News

Jitendra Malik takes position at Facebook

Facebook has announced that it has hired EECS Prof. Jitendra Malik in an effort to expand its artificial intelligence research.  Malik, one of the most influential researchers in computer vision, will be based at the Menlo Park lab, where Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) is headquartered.  He will retain part-time affiliation with U.C. Berkeley to advise students; the Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) Lab is one of several receiving funding from FAIR.  “He has been influential in shaping Berkeley’s AI group into the exceptional lab that it is today, and we look forward to his help in continuing the growth of FAIR,” Facebook chief AI scientist Yann LeCun wrote in a news release.  LeCun added that Facebook plans to support a number of doctoral students who will conduct research in collaboration with researchers at FAIR and their university faculty, or on topics of interest to FAIR under the direction of their faculty.

Siemens to acquire startup Comfy

German conglomerate Siemens announced it will acquire Comfy, an Oakland-based startup co-founded in 2012 by two CS alumni, Andrew Krioukov (M.S. '13) and Stephen Dawson-Haggerty (Ph.D. '14).  Both students were advised by David Culler.  Comfy (formerly named Building Robotics) is an end-to-end solution utilizing sensors and smart technology to control all aspects of the workplace environment, allowing office workers to not just control temperature and lighting but determine whether a room is currently empty.  This comprehensive approach has helped Comfy land numerous tech giant clients, including Microsoft, Intel, Salesforce and Infosys.  "Our unique strength is that we have, from the beginning, focused on the end user experience," explained Krioukov. "The building of the future that we envision is one that from the moment you walk into work, it knows who you are and what you're doing that day."  The purchase is part of Siemens' expansion into smart building strategies.

Ekta Singh-Bushell appointed to board of Datatec

Alumna Ekta Singh-Bushell (M.S. '95), the former Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has been appointed to the board of directors for Datatec, South Africa’s biggest Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed tech firm.  Singh-Bushell will also be a member of Datatec’s audit, risk & compliance committee and on its social & ethics committee.   She previously worked at a senior level for EY (formerly Ersnt & Young) for 17 years, including as US innovation & digital strategy leader, Northeast Advisory people leader and chief information security officer.

SiFive receives $50.6M in series C funding

SiFive, a fabless provider of customized semiconductors built on research by alumnus Yunsup Lee (MS '11/Ph.D. '16), alumnus Andrew Waterman (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '16), and Prof. Krste Asanović, received $50.6M in series C funding in April.  Lee is Chief Technology Officer,  Waterman is Chief Engineer, and Asanović is Chief Architect at SiFive. The funding round was co-led by Osage University Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, Spark Capital, and Intel Capital.  SiFive's semiconductors are built on Risc-V, an instruction set architecture (ISA), which acts as the conduit between a computer's software and hardware.  The series C round is being used to commercialize additional products based on Risc-V.  The company has raised $64.1M in funding to date.

How Mary Ann Horton invented the email attachment, then revolutionized trans rights

CS alumna Mary Ann Horton (Ph.D. '81) is the subject of a Daily Beast article titled "How Mary Ann Horton Invented the Email Attachment, Then Revolutionized Trans Rights."  As a student, Horton contributed to Berkeley UNIX (BSD), including the vi editor and terminfo database, and created the first email attachment tool, uuencode.  She then became a pioneering transgender activist who, in the 1990s and 2000s, played a key role in encouraging American companies to add the categories of gender identity and gender expression to their non-discrimination policies—and to provide transgender health benefits.  It began when she encouraged her employer, Lucent, to become the first large company in the United States to include gender identity or expression in its non-discrimination policy.  “Getting Lucent to do it was all about me, but once Lucent did it, I thought, this could be for everybody,” Horton remembers. “My vision was to push the snowball, and build up that snowball, and get it bigger and bigger until it would roll down the hill by itself—until I didn’t have to push it any more.”

Introducing the 2018 EE and CS distinguished alumni

The 2018 EECS Distinguished Alumni are Prof. Marie desJardins , Prof. Andrea Goldsmith, Richard Ruby, and our own EECS Prof. Emeritus Eric Brewer.  CS alumna desJardins (Ph.D. '92), currently a Professor of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering & Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, is being honored “For distinguished research and teaching, innovations in pre-college computer science curricula, and effective mentoring of students and junior faculty.”  EE alumna Goldsmith (B.A. '86/M.S. '91/Ph.D. '94), who is currently the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford, is being honored “For excellence in research and teaching, and for tireless commitment to the advancement of women in the profession.”   EE alumnus Ruby (Ph.D. '84), Director of Technology (FBAR & Orthogonal Markets) at Broadcom, is being honored “For inventions and groundbreaking technology advancements in FBARs making possible the remarkable success of smart phones and miniature communication links.”  And CS alumnus Brewer (B.S. '89), who contributed to the foundations of cloud computing and formulated the CAP Theorem, is being honored “For research and industrial leadership in scalable distributed systems, used by millions of people daily.”  The 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented at the Berkeley EECS Annual Research Symposium (BEARS) on February 8, 2018.

AI@The House built to support AI-related startups

Profs. Dawn Song, Ion Stoica, Kurt Keutzer, Michael Jordan, Pieter Abbeel, and Trevor Darrell have teamed up with EECS alumnus Cameron Baradar (B.S. '15) and startup institute The House to run a new "global center-of-gravity of AI activity" called AI@The House. The new program will offer technical guidance, mentorship, free graphic processing units and financial support, among other resources, to startups focused on AI.  Their first core initiative is an accelerator for startups who are leveraging AI to build industry-defining products.

Wei-Tek Tsai named to the Advisory Board of ThreeD Capital

EECS alumnus Wei-Tek Tsai (M.S.'82/Ph.D. '85) has been added to the Advisory Board of ThreeD Capital, a Canadian--based venture capital firm focused on investments in "promising, early stage companies with disruptive capabilities."  Tsai served as Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota and later joined Arizona State University as a professor of Computer Science and Engineering in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering.  In China, he initiated the first academic laboratory dedicated to blockchain research and education in China at Beihang University’s School of Computer Science and Engineering.  Sheldon Inwentash, Chairman and CEO of ThreeD Capital, stated, "Dr. Wei-Tek Tsai is a world-renowned Blockchain expert who, amongst his many great accomplishments, has developed high-speed super large ledger technology that could represent the most disruptive protocol of the already disruptive blockchain industry. His experience and knowledge will be invaluable to our Blockchain initiatives."

Diane Greene makes 2017 Bloomberg 50

CS alumna Diane Greene (M.S. '88) is ranked 12 on Bloomberg Businessweek's list of the 50 people who defined global business in 2017.   Greene is the senior vice president and cloud chief at Google.  Although the Google Cloud Platform currently has only about 5% of the cloud market, it grew more than 80% in the past year under her management--outpacing industry leader Amazon.com Inc.  Greene thinks Google Cloud could surpass Amazon Web Services by 2022 as it sells more software tools and services and becomes Google’s chief vehicle for bringing advances in artificial intelligence and quantum computing to market.

Diane Greene shares insight at Dreamforce conference

CS alumna Diane Greene (M.S. '88) sat down with Ginni Rometty and Marc Benioff at the Dreamforce conference last week to talk about women leaders in tech.  Greene, who is currently the CEO of Google Cloud, started out designing offshore oil structures and systems before becoming a software engineer.  She founded several successful companies, most notably VMware, which created the market for virtualization.  She and Rometty, who is the CEO of IBM, stand among the ranks of the tech giants of industry--almost all of whom are men.   They discussed their careers, leadership philosophies, and how they approach their responsibilites as women in power.