UC Regents vote to establish College of Computing, Data Science, and Society

The UC Board of Regents today voted to establish UC Berkeley’s College of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), the campus’s first new college in more than 50 years. The vote is the result of a three-year process to transform the Division of Computing, Data Science and Society into a college, which, in its new organizational structure, will be able to more effectively form new programs and partnerships, support instruction and research and foster identity and community among faculty, students and alumni. The college includes the Data Science Undergraduate Studies program, the Department of Statistics, the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, the Center for Computational Biology and the Bakar Institute of Digital Materials for the Planet. CDSS shares the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences with the College of Engineering, the Social Science Data Lab (D-Lab) with the Social Sciences division, and the Computational Precision Health program with UC San Francisco (UCSF). “We are thrilled to announce a new college at Berkeley that connects our excellent research and education in computing, data science and statistics with the many data-intensive disciplines across our campus,” said Chancellor Christ. “Infusing the power of data science across multiple disciplines, from basic and applied sciences to the arts and humanities, will help us to fully realize its potential to benefit society, help address our world’s most intractable problems, and achieve our most visionary goals. At Berkeley, we have the opportunity and responsibility to educate data science students from diverse backgrounds to become the ethical leaders we need in private industry, the public service sector, and education.”

(Photo: Sheila Humphreys)

9th Annual Berkeley-Stanford meetup celebrates the 45th anniversary of WiCSE

The 9th Annual Berkeley-Stanford Women in EECS research meetup took place on Saturday, April 29th in the Wozniak Lounge, Soda Hall. The meetup offers all female-identifying, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming graduate students a chance to learn about each other’s research and to network with alums from industry and academia. The daylong event featured a panel of faculty from both Berkeley and Stanford, as well as recent alums in industry. Throughout the day graduate students presented their research highlights. Stanford EE Assistant Professor Dorsa Sadigh (EECS Ph.D. ‘17), gave a keynote speech. The meetup marked the 45th anniversary of Berkeley’s Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (WiCSE). Professor Susan Graham, the first woman appointed to the CS faculty in 1971, shared remarks on the history and value of WiCSE. “What a wonderful group of students!" said Graham. "I was impressed with the brief research talks, and with the conversations I had."

(Photo by Adam Lau/Berkeley Engineering)

Berkeley EECS faculty to join NSF-backed AI cybersecurity institute

Five Berkeley EECS faculty members have joined the newly formed AI Institute for Agent-based Cyber Threat Intelligence and Operation (ACTION), which is backed by the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF will invest $140 million into seven new National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes, of which ACTION is a key institute that will use AI to address risks in cybersecurity. The UC Berkeley team will be led by CS Professor Dawn Song, as well as Professors Stuart Russell, Pieter Abbeel, David Wagner, and Bin Yu. “UC Berkeley’s team aims to develop both new foundational technologies in learning and reasoning, as well as their novel applications in the cybersecurity domain, to significantly improve state-of-the-art technologies throughout the life cycle of cyber defense,” said Song.

William Kahan raising a glass in celebration of IEEE Standard 754
(Photo: Berkeley EECS)

IEEE Standard 754 Milestone Dedication honors William Kahan

A dedication ceremony was held to honor EECS Emeritus Professor William Kahan for his contribution to the development of IEEE Standard 754. The ceremony, which took place on Wednesday, May 3rd, included remarks from Dean Liu, Chair Tomlin, and CS Professor Jim Demmel. A new commemorative plaque was unveiled in Soda Hall, next to the IEEE plaque that celebrates Berkeley EECS’ contribution to RISC. The new plaque celebrates Kahan and others’ work in the development of IEEE Standard 754, which was originally conceived in 1978. Kahan and his colleagues revolutionized numerical computing, creating arithmetic and standard data types that improved software reliability and portability. The IEEE 754 standard is widely used for numerical computing and is still being improved today.

Left to right: Phoebe Cheng, Manager Civil/Structural Engineering, BART; EECS Chair Claire Tomlin; Nikhila Pai, Sr. Manager of On Call Professional Service Agreements, BART; (photo: EECS)

Berkeley EECS and BART celebrate Women's History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, Berkeley EECS and BART worked together to Embrace Equity in STEM. Over the course of 50 years, both organizations have strived to be engines of societal change and social mobility, and they continue to do so today: BART, by providing fast, reliable transportation to the public; Berkeley EECS through its mission to educate leaders, create knowledge, and serve society. The World Economic Forum has estimated that only 20% of engineering graduates are women, and women of color represent only 2% of all engineering professionals. Women are particularly underrepresented in leadership roles, comprising 24% in technology and 16% in infrastructure. To bridge the gap, Berkeley EECS is committed to promoting access to education and careers in STEM for women and girls. BART is a vital part of the transportation infrastructure in the Bay Area, and it plays a key role in ensuring that everyone has access to education and impactful careers in STEM. EECS Chair Claire Tomlin served as a special guest and ambassador for women in engineering, and participated in a panel discussion with BART engineers and Berkeley Engineering alumnae to promote early access to education for young women aspiring to make a greater impact on society. “It’s important that there are women role-models and people you can relate to,” said Professor Tomlin. “The number of women in engineering is still too low and I think we should be striving for a percentage of women that’s representative of the population.”


