News

Dan Garcia in his home studio

Dan Garcia's creative video lessons keep students engaged

CS Teaching Prof. Dan Garcia is featured in NBC Bay Area for his innovative teaching style which keep his students engaged in online learning.  He has "transformed his mancave into a studio," where he films and edits his creative virtual lessons, and then uploads them for students to watch.  Known for rapping his own lyrics to songs from the musical Hamilton in giant lecture halls, Garcia has adapted to using a green screen to film and edit his one hour video lessons, incorporating a variety of voices.  His extra efforts have been lauded by students stuck in their rooms during the fall semester.

Dawn Tilbury and Feng Zhou to present keynotes at BCS 2020

EECS alumni Dawn Tilbury (EE PhD '94, advisor: Shankar Sastry) and Feng Zhou (CS PhD '07, advisor: Eric Brewer) have been selected to present keynote addresses at the Berkeley China Summit (BCS) 2020 conference, which will be held virtually on September 18-19th.  BCS is  a full-day conference that aims to connect China’s businesses and investors with the technology, engineering, and business innovation expertise on the UC Berkeley campus and across the Bay Area.  This year's theme is "Redefine & Reconnect: Technology Empowering the World," which will a focus on the impact business, technology and culture have on "innovation in the Enterprise Service, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare and Senior Care sectors."  Tilbury is currently the head of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate of Engineering.  Zhou founded Youdao, Inc. (NYSE: DAO.US), a Chinese company that provides "learning services and products" for online courses, NetEase Cloud Classroom, and Chinese University MOOC, in addition to online marketing services.

Brian Harvey wins NTLS Education Technology Leadership Award

CS Teaching Prof. Emeritus Brian Harvey has been awarded the National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) Education Technology Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who made a significant impact on the field of educational technology over the course of a lifetime.  The award is NTLS's highest honor.  Harvey wrote the "Computer Science Logo Style" textbook trilogy in the 1980s, which uses the Logo programming language (a subdialect of Lisp which had been created for elementary school children) to teach computer science concepts to more advanced students.   He designed UCBLogo in 1992, a free, open-source programming language that is now the de facto standard for Logo, and won the Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995.  He then collaborated with award co-recipient Jens Möenig to develop the block programming language Snap!, which makes advanced computational concepts accessible to nonprogrammers.  It is used in the highly successful class "Beauty and Joy of Computing," which was developed at Berkeley to introduce more diverse audiences to CS. The class is approved for AP credit and, with support from the NSF, has been provided to more than one thousand high school CS teachers nationwide.  Harvey says “Languages in the Logo family, including Scratch and Snap!, take the position that we’re not in the business of training professional computer programmers. Our mission is to bring programming to the masses.”

Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing receives new $35.5M grant

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, under the direction of CS Prof. Shafi Goldwasser, has been awarded a $35.5 million grant by the Simons Foundation to fund a second decade of groundbreaking research and innovation. The grant, which will begin in 2022, will support the institute's mission and activities for another ten years, and bring the Foundation's support of the institute upf to $100 million.  Launched in 2012, the Simons Institute quickly established itself as the global center for collaborative research in theoretical computer science and its impact on science, mathematics, engineering, and society.  "We owe so much to the original leadership team," said Goldwasser, "Richard Karp, Alistair Sinclair, Christos Papadimitriou, and Luca Trevisan — as well as the current associate director, Peter Bartlett, and senior scientist Prasad Raghavendra, and the numerous brilliant scientists who have led and participated in programs over the years. The Institute was originally created to strengthen the computing theory community, and the community continually pays  this back in the form of excellent work."

EECS 150W: Sheila Humphreys and WiCSE

In celebration of 150 Years of Women at Berkeley, the EECS Director Emerita of Diversity (and Berkeley 150W History Project co-chair) Sheila Humphreys tells the story of  Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (WiCSE), the first student group at an American university created to support and increase the number of women in those fields.   WiCSE was born when the political foment of 1970s Berkeley met the burgeoning field of computer science in Evans Hall.  Humphreys charts WiCSE's path from the formation of the first women's clubs at Berkeley one hundred years before, to its 40th reunion in 2018.  WICSE has established itself as a permanent force in EECS: a powerful voice for women students, a model of peer engagement and support, and a pipeline for women into the fields of EE and CS.  Humphreys' life-long mission to diversify the global population of computer scientists and engineers is the subject of July's Notable Women of EECS profile.

