) which "works with institutions in Africa to enable African high school and college students to innovate affordable technologies that solve local problems in areas of health and energy." Tadesse received her PhD in BioE from Stanford last year and has accepted a faculty position in MIT's engineering department.