Bin Yu looks at AlphaZero

CS Prof. Bin Yu was interviewed by PBS Nova about AlphaZero, Google’s self-teaching artificial intelligence software.   The article probes whether there's more to human intelligence than can be mastered by learning how to win games--which AlphaZero can teach itself to do in a matter of hours.   The process requires a great deal of computing power and uses a lot more energy than the human brain.  Yu observes that absolute energy consumption must be considered when evaluating the software, although AlphZero is clearly very fast and flexible.   “It’s impressive that AlphaZero was able to use the same architecture for three different games,” she says.

Krste Asanović and Peter Bartlett named ACM Fellows

CS Profs. Krste Asanović and Peter Bartlett have been named 2018 Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  ACM Fellows are composed of an elite group that represents less than 1% of the Association’s global membership.  Asanović was named "For contributions to computer architecture, including the open RISC-V instruction set and Agile hardware."  Bartlett was named "For contributions to the theory of machine learning."

Stuart Russell wins AAAI Feigenbaum Prize

CS Prof. Stuart Russell has the won the 2019 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI )Feigenbaum Prize.  Named for AI pioneer Edward Feigenbaum, the prize is awarded biennially "to recognize and encourage outstanding Artificial Intelligence research advances that are made by using experimental methods of computer science."  Russell won in recognition of his "high-impact contributions to the field of artificial intelligence through innovation and achievement in probabilistic knowledge representation, reasoning, and learning, including its application to global seismic monitoring for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty."  The award will be presented in early 2019 at the Thirty-Third Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-19) in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Q&A with Raluca Ada Popa

CS Assistant Prof. Raluca Ada Popa is interviewed by TechTarget for an article titled "The future of data security threats and protection in the enterprise."  Popa is the co-founder of the RISElab as well as co-founder and CTO of PreVeil, a security startup providing enterprise end-to-end encryption for email and filing sharing.  In the Q&A, Popa discusses the future of data security and the challenges of ensuring adequate defense.

Berkeley computer theorists show path to verifying that quantum beats classical

UC Berkeley computer theorists led by CS Prof. Umesh Vazirani,  published a proof of random circuit sampling (RCS) as a verification method to prove quantum supremacy in a paper published Monday, Oct. 29, in the journal Nature Physics.  Quantum supremacy is the term that describes a quantum computer’s ability to solve a computational task that would be prohibitively difficult for any classical algorithm.  “Besides being a milestone on the way to useful quantum computers, quantum supremacy is a new kind of physics experiment to test quantum mechanics in a new regime. The basic question that must be answered for any such experiment is how confident can we be that the observed behavior is truly quantum and could not have been replicated by classical means. That is what our results address,” said Vazirani.

IP paper wins 2018 ACM SenSys Test of Time Award

A paper written by CS Prof. David Culler and alumnus Jonathan Hui (M.S. '05/Ph.D. '08) in 2008 titled "IP is Dead, Long Live IP for Wireless Sensor Networks" has won the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems (SenSys) 2018 Test of Time Award.  The paper dispelled the notion that IP cannot run on wireless embedded sensors and made a long term impact  on standards like 6LoWPAN and platforms like Thread.  The award recognizes papers that are at least 10 years old and have had long lasting impact on networked embedded sensing system science and engineering.  Culler previously won this award in both 2014 and 2015.

"Graphical Lasso and Thresholding" wins 2018 Data Mining Best Paper Award

A paper titled “Graphical Lasso and Thresholding: Equivalence and Closed-form Solutions” by IEOR PhD candidate Salar Fattahi and EE Assistant Prof. Somayeh Sojoudi has won the 2018 Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Data Mining (DM) Best Paper Award.   The paper compares the computationally-heavy Graphical Lasso (GL) technique, a popular method for learning the structure of an undirected graphical model, with a numerically-cheap heuristic method that is based on simply thresholding the sample covariance matrix.  By analyzing the properties of this conic optimization problem, the paper shows that its true complexity is indeed linear (both in time and in memory) for sparse graphical models and solves instance as large as 80,000×80,000 (more than 3.2 billion variables) in less than 30 minutes on a standard laptop computer, while other state-of-the-art methods do not converge within 4 hours.  The award recognizes excellence among DM members, particularly its student members, and was announced at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5th.

Machine Learning to Help Optimize Traffic and Reduce Pollution

CS Prof. Alexandre Bayen, the director of the Institute of Transportation Studies,  is leading a traffic-smoothing project dubbed CIRCLES (Congestion Impact Reduction via CAV-in-the-loop Lagrangian Energy Smoothing) that applies deep reinforcement learning to self-driving cars to smooth traffic, reduce fuel consumption, and improve air quality.  The potential for cities is enormous,” said Bayen. “Experiments have shown that the energy savings with just a small percentage of vehicles on the road being autonomous can be huge. And we can improve it even further with our algorithms.”

Stuart Russell named Honorary Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford

Prof. Stuart Russell has been elected as an Honorary Fellow of Wadham College at Oxford University, his alma mater.  Warden of Wadham College, Ken Macdonald QC praised Russell for his scholarship in the field of Artificial Intelligence, his work with the United Nations and with former US President, Barack Obama.  Russell has devoted his career to the study of AI, including such topics as the interaction of knowledge and machine learning, the unification of logic and probability, and metareasoning (reasoning about reasoning).   Other Wadham Fellows include the late Jeremy Knowles, chemist and former Dean of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, and Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican communion.

Berkeley’s SkyDeck Offers Chip Design Support Worth Millions to Startups

Chip Track, the microchip design innovation segment of Berkeley startup accelerator SkyDeck, is profiled in an Xconomy article titled "Berkeley’s SkyDeck Offers Chip Design Support Worth Millions to Startups."  Unlike software developers, chip inventors need cash up front to produce prototypes to show how they run.  “We’re talking about many millions of dollars,” says SkyDeck's Chong Tang. “Very few investors are willing to give you many millions of dollars just to hit run.”  SkyDeck has enlisted two companies that will give its chip startups access to an array of services that would ordinarily cost customers as much as $2 million.  Advisors to Chip Track's startups include CS Profs. Krste Asanović and David Patterson (emeritus).