Barbara Simons: Making Votes Count

2005 CS Distinguished Alumna Barbara Simons (Ph.D. '81) is the subject of a Berkeley Engineering profile celebrating the 150th anniversary of U.C. Berkeley.  Simons, who is a past president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), has been drawing attention to the pitfalls of electronic voting since 2003.  She's a vocal critic of electronic ballots and is board chair of Verified Voting, a non-partisan organization that advocates for reliable and secure voting practices, as well as the author of a book titled “Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?”   She is also a long-time champion for programs to increase diversity in computer science and engineering.

prof. david wagner

Data is "the coin of the realm"

Prof. David Wagner is at the center of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle titled "Data science, the ‘new Latin’ for students, in demand in Silicon Valley."  Data science is one of the fastest-growing fields of study at Berkeley, but the field is in such demand that jobs far outstrip the supply of graduates in the Bay Area.  “Data science is the new Latin for university students,” said Wagner.  At one time, to be a college-educated person, “you had to learn Latin because that was the language of scholarly study,” Wagner said. “Now, data is the coin of the realm.”

Dawn Song leads team to develop trusted AI

CS Prof. Dawn Song and her team are part of the new Center for Trustworthy Machine Learning funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF center, led by Pennsylvania State University and announced today, will focus on developing secure systems in the era of machine learning models. The center will receive $10 million over five years.

Berkeley is #1 university open source contributor

UC Berkeley is the top ranked university in the third annual Octoverse Report list of "Open source contributions made by employees of different organizations," with 2700 contributions.  Berkeley is the fourth ranked organization overall--after Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat.  The Octoverse Report is a roundup of GitHub data across global repositories from the last 12 months.  Four other universities made the top ten:  the University of Washington  (6th place with 1800 contributions), MIT (8th place with 1700), UMich and Stanford (tied 9th with 1600 contributions each) .  

Randy Katz reflects on Berkeley's Nobelists

EE Prof. Randy Katz, the current U.C. Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research, reflects on how the use-inspired research of Berkeley Nobel Prize winners exemplifies the importance of that approach to scientific inquiry.   He illustrates the strength of use-inspired research by comparing it to basic (curiosity-driven) and applied (goal-driven) research, defining it as the "search for fundamental knowledge" with selected "questions and methods based on their relevance to real-world issues."  "One of our great aims is to bring together a broad set of the world’s brightest minds to work on the pressing problems of the day," he says.

Urmila Mahadev Solves Quantum Verification Problem

CS postdoctoral researcher Urmila Mahadev (advisor: Umesh Vazirani) has come up with an interactive protocol by which users with no quantum powers of their own can employ cryptography to put a harness on a quantum computer and drive it wherever they want, with the certainty that the quantum computer is following their orders.  Her work, which addressed the question "How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?" was awarded the “best paper” and “best student paper” prizes when it was presented at the Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science this month.  CIT computer scientistThomas Vidick calls her result “one of the most outstanding ideas to have emerged at the interface of quantum computing and theoretical computer science in recent years.”

Celebrating Women in STEM: Video Game Designer Carol Shaw

EECS alumna Carol Shaw (EE B.S. '77/CS M.S. '78), one of the first female industrial video grame designers, is the subject of a University of Missouri, Kansas City News article celebrating women in STEM.   Shaw, who was always drawn to engineering and math, used punch cards and Fortran for her first programming class at Cal.  She became one of the first professional female video game developers when she joined Atari after graduating 1978.  in 1980, Shaw’s “Tic-Tac-Toe” became the first commercially released video game designed by a woman. She developed a scrolling format for her second game, "River Raid," while working at Activision.   It won several awards, including Inforworld’s Best Action Game and Best Atari 8-bit Game of the Year, when it was released in 1982.  Vintage Computing and Gaming magazine said that River Raid is "almost universally regarded as a masterpiece of game design."

Deborah Estrin receives MacArthur ‘genius’ award

2008 Distinguished CS Alumna Deborah Estrin (B.S. EECS  '80) has been awarded a 2018 'genius' grant from the the MacArthur Foundation.  Winners are chosen for "solving long-standing scientific and mathematical problems, pushing art forms into new and emerging territories, and addressing the urgent needs of under-resourced communities."  Estrin completed her graduate work at MIT before becoming a professor at USC, UCLA, and eventually Cornell Tech in New York, where she is currently Associate Dean.  She designs "open-source platforms that leverage mobile devices and data to address socio-technological challenges such as personal health management."  She was among the first to ascertain the potential of using the digital traces of people's daily lives for participatory mobile health.

Turnitin Acquires Gradescope

Turnitin, a leading provider of academic integrity and writing solutions, has acquired Gradescope, a class grading platform co-founded by CS Prof. Pieter Abbeel and alumni Arjun Singh (B.S. EECS '10/Ph.D. CS '16), Sergey Karayev (CS Ph.D. '15), and Ibrahim Awwal (EECS B.S. '12/M.S. '15).   The platform reduces the time associated with grading in college courses via an optimized online workflow and clever application of artificial intelligence. Developed at Cal when the alumni were teaching assistants, Gradescope is now used in most CS, Math, and Chemistry classes at Berkeley, and has quickly been adopted at many top higher-ed institutions, including half of all Ivy League schools, as well as at over twenty-five leading R1 universities. “Bringing Gradescope into the Turnitin family allows us to realize our mission across more subjects, with more instructors and students than ever before. Gradescope represents Turnitin’s first formal foray into STEM education, an area of increasing importance, that must also be held to high standards of academic integrity," said Turnitin CEO Chris Caren.

Corelight wins 2018 Network Security Innovation Award

Corelight, a cybersecurity startup co-founded by CS Prof. Vern Paxson, has won the 2018 Network Security Innovation Award from CyberSecurity Breakthrough, an independent organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global information security market.  Corelight delivers "network visibility solutions for cybersecurity" by merging the power of an open source framework called Bro with a suite of enterprise features to create a line of sensors.  These sensors make Bro dramatically easier to deploy in physical and virtual enterprise environments.  The CyberSecurity Breakthrough Awards recognize "the world's best information security companies, products and people."