News

How to Stop Superhuman A.I. Before It Stops Us

EECS Prof. Stuart Russell has penned a New York Times Op-Ed titled "How to Stop Superhuman A.I. Before It Stops Us," in which he explains why we need to design artificial intelligence that is beneficial, not just smart.  "Instead of building machines that exist to achieve their objectives," he writes, we need to build "machines that have our objectives as their only guiding principle..."   This will make them "necessarily uncertain about what these objectives are, because they are in us — all eight billion of us, in all our glorious variety, and in generations yet unborn — not in the machines."  Russell has just published a book titled "Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control" (Viking , October 8, 2019).

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.

Paper by Vasily Volkov and James Demmel wins SC19 Test of Time Award

A paper by alumnus Vasily Volkov (Ph.D. '16), now at Nvidia, and his advisor Prof. James Demmel has won the 2019 ACM/IEEE Supercomputing Conference (SC19) Test of Time Award.   The paper, "Benchmarking GPUs to Tune Dense Linear Algebra," which won the SC08 Best Student Paper Award when it was published, describes a first-of-its-kind vision of GPU architectures as a vector machine. The authors defined techniques to achieve greater efficiency and performance, detailing an optimization pattern that is found today in many high-performance GPU codes.  The paper has been cited almost a thousand times and has had a tremendous impact on the field.  The award, which recognizes an outstanding paper that has deeply influenced the HPC discipline, is one of the most prestigious in the SC conference series and will be presented at the 2019 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis in Colorado in November.

Sergey Levine, Francis Bach, and Pieter Abbeel are top 3 most prolific NeurIPS 2019 authors

Two EECS faculty and one alumnus are the authors with the most number of papers accepted to the upcoming 2019 Thirty-third Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), one of the most popular and influential AI conferences in the world.  CS Prof. Sergey Levine took the top spot with 12 papers, alumnus Francis Bach (Ph.D. '05, advisor: Michael Jordan) was the second most prolific contributor with 10 papers, and Prof. Pieter Abbeel placed third with nine.  Only one in five of the 6,743 papers submitted to the conference this year were accepted.  Registration to be one of the 8,000 attendees at  last year's NeurIPS (formerly NIPS) conference sold out in 12 minutes.  A lottery has been implemented for this year's conference, which will take place in December.

Campus Memorial to honor six from EECS community

The Berkeley Campus Memorial, which will be held on Tuesday, September 10, from 12 noon to 1 pm, will honor 6 members of the EECS community who died this year:  alumna and ICSI member Sally Floyd (M.S. '87/Ph.D. '89, advisor: Richard Karp),  alumnus and EECS faculty-in-residence/advisor to CITRIS Jean Paul Jacob (MS '65/PhD '66, advisor: Elijah Polak),  EECS and Mathematics Prof. Emeritus Elwyn Berlekamp, EECS and Biophysics Prof. Emeritus Jerome Singer, BWRC staff Tom Boot, and CS undergraduate student Daniel Leahy.  The memorial gathering will be held at the flagpole west of California Hall.

Sally Floyd, an inventor of Random Early Detection, has died

CS alumna Sally Floyd (M.S. '87/Ph.D. '89, advisor: Richard Karp), best known as one of the inventors of Random Early Detection (RED), an active queue management scheme widely credited with saving the internet from collapse in the 1990s, has died at age 69.  Floyd graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology in 1971 and, after taking a two-year course in electronics at Meritt College, spent the next decade working as a computer systems engineer at BART.  She returned to Berkeley as a graduate student in 1984 and was known as an outstanding advisor to members of the CS Reentry Program, a department project which prepared  "older" women and minorities, who had bachelor's degrees in non-technical fields, for competitive admission to graduate STEM programs.  The creation of the RED algorithm, which was built on work started by Van Jacobson in the 1980s,  founded the field of Active Queue Management (AQM).  Floyd and Jacobson's 1993 paper describing how RED could control congestion on the internet continues to play a vital role in its stability and has been cited in more than 9,100 articles. “That’s truly huge,” said Prof. Vern Paxson, who had been mentored by Floyd as a graduate student, “up there with the most fundamental papers in computer networking.”