News

Berkeley EECS well represented at Tapia 2019

An outstanding group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, represented Berkeley EECS at the 2019 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, which took place in San Diego in September.  Attendees included:  Profs. Dan Garcia and Armando Fox;  staff Audrey Sillers, Antoine Davis, and Sheila Humphreys; alumni Valerie Taylor (Ph.D. '91, advisor David Messerschmitt), Jeff Forbes (Ph.D. '02, advisor: Stuart Russell), Hakim Weatherspoon (Ph.D. '06, advisor: John Kubiatowicz), Colleen Lewis (EECS B.S. '05/CS M.S. '09), Jorge Ortiz (Ph.D. '13, advisor: David Culler), and Beth Trushkowsky (Ph.D. '14, advisor: Armando Fox); and a cadre of current graduate and undergraduate students.  Former EECS Prof. Jennifer Mankoff, who is now at the University of Washington, was a keynote speaker.

A Latinx Heritage Month profile of Dan Garcia

CS alumnus and Teaching Prof. Dan  Garcia (M.S. ' 95, Ph.D. '00, advisor: Brian Barsky) is the subject of a profile celebrating Latinx Heritage Month in the EECS department.  As a Nuyorican whose father was from Puerto Rico, Garcia "always coveted" his Hispanic heritage and actively explored as much of the Latinx culture as he could.  Known to "bring the flavor" to his students before finals, Garcia is particularly passionate about broadening the participation of underrepresented students in computing.

Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month with Armando Fox

CS Prof. and alumnus Armando Fox (Ph.D. '98, advisor: Eric Brewer) is the subject of a profile celebrating Latinx Heritage Month in the EECS community.  Fox is the child of Cuban refugees who taught him to "pave the road" for those who follow.  He was born in New York City and raised in a bilingual and bicultural household where he was cared for by grandparents who did not speak English.  Fox  is known for his engagement with both campus student groups and national professional organizations to promote and support Latinxs in computing.

Anca Dragan to deliver keynote speech at Ada Lovelace Day celebration

EECS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Ada Lovelace Day Celebration of Women in Robotics on Tuesday, October 8, in Sutardja Dai Hall.   The celebration is sponsored by the Women in Tech Initiative (WITI), a joint program of Berkeley Engineering, CITRIS & the Banatao Institute, and CITRIS People & Robotics (CPAR).  It plans to offer "a deep dive into robotic applications for good " and will show participants how "to enter the robotics field with networking, mentoring opportunities, and demos from impressive student groups and supportive community organizations including Women in Robotics/SVR."   Panels will feature leaders from robotics startups, like Tessa Lau (Dusty Robotics), Nicole Kernbaum (Seismic), Jasmine Lawrence (EDEN BodyWorks) and Mai Nguyen (Optoceutics).  Robohub’s selection of the Top 25 Women in Robotics will also be revealed

professor edward lee

A snapshot of Edward Ashford Lee in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month

EECS Prof. Emeritus and alumnus Edward Lee (Ph.D. '86, advisor: David Messerschmitt) is the subject of a profile created as part of the EECS Latinx Heritage Month celebration.  Lee discusses some of his Puerto Rican ancestors, including poet/playwright Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, considered one of the fathers of Puerto Rican literature, and physician Bailey K. Ashford, a pioneer in the study of tropical diseases.  Lee shares some of his personal experiences as a member of the Latinx community and even quotes one of his grandfather's Spanglish limericks.

Elizaveta Tremsina is 2019 ACM SRC Grand Finals Winner

A paper written by recent graduate Elizaveta Tremsina (B.S. '19 CS/Physics/Applied Math) has taken third place in the undergraduate category of the 2019 ACM Student Research Competition (SRC) Grand Finals.  The paper, titled "Your Story Recorded in a Magnet: Micromagnetic Simulations of Spin-Orbit Torque in Multi-layer Structures," was a continuation of the first place poster she presented at the 2018 Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.    "I am extremely thankful to the Berkeley EECS department for the amazing 4.5 years and for the unique chance to participate in cutting-edge research with Dr. Salahuddin's group and also attend the Tapia conference (my first one back in 2016 and last year)," she said. "I hope that more Berkeley undergrads participate in this competition in the future, be it at Tapia or other ACM conferences."  Tremsina was presented with her award at the ACM awards banquet last weekend.

