News

Kathy Yelick elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Prof. Katherine Yelick has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This organization has been serving the nation as a champion of scholarship, civil dialogue and useful knowledge since 1780. The Academy convenes leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to address critical challenges facing our global society. Kathy joins a long list of distinguished members, going back to Ben Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, and most recently our own Scott Shenker in 2016. For a complete list of EECS members elected to the academy, see EECS Faculty Awards/American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Google TPUs are built for inference

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson co-authored and presented a report on Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) at a regional seminar of the National Academy of Engineering, held at the Computer History Museum in Menlo Park on April 5, 2017.   TPUs, which have been deployed in Google datacenters since 2015, are printed-circuit cards which are inserted into existing servers and act as co-processors tailored for neural-network calculations.  Prof. Patterson says that TPUs are "an order of magnitude faster than contemporary CPUs and GPUs" with an even larger relative performance per watt.  According to an article for the IEEE Spectrum, TPUs are "built for doing inference," having hardware that operates on 8-bit integers rather than the higher-precision floating-point numbers used in CPUs and GPUs.

Josephine Williamson wins Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award

Josephine Williamson, the EECS Director of Administrative Services, has been selected to receive the U.C. Berkeley Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award (COSA), which is the highest honor bestowed upon staff by the Chancellor.  COSAs are presented to individuals and teams who, in addition to performing their normal job duties with excellence, also demonstrate exceptional initiative in contributing to the UC Berkeley campus community.

Beauty and Joy of Computing curriculum receives grant from InfoSys

The Beauty and Joy of Computing, an introductory computer science curriculum taught by Prof. Dan Garcia has received a $311,975 grant from InfoSys for a Professional Development week “BJCpalooza” for teachers to be held July 17-21, 2017 at UC Berkeley. Approximately 200 high school teachers from across the United States will be attending. Prof. Garcia will also be giving the keynote talk at the 2017 ACM TURC (SIGCSE) China, a new leading international forum at the intersection of computer science and the learning sciences, seeking to improve practice and theories of CS education.

Meet Ray, the Real-Time Machine-Learning Replacement for Spark

CS Prof. Michael Jordan, graduate students Philipp Moritz and Robert Nishihara, and research in the RISELab are featured in a Datanami article titled "Meet Ray, the Real-Time Machine-Learning Replacement for Spark."  Ray is one of the first technologies to emerge from RISELab, the successor to AMPLab and its host of influential distributed technologies including Spark, Mesos, and Tachyon. Ray is a new distributed framework designed to enable Python-based machine learning and deep learning workloads to execute in real-time with MPI-like power and granularity. This framework is ostensibly a replacement for Spark, which is seen as too slow for some real-world AI applications.

BiasBusters at the Community Grants Showcase

BiasBusters @ Cal EECS will make a presentation at this year's Community Grants Showcase:  Changing Social Norms on April 19, 2017.  BiasBusters @ Cal EECS focuses on engaging EECS faculty, staff, and students to shift culture and increase the inclusion of women and underrepresented minorities in our community.   The program, modeled on Google’s Bias Busting @ Work program, was initiated by Director of Diversity and Achievement Tiffany Reardon and is organized by graduate students Vasuki Swamy and Regina Eckert.  Regular workshops are led by volunteers in the EECS community who have been trained as program facilitators in an effort to promote self-awareness about unconscious bias and teach how to address it in our department and daily lives.  The grant was sponsored by the PATH to Care Center with support from the Violence Prevention Collaborative.

The Beauty & Joy of Computing featured in the New York Times

Dr. Daniel Garcia and his course "CS10: The Beauty and Joy of Computing" (BJC) are featured in a New York Times article about curricula designed to develop computational thinking in students.  The article, titled "Learning to Think Like a Computer," covers strategies at a number of top institutions and highlights BJC, a CS course for nonmajors which focuses on the abstract principles underpinning computing instead of just teaching students to code.  “The idea of abstraction,” Dan says, “is to hide the details.”  Concealing layers of information makes it possible to get at the intersections of things, improving aspects of a complicated system without understanding and grappling with each part.  The abstraction of computational thinking allows advances without having to redesign from scratch and offers a new language and orientation to tackle problems in many other areas of life.

Paper authored by EECS alumni receives 2017 NSDI Test-of-Time Award.

The paper “X-Trace: A Pervasive Network Tracing Framework”, authored by EECS alumi Rodrigo Fonseca (Ph.D. ’08) and George Porter (Ph.D. ’08) and Professors Randy Katz, Scott Shenker, and Ion Stoica, has received the 2017 Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI) Test-of-Time Award. X-Trace was not the first tracing framework, but it was influential given that it was effectively the first framework for end-to-end tracing to focus on generality and pervasiveness. The researchers implemented X-Trace in protocols and software systems, and in their prize-winning paper, they set out to explain three different use scenarios: domain name system (DNS) resolution; a three-tiered photo-hosting website; and a service accessed through an overlay network.

Radhika Mittal and Sam Chiu-Wai Wong win 2017 Google PhD Fellowships

Graduate students Radhika Mittal (advisors: Sylvia Ratnasamy and Scott Shenker) and Sam Chiu-Wai Wong (advisor: Christos Papadimitriou) have won 2017 Google PhD Fellowships. This is one of the highest honors available for Computer Science graduate students.  Each selected university is permitted to nominate two students and Google awards approximately 15 named fellowships per year.  Radhika, whose area is Computer Networking, was awarded a Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship in 2013.  Sam, who is interested in the area of Algorithms and Complexity, won Best Paper at the IEEE FOCS Symposium in 2015 and has been awarded an IBM Scholarship.

Matthias Vallentin and Vern Paxson take a “VAST” Step Forward in Cyber Security

Postdoctoral researcher Matthias Vallentin is developing VAST,  a  forensic analysis tool  designed to help prioritize the investigation of computer security breaches.  It complements Bro, a security tool  devised by Prof. Vern Paxson when he was a graduate student 22 years ago and which is now used worldwide, to instantly collect huge volumes of log data that a hack might compromise.  “Maybe the external machine also appeared in a phishing email, which contained a PDF attachment. Not only that, but the PDF also includes a malicious payload, which upon opening, sends sensitive information from the employee’s computer to a cyber criminal.  VAST supports this iterative process to reconstruct the complete picture and presents it on a platter” explains Vallentin.  The function, development, and industrial potential of these tools are discussed in a Berkeley Research article.