EECS Faculty to explore implications of ChatGPT in new AI lecture series

EECS Faculty will headline a new AI lecture series to explore the “paradigm shift” that ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) have catalyzed. CS Professors Jitendra Malik, Stuart Russell and Michael Jordan are among the seven speakers scheduled this spring to address the sensation that is ChatGPT and other related LLMs. CS Professor Ken Goldberg, who organized the lecture series on behalf of Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR), said, “Something changed very dramatically with the performance of ChatGPT, compared with previous large language models, and everyone, including experts, is asking, ‘What does it mean? Where do we go from here?’” The series will also feature John Schulman (Ph.D. ‘16; advisor: Pieter Abbeel), a co-founder of OpenAI and the primary architect of ChatGPT. “Everyone wants to hear from the experts,” Goldberg said. “There are so many misconceptions out there. In the series, we’ll hear from those who have been working in the field for many years who can provide valuable perspectives on the importance of ChatGPT.”


Jessy Lin and Abhishek Shetty win 2023 Apple Scholars in AI/ML PhD fellowships

Two EECS graduate students, Jessy Lin (advisors: Anca Dragan and Dan Klein) and Abhishek Shetty (advisor: Nika Haghtalab) have been named 2023 recipients of the Apple Scholars in AI/ML PhD fellowship. This fellowship recognizes graduate and postgraduate students in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Apple Scholars are selected based on “innovative research, record as thought leaders and collaborators, and commitment to advancing their respective fields.” Jessy Lin’s research is focused on using language as a medium to build agents that can collaborate and interact with humans. Abhishek Shetty’s research is broadly interested in theoretical computer science and machine learning, understanding how learning theory, complexity theory, and probability interact with each other. Apple Scholars receive funding to support their research, and mentorship with an Apple researcher in their field.


Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli wins BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award

EE Prof. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli has won the 15th BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Information and Communication Technologies. He was cited “for ‘radically transforming' the design of the chips that power today’s electronic devices, giving rise to ‘the modern semiconductor industry.’” Prof. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli transformed chip design in three fundamental ways: first, he created simulation tools that sped up electronic circuit design and fabrication; second, he invented a program to automate circuit design with hardware programming languages, eliminating the need for what was once a complicated and arduous process; and finally, he developed algorithms to geometrically optimize circuit placement for performance and energy efficiency. From this body of work, he founded two companies, Cadence and Synopsys, both of which are instrumental to the semiconductor industry today, and continue to provide technology to companies like Apple, GM, Intel, Tesla and Boeing. He received 28 nominations for this award, both individual and institutional, from all over the world. The Frontiers of Knowledge Award was established in 2008 with the goal of promoting “the value of knowledge as a public good without frontiers, the best instrument to take on the great global challenges of our time and expand the worldviews of individuals for the benefit of all humanity.” Each recipient is awarded €400,000.


Yicheng Zhu wins NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship

EECS Ph.D. student Yicheng Zhu (advisor: Robert Pilawa-Podgurski) has won an NVIDIA Graduate Fellowship. Zhu, whose research interests include enabling technologies for high-performance electric power conversion, is one of five recipients of the fellowship, which awards up to $50,000 to each recipient in support of research in areas such as accelerated computing, with fellows tackling projects in deep learning, robotics, computer vision, computer graphics, circuits, autonomous vehicles, and programming systems. Awardees are selected from a highly competitive, global applicant pool and will participate in a summer internship with NVIDIA. Spanning 22 years, NVIDIA has awarded $6 million to nearly 200 students to support graduate research. “Our fellowship recipients are among the most talented graduate students in the world,” said NVIDIA Chief Scientist Bill Dally. “They’re working on some of the most important problems in computer science, and we’re delighted to support their research.” Zhu’s research will explore extreme-performance hybrid switched-capacitor voltage regulation modules for ultra-high-power GPUs, which enables highly efficient and ultra-compact vertical power delivery with fast transient response.

Prof. Bayen points to traffic congestion that has been smoothed by CIRCLES vehicles on an I-24 MOTION testbed monitor.

Alexandre Bayen leads massive AI traffic experiment

An interdisciplinary team of industry and academic researchers led by EECS Prof. Alexandre Bayen has completed its most ambitious real-time traffic experiment to date. The project was led by the CIRCLES Consortium, an effort led by UC Berkeley and Vanderbilt University, involving collaborators from five universities and multiple government agencies. The experiment tested 100 partially automated vehicles in real traffic with the aim of improving overall traffic flow. Operating out of a massive control center designed to monitor one section of I-14 in Nashville, TN, the researchers used AI to build on existing adaptive cruise control systems to smooth phantom jams collaboratively. Their results show a positive energy impact. “Driving is very intuitive. If there’s a gap in front of you, you accelerate. If someone brakes, you slow down. But it turns out that this very normal reaction can lead to stop-and-go traffic and energy inefficiency,” said Prof. Bayen. “That’s precisely what AI technology is able to fix—it can direct the vehicle to things that are not intuitive to humans, but are overall more efficient.”