News

Berkeley EECS continues to compete in US News & World Report rankings

Once again Berkeley Electrical Engineering ranked #1, and Computer Engineering ranked #2, in the 2022 US News and World Report graduate school rankings. EE tied with MIT and Stanford as the top graduate Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering program in the nation, while Computer Engineering tied in second place with Stanford after MIT. The tuition for both Master’s programs at MIT and Stanford cost over $55.5K annually, while Berkeley's costs $11.4K in-state and $26.5 out-of-state per year. Berkeley was ranked as the third best Engineering school overall.

95 Female-identifying first year students hold an ice cream social with CS advisors in the Cory Hall courtyard

CS Kickstart thrives amid return to in-person outreach

Now in its 11th consecutive year, CS Kickstart held its one-week computer science immersion program earlier this month, ushering in over 95 attendees to the program, a record turnout. The program is designed to introduce female-identifying first-year students to computer science at Berkeley and aims to add more diversity to the field. Completely student-run, they host workshops in Python, web development, electrical engineering, and data science; panel discussions featuring current Ph.D. students and faculty speakers like CS Prof. John DeNero;  field trips, like a community-building experience with the Oakland Athletics, and tours, panels, and Q&A sessions with industry partners, such as SAP Academy and Stitch Fix. “It was amazing to see CS Kickstart held in person again this year and with more students than in previous years!” said EECS Director of Student Diversity, Audrey Sillers.

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Pieter Abbeel interviewed as Featured ACM Member

CS Prof. Pieter Abbeel has been interviewed as a Featured ACM Member. As part of the “People of ACM” bulletin, Abbeel details the groundbreaking work that led to his 2021 ACM Prize in Computing, and the direction of the field of AI and robotics in the warehousing industry and beyond. Given the different specializations required to pursue AI, he gives the following advice to the next generation of AI researchers: “In terms of foundations, basic mathematics such as calculus, probability, linear algebra are very important, and also optimization,” said Abbeel. “Taking physics classes can be very helpful, as it teaches you the skill of abstracting real world problem settings into equations." Prof. Abbeel is the director of the Berkeley Robot Learning Lab and co-director of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) lab, in addition to Co-Founder, President, and Chief Scientist of Covariant, a Berkeley-based AI robotics company.

EECS alumnus Gary May, Chancellor of U.C. Davis

Gary May and Sheila Humphreys interviewed for Inside Higher Ed

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, is the focus of an Inside Higher Ed story highlighting the unique bond between three Black Berkeley Engineering alumni in the 1980s, all of whom have gone on to lead top research institutions. Reggie DesRoches has become the president of Rice University, and Darryll Pines is the president of the University of Maryland, College Park. The three met at Berkeley where they studied different fields of engineering. The article describes the unique landscape of diversity in the era before Proposition 209, and interviewed EECS staff emerita, Sheila Humphreys for the story, who was then the EECS director of diversity, as well as Dean Liu who said this past academic year (2021-22) “is the first year that we ended up with a higher percentage [of undergraduate underrepresented minorities] then even before Prop 209.” In fostering the minority engineering programs (MEP) of the 1980s, Sheila attributes the "unwavering administrative support" of the late Dean Pister, and a "comprehensive, whole-student approach."

CS Prof-Led proposal wins California Education Learning Lab award of up to $650,000

A CS Prof.-led proposal has been selected to receive a California Education Learning Lab award of up to $650,000. The proposal, “A’s-for-All (A4A): Scaling Mastery Learning Through Technology, Advocacy, Policy, and Partnerships” was led by CS Profs. Armando Fox and Dan Garcia in partnership with California State University, Long Beach, and El Camino College. The grant is designed to scale successful Learning Lab projects, expanding the positive impacts of STEM in public higher education. A4A proposes to build upon an open-source technology platform from UIUC to reorient formative and summative assessment toward mastery learning, ultimately providing students every opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency in various areas of introductory computer science courses. The scaling proposal will develop concept mapping tools so that faculty and students can track progress in student learning, and implement automated approaches to provide more flexibility for the ways in which students are able to demonstrate proficiency/mastery of the course.

EECS faculty applaud graduates’ resilience

EECS Assistant Prof. Nika Haghtalab and CS Assistant Prof. and Associate Prof. in the School of Information, David Bamman, are quoted in a Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) article about the resiliency and determination of the 2022 graduating class, particularly during the pandemic. “This generation of students has persevered, despite these global challenges, to forge a real community with their peers,” said Bamman. They also anticipated the ways the graduates will use their new skills to shape our collective future. “We need graduates who understand the technical methods of data science, their limitations and sources of bias, and the broader context in which information is used to drive policy, inform decision-making, and shape opinion,” Bamman said.  Haghtalab noted that “this is a great time to enter the workforce and contribute to the shaping of data science and computing for the advancement and betterment of the world.”

Berkeley EECS ranks 1 & 2 in 2023 US News graduate rankings

Berkeley EECS is once again ranked as the #1 Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering graduate program in the country for 2023, tied with MIT and  Stanford.  The Berkeley Computer Engineering graduate program ranked #2 (tied with Stanford), as did the Computer Science graduate program (tied with Carnegie Mellon and Stanford).  Berkeley Engineering, as a whole, again ranked #3.

Robots, AI and podcasting: a Q&A with Pieter Abbeel

EECS Prof. Pieter Abbeel launched “The Robot Brains Podcast” in the spring of 2021.   In each episode, he is joined by leading experts in AI Robotics from around the world to explore how far humanity has come in its mission to create conscious computers, mindful machines and rational robots.  Abbeel sits down for a Q&A with Berkeley Engineering, in which he discusses his experience with podcasting and how it has shaped his own thinking about communicating AI to a broader audience.

3 UC Presidents and Gary S. May

UC Davis Chancellor and EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos) took the stage with UC President Michael V. Drake and Presidents Emeriti Janet S. Napolitano and Mark G. Yudof  for the UCD Chancellor's Colloquium on March 8th.  The four discussed the challenges they faced and lessons learned during their tenures in office.  Topics included the impact of the pandemic on campus communities, the importance of public health, and the efficacy of remote learning; the university's federal lawsuit over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; approaches to managing UC funding cuts, including maintaining access to retirement plans and student aid;  and America's cultural and democratic future, including ways that universities might help shape it.

Marti Hearst is named iSchool's new head of school

CS Prof. and alumna Marti Hearst (B.A. '85/M.S. '89/Ph.D. '94, advisor: Robert Wilensky) has been named the new head of school for UC Berkeley's School of Information (iSchool).   Hearst, who was the iSchool's first assistant professor in 1997, is taking over the position from CS Prof. Hany Farid.  She will manage the day-to-day operations of the unit, which is an affiliate of the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS),  and communicate its vision on and off campus.  Hearst is known for her work automating sentiment analysis and word sense disambiguation. She invented an algorithm known as “Hearst Patterns," which is used in commercial text mining operations, and developed a now commonly-used automatic text segmentation approach called TextTiling.   She will serve as head of school through June 30, 2023.