Corelight raises $50m for network traffic analysis in the cloud

Corelight, a start-up founded by CS Prof. Vern Paxson, has secured an additional $50 million in Series C financing for its network traffic analysis (NTA) solutions for cybersecurity.  The company has raised a total of $84 million to date, with investment from General Catalyst, Accel, Osage University Partners and Riverbed Technology Co-founder (and former Berkeley CS professor) Steve McCanne. It has more than doubled in size since its Series B in September 2018.  Corelight  is built on an open source framework called Zeek (formerly Bro), which Paxson began developing in 1995.  Zeek is now widely regarded as the gold standard for both network security management (NSM) and NTA, and has been deployed by thousands of organizations around the world.

Ren Ng weighs in on why your photos are about to get a lot better

CS Prof. Ren Ng is quoted in a New York Times article titled "The Reason Your Photos Are About to Get a Lot Better."  The article describes how computational photography is driving the future of phone cameras.  “Most photos you take these days are not a photo where you click the photo and get one shot,” said Ng. “These days it takes a burst of images and computes all of that data into a final photograph.”  He and his students are researching new techniques in computational photography, like applying portrait-mode effects to videos.  One type of effect could be to set the recorded footage to automatically focus on whomever is speaking.  “These are examples of capabilities that are completely new and emerging in research that could completely change what we think of that’s possible,” said Ng.

How to Stop Superhuman A.I. Before It Stops Us

EECS Prof. Stuart Russell has penned a New York Times Op-Ed titled "How to Stop Superhuman A.I. Before It Stops Us," in which he explains why we need to design artificial intelligence that is beneficial, not just smart.  "Instead of building machines that exist to achieve their objectives," he writes, we need to build "machines that have our objectives as their only guiding principle..."   This will make them "necessarily uncertain about what these objectives are, because they are in us — all eight billion of us, in all our glorious variety, and in generations yet unborn — not in the machines."  Russell has just published a book titled "Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control" (Viking , October 8, 2019).

Rod Brooks' EECS Colloquium lecture makes IEEE Spectrum Video Friday

A video of the lecture that MIT Prof. Emeritus Rodney Brooks gave at last week's EECS Joint Colloquium has made IEEE Spectrum's Video Friday,  a weekly selection of "awesome robot videos."  Brooks' talk,  titled "Steps Toward Super Intelligence and the Search for a New Path," examines what we might need to do over the next (few) hundred years  to give AI human level--or even super--intelligence.  He questions the assumptions on which the AI field has been built, and whether both AI and neuroscience will need a fundamental reboot in order to make real progress.  Brooks is known for giving "some of the best video talks ever."

Alvin Kao and Titan Yuan honored as Siebel Scholars

5th Year CS Master's students Alvin Kao (B.S. '19)  and Titan Yuan (B.S. '19) have been named to the Siebel Scholars Foundation’s 2020 class.  Kao is working on problems in the autonomous vehicle setting, like predicting the behavior of other agents and trajectory planning.  Yuan is working with the Swarm Lab on embedded software for some of the world’s tiniest wireless devices, so that they can be used as miniature temperature sensors and Bluetooth beacons.

Srinivasan Keshav named IIT Delhi 2019 Distinguished Alumnus

CS alumnus Srinivasan Keshav (Ph.D. '91, advisor: Domenico Ferrari) has won a 2019 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi Distinguished Alumni Award.  Keshav is a Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is known for his cutting-edge research in the areas of computer networking and energy informatics and currently focuses on research on blockchains for transactive energy.  His work has been cited more than 16,000 times and he holds 73 patents worldwide. He has been the co-director of the Information Systems and Science for Energy (ISS4E) Laboratory at the University of Waterloo since 2010.

Paper by Vasily Volkov and James Demmel wins SC19 Test of Time Award

A paper by alumnus Vasily Volkov (Ph.D. '16), now at Nvidia, and his advisor Prof. James Demmel has won the 2019 ACM/IEEE Supercomputing Conference (SC19) Test of Time Award.   The paper, "Benchmarking GPUs to Tune Dense Linear Algebra," which won the SC08 Best Student Paper Award when it was published, describes a first-of-its-kind vision of GPU architectures as a vector machine. The authors defined techniques to achieve greater efficiency and performance, detailing an optimization pattern that is found today in many high-performance GPU codes.  The paper has been cited almost a thousand times and has had a tremendous impact on the field.  The award, which recognizes an outstanding paper that has deeply influenced the HPC discipline, is one of the most prestigious in the SC conference series and will be presented at the 2019 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis in Colorado in November.

Sergey Levine, Francis Bach, and Pieter Abbeel are top 3 most prolific NeurIPS 2019 authors

Two EECS faculty and one alumnus are the authors with the most number of papers accepted to the upcoming 2019 Thirty-third Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), one of the most popular and influential AI conferences in the world.  CS Prof. Sergey Levine took the top spot with 12 papers, alumnus Francis Bach (Ph.D. '05, advisor: Michael Jordan) was the second most prolific contributor with 10 papers, and Prof. Pieter Abbeel placed third with nine.  Only one in five of the 6,743 papers submitted to the conference this year were accepted.  Registration to be one of the 8,000 attendees at  last year's NeurIPS (formerly NIPS) conference sold out in 12 minutes.  A lottery has been implemented for this year's conference, which will take place in December.

Francesca Giardine to participate in REU Symposium

Research conducted by EECS SUPERB-CISE participant Francesca Giardine will be presented at the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Symposium in Alexandria, VA in October.  Giardine's project, "Sustainable Energy and Localized Future (SELF) Dataset Development," supervised by Dan Kammen (ERG), describes the development of a database containing infrastructure information about under-resourced communities in the San Joaquin Valley that will help to determine which new resources should be provided to which areas.  The goal of the EECS Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley (SUPERB) Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) program is to prepare and motivate diverse, competitive candidates for graduate study.  The symposium is sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

Sally Floyd, an inventor of Random Early Detection, has died

CS alumna Sally Floyd (M.S. '87/Ph.D. '89, advisor: Richard Karp), best known as one of the inventors of Random Early Detection (RED), an active queue management scheme widely credited with saving the internet from collapse in the 1990s, has died at age 69.  Floyd graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology in 1971 and, after taking a two-year course in electronics at Meritt College, spent the next decade working as a computer systems engineer at BART.  She returned to Berkeley as a graduate student in 1984 and was known as an outstanding advisor to members of the CS Reentry Program, a department project which prepared  "older" women and minorities, who had bachelor's degrees in non-technical fields, for competitive admission to graduate STEM programs.  The creation of the RED algorithm, which was built on work started by Van Jacobson in the 1980s,  founded the field of Active Queue Management (AQM).  Floyd and Jacobson's 1993 paper describing how RED could control congestion on the internet continues to play a vital role in its stability and has been cited in more than 9,100 articles. “That’s truly huge,” said Prof. Vern Paxson, who had been mentored by Floyd as a graduate student, “up there with the most fundamental papers in computer networking.”