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.

John Canny named new CS Division Chair

Prof. John Canny will become the new Chair of the Computer Science Division on July 1, 2019.   Canny joined the Berkeley faculty in 1987.  He received a B.S. in CS and Theoretical Physics (1979) and a B.E. in EE (1980), both from Adelaide University in Australia, and an M.S. (1983) and a Ph.D. (1987) from MIT.   He has made significant contributions to various areas of CS and mathematics including AI, robotics, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, computer security, computational algebra, and computational geometry.   He will replace outgoing Chair James Demmel.

Introducing the New CS Faculty: Alvin Cheung, Hany Farid, Nilah Ioannidis, Jelani Nelson, and Aditya Parameswaran

Five new Computer Science faculty will be joining the EECS department in June:   Assistant Prof. Alvin Cheung, whose research interests include database management and programming systems; Prof. Hany Farid, who will have a joint appointment with the I-School; Assistant Prof. Nila Ioannidis, who will have a joint appointment with the Center for Computational Biology; Prof. Jelani Nelson in computing theory; and Assistant Prof. Aditya Parameswaran, who will also have a joint appointment with the I-School.

Scott Shenker National Academy of Sciences
Professor Scott Shenker

Scott Shenker elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Prof. Scott Shenker has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).  Membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original scientific research. Prof Shenker is a fellow of the ACM and IEEE, as well as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In 2017, he was named a Berkeley Visionary by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, and also received the ACM Paris Kanellakis Award “for pioneering contributions to fair queueing in packet-switching networks, which had a major impact on modern practice in computer communication.”

Andrew Carnegie Fellowship

Stuart Russell wins Andrew Carnegie Fellowship

Prof. Stuart Russell has been elected as an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Also called the “Brainy Award,” the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship awards recipients with a grant of up to $200,000 in order to “devote significant time to research, writing, and publishing in the humanities and social sciences — work that will benefit all of us.”  The award’s objective “is to offer fresh perspectives on the humanities and solutions to the urgent issues of today.”

ACM SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award

Paper by Koushik Sen wins ACM SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award

The paper titled "CUTE: a concolic unit testing engine for C", authored by Prof. Koushik Sen (EECS), Darko Marinov (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Gul Agha (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) has been chosen to receive an ACM SIGSOFT (Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Software Engineering) Impact Paper Award. The award is given annually and “recognizes the breadth and vitality of the software engineering community."