News

Kirk Tramble, one of three generations of Cal Bears

Alumnus Kirk Tramble (B.S. EECS 1993) is both the son and father of proud UC Berkeley alumni.  His father, Thomas, earned a B.A. in Sociology/African American Studies in 1971, and his son, Gabriel, graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies in 2018.  The family is profiled in a Cal Alumni article which compares their experiences as Black students at Cal during three different eras.  Kirk arrived on campus at a time when academic support for students of color was at an all-time high, and watched as everything changed after the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996, when the percentage of black students dropped from 8% to 2%.  “The response [to Prop 209] was to ultimately shut down many of the programs that were the highest serving programs for African Americans on campus,” he said.  He and his father now administer a scholarship offered by the African American Initiative to encourage and support Black students at Cal.

After Parkland shooting, Kai Koerber fights for mental health resources in schools

CS-intended major Kai Koerber, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and now an advocate for mental health education, is the subject of an interview in an episode of Fiat Vox, the Berkeley News podcast.  Koerber was a high school senior in February 2018 when he huddled in a closet to escape the gunman, a former student, who killed 17 people in one of the deadliest school shootings in the country.  He decided to take a stand and speak authentically about gun violence and mental health, contributing the perspective of a young black person living in the South.  That April, he founded Societal Reform Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting mental health in schools by implementing programs that teach students of all ages to “mitigate emotions, relax, learn and grow as human beings.”

Jake Tibbetts and SIGNAL win 2019 SGS&C Best Student Game

Computer Science and Global Studies double major, Jake Tibbetts, and the UC Berkeley Project on Nuclear Gaming (PONG) were awarded Best Student Game at the 2019 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge (SGS&C) for their work on SIGNAL.  SIGNAL is an online three-player experimental wargame in which three countries, some armed with nuclear weapons, attempt to achieve national goals through diplomacy and conflict.  It is designed to help understand the impact of emerging technologies on strategic stability and nuclear risk reduction. Tibbetts, who specializes in Peace and Conflict Studies, is a member of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium (NSSC), a five-year program to develop a new generation of laboratory-integrated nuclear experts.  SGS&C is the premier venue for recognition of excellence in the field of Serious Games development.

RISC-V grows globally as an alternative to Arm

RISC-V, a royalty-free microprocessor architecture first developed at Berkeley, is emerging as a rival to Arm, the most successful microchip architecture in the world.   The first RISC-V chip was built in 2011 as part of the open source Peer Lab Project by CS Prof. and alumnus Krste Asanović (Ph.D. '98, advisor: John Wawrzynek), CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson, and CS alumni Andrew Waterman (M.S. 11/Ph.D. '16, advisors: David Patterson/Krste Asanović) and Yunsup Lee (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '16, advisor: Krste Asanović).  Asanović, Waterman and Lee went on to found SiFive, "the first fabless semiconductor company to build customized silicon on RISC-V."   Asanović explains that the architecture has gained momentum "not because it's 10% faster. It's because it's a new business model."  Chip designers traditionally have to find a seller to make their microprocessors, but now designers can select RISC-V and "all suppliers compete for your business.  You can add your own extensions without obtaining permission" or paying license fees.

Robot BLUE named one of 100 greatest innovations of 2019

An affordable, human-friendly robot developed by EECS Prof. Pieter Abbeel and Project Blue is among Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New” innovations for 2019.  BLUE (Berkeley robot for Learning in Unstructured Environments) uses artificial intelligence and deep reinforcement learning algorithms to adapt to and operate safely in unpredictable settings, including the common household.  The list is  Popular Science's ranking of the year’s top 100 technologies and products, which highlight feats of engineering, breakthrough software and other acclaim-worthy discoveries from the past year.  BLUE is projected to ship to consumers in the next few years,

Dawn Song named 2019 ACM Fellow

EECS Prof. and alumna Dawn Song (Ph.D. '02, advisor: Doug Tygar) has been  selected as a 2019 Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).    Song was cited "For contributions to security and privacy" and is now part of an elite group that represents less than 1% of the Association’s global membership.  As one of the world’s foremost experts in computer security and trustworthy artificial intelligence, Song founded a startup to build a new platform based on a paradigm in which people control their data and are compensated for its use by corporations. She was named to both the 2019 WIRED25 list of innovators and Inc.com's list of the 100 most innovative businesswomen in 2019.   Fellows will be honored at an awards banquet in June.

Trevor Darrell joins checkout-free company Grabango

EECS Prof. Trevor Darrell has been appointed chief scientist at Grabango, a provider of checkout-free technology for brick-and-mortar stores.  Darrell is an expert in computer vision, machine learning and perception-based human computer interfaces, and leads the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (BAIR).  He helped develop Convolutional Architecture for Fast Feature Embedding (Caffe), a deep-learning framework used by computer vision researchers around the world.  Grabango announced earlier this year that it had signed four separate agreements with multibillion-dollar retail partners, presiding over a combined 29-million square feet of shopping space.

Jaijeet Roychowdhury and Tianshi Wang win 2019 Nokia Bell Labs Prize

EECS Prof. Jaijeet Roychowdhury and his graduate student Tianshi Wang have won First Place in the 2019 Nokia Bell Labs Competition for their work on  “A Classical Spin on Quantum Computing.”  The pair have created a new type of processor element that will be significantly more efficient in computing the answers to discrete optimization problems. Their innovation will complement conventional digital processors (CPUs and GPUs) by efficiently tackling a wide range of computationally hard problems of importance in many diverse areas, including 5G communication systems; complex tasks in planning, scheduling and control; and even the discovery of new drugs.  The first place finish comes with a prize of $100K.

Student research projects to be highlighted at Data Science Showcase

The Data Science Showcase, which will highlight the amazing ways that students are using data science to advance discovery and impact across campus and beyond in over 30+ projects, will be held this Thursday, December 5, from 12 noon to 3:30 pm in Sutardja Dai Hall.  The Showcase will kick off with a series of presentations in the Banatao Auditorium, followed by posters, demonstrations, and light refreshments in the adjoining Kvamme Atrium.  RSVP requested.

Prof. Chenming Hu

Chenming Hu wins 2020 IEEE Medal of Honor

EECS Prof. Chenming Hu has been awarded the 2020 IEEE Medal of Honor, the highest honor awarded by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  The medal is presented when "a candidate is identified as having made a particular contribution that forms a clearly exceptional addition to the science and technology of concern to IEEE."  Hu, whose seminal work on metal-oxide semiconductor MOS reliability and device modeling has had enormous impact on the continued scaling of electronic devices, was cited for “For a distinguished career of developing and putting into practice semiconductor models, particularly 3-D device structures, that have helped keep Moore’s Law going over many decades.”  He won the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2016 and was named to the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame in 2017.