Women in Data Science will take the challenge to make a difference

The 2nd Annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) 2019 Datathon will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019 in Soda Hall.  The challenge will be to create a model that can detect oil palm plantations in high-resolution satellite imagery to help build awareness about deforestation and oil palm plantations.  The Datathon is a chance for women to meet other participants, form teams, learn the basics of participating in Kaggle competitions, and get a jump start on Datathon submissions with the help of technical mentors and domain experts.  Mentors who have some knowledge about deforestation, data science, image analysis, or have experience with technical project management, Kaggle competitions, or hackathons in general are welcome.  Tickets required.

Students take another step toward an autonomous future

A team of Berkeley undergraduates that includes CS major Gan Tu,  EECS majors Philipp Wu (EE/ME), Malhar Patel, and Bradley Qu, and EECS minor Travis Brashears (Engineering Physics major), are building autonomous backpack-sized mobile robots for a project called Autonomous Motion at Cal (AMAC).  Their aim is to create autonomous vehicles that will be able to navigate the densely populated UC Berkeley campus.

Lydia Liu wins inaugural Ada Lovelace Fellowship

CS grad student Lydia Liu (advisers: Michael Jordan and Moritz Hardt) has won the inaugural Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship.  The new three-year fellowship is for PhD students at North American universities who are members of groups underrepresented in computing and pursuing research aligned to the topics carried out by Microsoft Research.  Liu's research aims to establish theoretical foundations for machine learning algorithms to achieve reliable and robust performance. The fellowship comes with a $42K stipend, tuition for three years, and an invitation to the PhD Summit, a two-day workshop where fellows will meet with Microsoft researchers and other top students to share their research.

'Ambidextrous' robots could dramatically speed e-commerce

CS Prof. Ken Goldberg and members of the AUTOLAB including postdoc Jeffrey Mahler (Ph.D. '18), grad students Matthew Matl and Michael Danielczuk, and undergraduate researcher Vishal Satish, have published a paper in Science Robotics which presents new algorithms to compute robust robot pick points, enabling robot grasping of a diverse range of products without training.  They trained reward functions for a parallel-jaw gripper and a suction cup gripper on a two-armed robot, and found that their system cleared bins with up to 25 previously unseen objects at a rate of over 300 picks per hour with 95 percent reliability.

All four 2019 EECS student nominees recognized by CRA

All four students who were nominated for Computing Research Association (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Awards in 2019 were recognized:  Dibya Ghosh (nominated by Sergey Levine), Hong Jun Jeon (nominated by Anca Dragan), and  Jonathan Lee (nominated by Ken Goldberg) were named as finalists, and Annie Xie (nominated by Sergey Levine) was named a runner up.  The CRA award program recognizes undergraduate students in North American colleges and universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research.

EECS grad students, faculty, and alumni to participate in 2018 Rising Stars

CS graduate students Sarah Chasins (advisor: Ras Bodik), Orianna DeMasi (BIDS), Sandy Huang (advisors: Anca Dragan/Pieter Abbeel), and postdoc Angjoo Kanazawa (advisors: Jitendra Malik/Alyosha Efros/Trevor Darrell) will be participating in the Rising Stars career-building workshop for women in EECS, which will be held from Oct. 28-30, 2018 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachussetts.    Chasin's topic is “Helena: A Web Automation Language for End Users,” DeMasi's is " Developing a Dialog System to Augment SMS Helpline Counselor Training,” Huang's is “Enabling Robot Transparency with Informative Actions,” and Kanazawa's is “Perceiving Deformable Shapes: Humans, Animals, and Birds.”  Speakers include EECS Profs. Laura Waller and Katherine Yelick, as well as postdoc Farnaz Niroui and alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. '90/Ph.D. '94).

Berkeley is #1 university open source contributor

UC Berkeley is the top ranked university in the third annual Octoverse Report list of "Open source contributions made by employees of different organizations," with 2700 contributions.  Berkeley is the fourth ranked organization overall--after Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat.  The Octoverse Report is a roundup of GitHub data across global repositories from the last 12 months.  Four other universities made the top ten:  the University of Washington  (6th place with 1800 contributions), MIT (8th place with 1700), UMich and Stanford (tied 9th with 1600 contributions each) .  

Urmila Mahadev Solves Quantum Verification Problem

CS postdoctoral researcher Urmila Mahadev (advisor: Umesh Vazirani) has come up with an interactive protocol by which users with no quantum powers of their own can employ cryptography to put a harness on a quantum computer and drive it wherever they want, with the certainty that the quantum computer is following their orders.  Her work, which addressed the question "How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?" was awarded the “best paper” and “best student paper” prizes when it was presented at the Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science this month.  CIT computer scientistThomas Vidick calls her result “one of the most outstanding ideas to have emerged at the interface of quantum computing and theoretical computer science in recent years.”

Elizaveta Tremsina places first in Tapia 2018 poster session

Undergraduate Elizaveta Tremsina, a member of the EECS Honors Program who is triple-majoring in CS, Physics and Applied Math, took first place in the Microsoft-sponsored student research poster competition at the 2018 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.  Her project, titled "Your Story Recorded in a Magnet: Micromagnetic Simulations of Spin-Orbit Torque in Multi-layer Structures," was overseen by Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin.  She was part of one of the largest delegations of EECS students, staff, and faculty ever to participate in the Tapia conference,  known as the premier venue to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in computing.   This year's conference, which was held last week in Orlando, Florida, promoted the theme "Diversity: Roots of Innovation."

Nico Deshler will present at Council on Undergraduate Research REU Symposium

Research undertaken by undergraduate student Nico Deshler will be presented at the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Symposium in Alexandria, VA, on October 28-29.   Deshler's project, "Multi-Sensor Arrays: Augmenting 3D Reconstruction Volumes for Mask-Based Computational Cameras," was done as part of the CS Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley (SUPERB) under the mentorship of Prof. Laura Waller and EECS PhD student, Kristina Monakhova.  The goal of the EECS SUPERB Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) program is to prepare and motivate diverse, competitive candidates for graduate study.