News

Diane Greene wins 2019 Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award

CS alumnus Diane Greene (M.S. '88) has won a 2019 U. C. Berkeley Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award.  This award "recognizes an alumnus/a whose remarkable professional achievements reflect the excellence of a UC Berkeley education" and is co-presented every year by the UC Berkeley Foundation and the Cal Alumni Association.  Greene recently served as the CEO of Google's cloud business and was a founder and CEO of VMware.  She will be formally presented with her award at the Berkeley Charter Gala on May 16, 2019.

Introducing the 2019 EECS Distinguished Alumni

The EECS Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize the valuable contributions of its most distinguished alumni. The 2019 EE distinguished alumni are Sharad Malik (M.S. '87/EE Ph.D '90, advisor: Robert k. Brayton), Chair of Electrical Engineering at Princeton; and Dr. Ahmad Bahai (EE Ph.D '94, advisor: Pravin Varaiya), CTO of Texas Instruments. The 2019 CS distinguished alumni are Andrew Ng (CS Ph.D. '03, adviser: Michael Jordan), Stanford Professor; and Dr. Amin Vahdat (B.S. '92/ CS Ph.D.'98, advisor: Thomas Anderson), Technical Lead for networking at Google, and Google Fellow. The award presentation will be at BEARS on February 14, 2019.

Rebecca Sorla Portnoff: Coding against sex trafficking

In an effort to catch sex traffickers, CS alumna Rebecca Sorla Portnoff (Ph.D. '17, adviser: David Wagner) creates computer codes that help identify similarities in traffickers’ online ads and find the Bitcoin accounts they use to buy the ads.  She works for THORN: Digital Defenders of Children, an organization that builds technology to fight the sexual abuse of children.  UC Berkeley News has created a video about her work.

HP Names Yoky Matsuoka to Board of Directors

2014 CS Distinguished Alumna, Yoky Matsuoka (B.S. '93), has been appointed to the Board of Directors of HP Inc.  Matsuoka was the founder of Google[x], the company's innovative research and development lab, before serving as CTO of Google Alphabet's Nest business.  She was also a senior executive at Apple and an endowed professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington.  The HP Board of Directors is said to be one of the most diverse of any technology company in the U.S.

'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.

Pulkit Agrawal, Jacob Andreas, and Cathy Wu join MIT faculty

CS alumni Pulkit Agrawal (M.S. '14/Ph.D. '18, adviser: Jitendra Malik) and Jacob Andreas (Ph.D. '18, adviser: Daniel Klein ) will join the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,  and EE alumna Cathy Wu (Ph.D. '18, adviser: Alexandre Bayen)  will join the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as assistant professors.  Agrawal, who co-founded SafelyYou, Inc., studies topics spanning robotics, deep learning, computer vision, and computational neuroscience.  Andreas, who was a member of the Berkeley Natural Language Processing Group and the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab, focuses on using language as a scaffold for more efficient learning and as a probe for understanding model behavior.  Wu, who was recently awarded the Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award, focuses on research involving machine learning, robotics, intelligent systems, and mixed-autonomy mobility.

Ken Thompson to be inducted into 2019 National Inventors Hall of Fame

CS alumnus Ken Thompson (B.S.‘65/M.S.‘66) is a member of the 2019 class of inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for creating the UNIX Operating System. Thompson and Dennis Ritchie's creation of the UNIX operating system and the C programming language were pivotal developments in the progress of computer science. Today, 50 years after its beginnings, UNIX and UNIX-like systems continue to run machinery from supercomputers to smartphones. The UNIX operating system remains the basis of much of the world's computing infrastructure, and C language -- written to simplify the development of UNIX -- is one of the most widely used languages today.

Barbara Grosz joins the Embedded EthiCS team

1997 Distinguished CS Alumna Barbara Grosz (M.S. '71/Ph.D. '77, adviser: Martin Graham), the Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at Harvard, is part of the Embedded EthiCS @ Harvard team, which aims to bring  "ethical reasoning into the computer science curriculum."  Embedded EthiCS  is a collaboration between philosophers and computer scientists at Harvard, led by faculty from both fields. Post-doctoral fellows and advanced graduate students meet weekly for a teaching lab to develop Embedded EthiCS modules.  The aim of Embedded EthiCS is to teach students to consider not merely what technologies they could create, but whether they should create them.  "The Embedded EthiCS distributed pedagogy embeds philosophers directly into computer science courses to teach students how to think through the ethical and social implications of their work."

"Mother of All Demos" 50th anniversary

On December 9, 2018, the Computer History Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous presentation by alumnus Douglas Engelbart dubbed the "Mother of All Demos."  On December 9, 1968, Engelbart (BS ‘52/MS ‘53/Ph.D. '55, adviser: Paul Morton) demonstrated real-time human interaction with a computer for the first time.  His radical presentation introduced the world to the computer mouse, word processing, and clickable hypertext links, and became the benchmark for how entrepreneurs pitch ideas to investors.  The museum is holding an all-day symposium to honor the event.

Kim Keeton and Tom Funkhouser named ACM Fellows

Computer Science alumni Kimberly Keeton (M.S. '94/Ph.D. '99, adviser: David Patterson) and Thomas Funkhouser (M.S. '89/Ph.D. '93, adviser: Carlo Séquin) have been elected 2018 Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  Keeton, who works at Hewlett Packard Laboratories, was elected "For contributions to improving the dependability, manageability, and usability of storage and novel memory."  Funkhouser, of Princeton University and Google, was elected "For research contributions in computer graphics."