Tijana Zrnic wins Apple PhD fellowship in AI/ML

Graduate student Tijana Zrnic (advisors:  Moritz Hardt and Michael Jordan) has won an Apple PhD fellowship in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML).  Scholars from invited institutions are selected for this program based on their "innovative research, record as thought leaders and collaborators in their fields, and unique commitment to take risks and push the envelope in machine learning and AI."  Zrnic, who is affiliated with BAIR, the Statistical AI Learning group, and RISELab, was selected for "Fundamentals of Machine Learning."  Winners receive financial support for their research and academic travel for two years, internship opportunities, and a two-year mentorship with an Apple researcher in their field.   Apple says these scholars are "advancing the field of machine learning and AI to push the boundaries of what’s possible, and Apple is committed to supporting the academic research community and their invaluable contributions to the world."

Two EECS projects awarded Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants

CS Prof. Eric Paulos and Associate Prof. Bjoern Hartmann have both won 2020 Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants to support projects involving "transformative ideas with real applications that benefit the Berkeley campus."  Paulos's project is Lucid Learning, a suite of tools to help students in disciplines like architecture, art practice, theater, dance and performance studies, to incorporate augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into their iterative processes of collaboration, design and feedback.  There are currently online tools that can help assess work in quantitative courses but few available for more open-ended, studio-based teamwork courses.  Hartmann's project, VRTutor, aims to both allow students to interact with an instructional 3D video pre-recorded by their professor in VR, and also allow instructors to view a live feed of students working in VR to give them guidance.  Tutorial feedback can be offered by drawing on the student's video feed on a tablet, then re-projecting the drawings into the student’s VR scene in 3D.

Monday, June 15: Celebrate the 2020 Computer Science Graduates

We invite all graduates, their families and friends, and the university community to join us remotely on Monday, June 15th, for a Celebration of the Computer Science 2020 Graduates. The online celebration is intended to acknowledge and celebrate our graduate’s accomplishments, but its format is not intended to replace a live commencement ceremony. The self-guided program will include recorded video remarks from the CS Division Chair, the Departmental Citation recipient, and faculty, as well as personalized slides for each graduate. The site will go live on June 15th and visitors will be allowed to engage with the content as they wish. This includes deciding which video greetings and slides they view at their convenience. If you have any questions regarding the postponed ceremony or the online celebration, please contact Antoine Davis (antoined@eecs.berkeley.edu).  We look forward to having you join us when the celebratory site debuts on June 15th. Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Go Bears!

Gary May: "George Floyd could have been me"

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, has penned an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle titled "UC Davis chancellor: George Floyd could have been me" in which he observes that "at a traffic stop, no one knows I am a chancellor. No one knows I have a doctorate."  He explains that building an inclusive society that recognizes and respects people of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and a wide variety of political views, gender identities, and personal experiences, will increase our capacity to "make discoveries and solve problems."  "It requires collective effort," he writes.  "It requires each one of us, in our own way, working to make a difference, whether that’s through video recording, peaceful protest or working to change procedures that reflect bias."

Eden McEwen awarded SPIE 2020 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship

Eden McEwen, a fourth year undergraduate double-majoring in Computer Science and Physics, has been awarded a 2020 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by the international Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE), for her potential contributions to the field of optics and photonics.  McEwen's research interests focus on predictive control and hardware design of adaptive optics systems for ground based astronomical observing in the optical and near-infrared. She has worked with groups at Berkeley, Keck II Observatory, NASA JPL, Caltech, and the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. McEwen is a 2020 Goldwater Scholar and hopes to continue her studies in optics with a graduate degree in astrophysics.