Raluca Ada Popa Named an MIT Technology Review 2019 Innovator Under 35

Today, the MIT Technology Review announced Raluca Ada Popa has been named to MIT Technology Review’s prestigious annual list of Innovators Under 35 as a Visionary. Every year, the world-renowned media company has recognized a list of exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world.

Prof. Popa is a co-founder of the RISELab where she is developing a learning and analytics framework that can run on encrypted data.

Gideon Lichfield, editor-in-chief of MIT Technology Review, said: “MIT Technology Review’s annual Innovators Under 35 list is a chance for us to honor the outstanding people behind the breakthrough technologies of the year that have the potential to disrupt our lives. These profiles offer a glimpse into what the face of technology looks like today as well as in the future.”

Joseph Gonzalez: at the intersection of machine learning and data systems

EECS Assistant Prof. Joseph Gonzalez is the focus of a profile for the Association for Computing Machinery's "People of ACM" series.  Gonzalez, who works at the intersection of machine learning and data systems, desribes how and why his field has grown over time, where it might be heading, and what challenges might need to be addressed in the future.  "Today progress is largely limited by creativity and our budget for compute resources and data," he says. "Machine learning frameworks...provide the necessary abstractions to hide the complexity of differentiation, optimization, and parallel computation, freeing the modern data scientist to focus on the learning problem. These frameworks build on advances in data systems and scientific computing to unlock new parallel hardware."

Alexei Efros, Ren Ng and Kameshwar Poolla win EECS outstanding teaching awards

The winners of the 2019 EECS teaching awards have been announced:  Alexei Efros has won the Diane S. McEntyre Award for Excellence in Teaching Computer Science "for captivating lectures and engaging teaching in computer vision courses;"  Ren Ng has won the Jim and Donna Gray Faculty Award for Undergraduate Teaching "for exceptionally inspiring and engaging teaching in computer graphics courses;" and Kameshwar Poolla has won the Electrical Engineering Award for Outstanding Teaching "for outstanding lectures and inspiring mentorship of undergraduates and graduate students."  We are fortunate to have such dedicated and talented faculty to define the character of the EECS department and guide the future of their fields.

Rikky Muller and Ren Ng named 2019 Hellman Faculty Fellows

Assistant Profs. Rikky Muller (EE) and Ren Ng (CS) have been selected to receive awards from the Hellman Faculty Fellows Fund.  The fund supports "substantially the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research."   Muller won for "Networks of Neural Dust" and Ng won for "Oz Vision:  New Principles for Color Display, and An Experimental Platform for Neuroscience."

Alvin Cheung wins 2019 ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award

Assistant Prof. Alvin Cheung has won an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT) Distinguished Paper Award at the 2019 International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE).  The paper, titled "View-Centric Performance Optimization for Database-Backed Web Applications," was co-authored by his student at the University of Washington, Cong Yan, and colleagues at the University of Chicago: Junwen Yang, Chengcheng Wan, and Shan Lu.

The Essential Interview: Ken Goldberg

Prof. Ken Goldberg is the subject of an interview in Robotics Business Review (RBR) Insider with the tag line "Working at the intersection of art, robotics, and social media, Dr. Ken Goldberg shares his thoughts on making robots less clumsy when grabbing objects."  Goldberg has a joint appointment in IEOR and is the Director of the CITRIS People and Robots Initiative as well as the AUTOLAB.  He says "my proudest moment was when I was hired at UC Berkeley in 1995. Since I was a kid in the 1960’s I’ve always idolized Berkeley including the Free Speech Movement – and social justice movements during a time when its students questioned authority. Berkeley is a public university and has this amazing reputation in terms of innovation and rigor, not only in the sciences and engineering, but also in the arts, humanities and social sciences."

Tianshi Wang and Jaijeet Roychowdhury win UCNC 2019 Best Paper Award

A paper co-authored by freshly minted alumnus Tianshi Wang (Ph.D. '19, winner of the 2019 EECS David Sakrison Memorial Prize for "truly outstanding research") and Prof. Jaijeet Roychowdhury has won Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Unconventional Computation and Natural Computation (UCNC) 2019.  The paper, titled "OIM: Oscillator-based Ising Machines for Solving Combinatorial Optimisation Problems" will be presented at the conference in Japan next week.

Hany Farid's take on the altered Nancy Pelosi video

CS Prof. Hany Farid was interviewed for an article in the Washington Post titled "Faked Pelosi videos, slowed to make her appear drunk, spread across social media."  A video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slowed to about 75 percent of its original speed and altered to modify the pitch of her voice in an effort  to convince the public that she was intoxicated.  “It is striking that such a simple manipulation can be so effective and believable to some,” Farid said. “While I think that deepfake technology poses a real threat, this type of low-tech fake shows that there is a larger threat of misinformation campaigns — too many of us are willing to believe the worst in people that we disagree with.”

Hany Farid and Alexei Efros team up with Facebook to improve accountability

EECS Profs. Hany Farid and Alexei Efros will be working with Facebook to help develop new methods to improve detection of fake content, fake news and misinformation campaigns. Facebook has launched $7.5 million partnership with three universities, including UC Berkeley, to create the technology.  Farid is a long-time crusader for holding social media companies accountable for removing and preventing harmful content, and Efros specializes in artificial intelligence, graphics and computer vision.  Some immediate steps that can be taken include having the company hire more people to monitor the site, charging a nominal fee to use the service, redefining Facebook and other tech giants as publishers--rather than as platforms, and creating unambiguous rules.

Jeff Bokor rises to position of EECS Chair

Prof. Jeffrey Bokor, the current Chair of the EE Division, will assume the post of EECS Department Chair on July 1, 2019.  Bokor earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1975, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford in 1976 and 1980, respectively.  His research interests include physical electronics and nanotechnology.  He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1993 and served as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering from 2012-2017.  He currently holds a joint appointment as a Senior Scientist in the Materials Science Division at LBNL.  He will replace outgoing EECS Chair James Demmel.