News

Dutta, Niknejad, and Salahuddin lead new research centers to help usher in future of microelectronics

Associate Prof. Prabal Dutta, Prof. Ali Niknejad, and Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin are leading partners in three new multi-university research centers that aim to jump-start the future technologies for the microelectronics industry, with a particular focus on energy-efficient computing as well as communications and sensing.  Dutta is the associate director of Computing on Network Infrastructure for Pervasive Perception, Cognition and Action (CONIX), an SRC center that will also involve Profs David Culler, Jan Rabaey, Claire Tomlin and John Wawrzynek.  Niknejad will be associate director of the Center for Converged TeraHertz Communications and Sensing (ComSenTer), a $27.5 million SRC center that will also involve Profs. Elad Alon, Borivoje Nikolic and Vladimir Stojanovic. Salahuddin will serve as associate director of ASCENT, which focuses on next-generation, energy-efficient computing that overcomes bottlenecks in data transfer.  Prof. Jeffrey Bokor will also participate in ASCENT.

A celebration of diversity in engineering and science featuring Gary May

The  Cal Alumni Association and the Black Alumni Club are hosting an event Celebrating Diversity in Engineering and Science at Cal on February 10, 2018.  It will honor the 50th anniversary of the Black Engineering and Science Student Association (BESSA) and the 30th anniversary of the Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students (BGESS) group at Berkeley, and will feature both alumni and current students.  The keynote speaker is EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88 and Ph.D. '92), now the Chancellor of the University of California, Davis.  In addition to the evening event, BESSA and BGESS alumni are planning an afternoon symposium with panels of engineering alumni to discuss their careers in industry and academia with undergrad, graduate and high school students

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.

Prasad Raghavendra wins inaugural NAS Michael and Sheila Held Prize

CS Associate Prof. Prasad Raghavendra has won the inaugural Michael and Sheila Held Prize.  The award, sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), honors  outstanding, innovative, creative, and influential research in the areas of combinatorial and discrete optimization, or related parts of computer science, such as the design and analysis of algorithms and complexity theory.  Raghavendra and co-recipient David Steurer are being recognized "For a body of work which revolutionizes our understanding of optimization and complexity. It better explains the exact limits to efficient approximation of NP-hard problems. It provides better understanding of the computational assumptions underlying hardness of approximation. And it develops a structure theory of linear and semi-definite programming and their hierarchies, which leads to new algorithms and new lower bounds."  The prize comes with $100,000 and will be presented at the NAS annual meeting in April.

Sheila Humphreys at her PAESMEM ceremony in 2013

Tips that Work!: advice from award-winning STEM mentor Sheila Humphreys

EECS Emerita Director of Diversity, Sheila Humphreys, is participating in a National Science Foundation (NSF) webinar titled "Tips that Work!: Advice from Award-Winning STEM Mentors" on Monday, Jan. 22 at 12:30 pm PST.  Humphreys, who was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) in 2012, will participate in a moderated discussion--in celebration of National Mentoring Month--along with one of her mentees, Cheyenne Nelson, a recent UC Berkeley physics graduate and current Research Affiliate with the ATLAS group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Along with other PAESMEM recipients and mentees, they will share how successful STEM mentoring can change lives, careers and our nation's workforce.

Cartoon by © Arend van Dam

GEESE: A new cross-disciplinary student initiative to reflect on issues of society & technology

A new initiative, Graduates for Engaged and Extended Scholarship around Computing & Engineering (GEESE), aims to address growing concerns about the rapid advancement and integration of technologies in the global arena by building a coalition of engineers and social science scholars across campus to engage in issues vital to society and technology.  GEESE, launched this semester as one of CITRIS's Tech for Good initiatives,  plans to build a campus community of grad students and postdocs who will bring together disciplines and perspectives from fields like law, public policy, economics, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy, to promote cross-disciplinary scholarship on issues that cannot be wholly addressed from the silos of individual fields.  They will hold roundtables on relevant issues to gauge students' interests, and organize seminars with thought leaders to reflect and redefine their mission and acitivities.

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."

Stuart Russell and all things "Slaughterbot"

CS Prof. Stuart Russell is featured in an interview by the "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists" titledAs much death as you want”: UC Berkeley's Stuart Russell on “Slaughterbots.  Russell discusses the genesis of the hit YouTube video, the technology that goes into lethal autonomous weapons, and some of the difficulties involved in controlling their proliferation.

Ben Recht wins NIPS Test of Time Award

Prof. Ben Recht has won the Neural Information Processing System (NIPS) 2017 Test of Time Award for a paper he co-wrote with Ali Rahimi in 2007 titled "Random Features for Large-Scale Kernel Machines."   Deep learning, which involves stacking many neural networks on top of one another to learn the features of giant databases and develop clever algorithms, is being used to carry out more and more tasks in an expanding number of areas.  In their acceptance speech at the NIPS conference, Recht and Rahimi posited that more theory is needed to understand the state-of-the-art empirical performance of deep learning, and called for simple theorems and simple, easily reproducible experiments.  "We are building systems that govern healthcare and mediate our civic dialogue, we influence elections," said Rahimi. "I would like to live in a society where systems are built on top of verifiable, rigorous thorough knowledge and not alchemy."

Four EECS undergraduate researchers recognized by CRA

All four EECS students nominated for this year's Computing Research Association (CRA) Undergraduate Researcher Award were recognized by the selection committee.  Senior CS/Math major Garrett Thomas (nominated by Pieter Abbeel) and EECS junior Peter Manohar (nominated by Alessandro Chiesa) were named as finalists.  Senior CS major Siqi Liu (nominated by Sanjam Garg) and CS/Statistics/Math senior Tianhe Yu (nominated by Sergey Levine and Pieter Abbeel) merited honorable mentions.  This award program recognizes undergraduate students in North American universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research.