Nadia Heninger wins Borg Early Career Award

EECS alumna Nadia Heninger (B.S. '04) has won the 2019 Borg Early Career Award (BECA).  The BECA  is given to a woman in computer science and/or engineering who has made significant research contributions and who has contributed to her profession, especially in the outreach to women.  After graduation, Heninger earned a Ph.D. from Princeton and is currently an associate professor in Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego.  She is known for her work on freezing powered-down security devices to slow their fading memories and allow their secrets to be recovered via a cold boot attack, for her discovery that weak keys for the RSA cryptosystem are in widespread use by internet routers and other embedded devices, and for her research on how failures of forward secrecy in bad implementations of the Diffie–Hellman key exchange may have allowed the NSA to decrypt large amounts of internet traffic via the Logjam vulnerability.

Moses Surumen plugs Kenya’s skills gap with peer to peer learning

Moses Surumen, who graduated with a degree in EECS this week, has been sharing his knowledge with peers in Kenya for the past two years, helping them develop the skills to solve challenges back home.  Surumen, who has 10 siblings, grew up in Kajiado, a Masai area south of Nairobi.  In 2017, he implemented a program called M-Soma, running a six-week summer course for Kenyan high school graduates in computer science.  “We were building skills the way Berkeley does, providing the best skeletal code for setting up the platform and building onto that several features they wanted to use,” he explains.  Surumen has accepted a position at Qualcomm but plans to continue to explore how to scale his project to work in different African countries.

Nolan Pokpongkiat wins third place David L. Kirp Prize

Third-year Computer Science undergraduate Nolan Pokpongkiat is the third place winner of the KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize, funded by the U.C. Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues.  The prize recognizes "students who have developed innovative strategies to increase opportunities for children and youth, as well as students who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the future of children and youth."  Pokpongkiat co-founded Helix, a non-profit organization with the goal of diversifying the healthcare field by empowering young people to pursue futures in medicine. As Managing Director, Nolan brought together a team to design a month-long summer program where high school students spend a week living at UC Berkeley training in basic clinical skills, getting CPR-certified, and learning about possible healthcare careers. Then, through partnerships with UCSF Health, John Muir Health, and Kaiser Permanente, along with a network of over 160 medical professionals, students rotate through shadowing placements in the hospital, on the ambulance, and in community clinics for the remainder of the month.

EECS department mourns the loss of Jean Paul Jacob and Elwyn Berlekamp

The EECS department lost two beloved faculty emeriti this month:  Jean Paul Jacob on April 7 and Elwyn Berlekamp on April 9.  Jacob was born in Brazil and spent a number of years working in industry before attending Berkeley (MS '65/PhD '66, advisor: Elijah Polak).  He was a world expert on Informatics and had a career at IBM that spanned over 40 years.  He returned to Berkeley as Faculty-in-Residence in 1971 where he actively promoted diversity initiatives and helped found the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) in 2001.  Jacob won the EE Distinguished Alumni award in 1992.  Berlekamp was known for his work in coding theory and was one of the founders of combinatorial game theory.  He co-invented  the Berlekamp-Welch algorithm (which finds the shortest linear feedback shift register for a given binary output sequence) and the Berlekamp-Massey algorithm (which is used to implement Reed–Solomon error correction).  He bought out the controlling interest in Axcom Trading Advisors in 1989 and vastly increased the returns after rewriting the trading algorithms: returns to all investors in 1990 exceeded 55%, net of all trading costs and performance fees. He sold his interest in Axcom in December 1990.