News

Baiyu Chen awarded top prize at Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge

CS graduate student Baiyu Chen (advisor: Alexei Efros) and Anthony Barrs were awarded top prize and $50,000 for their design at the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge.  Their idea, profiled in an article for Fortune, was to construct a "Hyperlane," or a single platform the size of four interstate lanes that would run parallel to pre-existing highways in order for self-driving cars to travel at high speeds with no chance of getting into a jam.

Tomás Vega rises to a disability challenge

Tomás Vega, a senior computer science and cognitive science major, was part of a team that participated in the first collegiate Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) event and which was profiled in a Jewish News article titled "Cal students pull a marathon to engineer disability solutions."  His team, led by Berkeley alumnus Pierluigi Mantovani, designed a special pair of gloves to help a Berkeley filmmaker with very limited use of his hands navigate a computer screen.  The filmmaker, who had to use a joystick with his lower lip to navigate, can now perform the same task by just slightly moving his wrists.  The gloves use electromyography, which detects signals from his muscles.   “When someone tells you, ‘Thank you for changing my life, for improving the quality of my life,’ there’s nothing like that,” Vega said.

Raghav Chandra's UrbanClap dominates India's on-demand services ecosystem

Alumnus Raghav Chandra (EECS B.S. '11) and his second start-up, UrbanClap, are the subject of a Live Mint article describing the formation and rise of the most funded start-up in the still nascent hyperlocal segment of the on-demand services sector in India.  UrbanClap, which aggregates 107 local services and 65,000 providers, and enables customers to request services online through its website or mobile application, raised $36.6M in funding during the first 2 years after its inception.  Raghav, who was active in GamesCrafters as a student, became a software engineer at Yelp and Twitter, and founded the startup Buggi, before meeting his current partners to co-found UrbanClap.

Dan Garcia's research group GameCrafters featured in PBS Newshour article

Prof. Dan Garcia was interviewed in a PBS Newshour article titled “This Pi Day, use math to beat your friends at classic toy games”. To celebrate Pi Day, mathematicians and physicists explored three classic toys, hula hoops, yo-yo’s and Connect Four on ways to be the most successful with each toy. To count how many possible ways a real game of Connect Four could end, Prof. Garcia’s  research group called GamesCrafters created a program to simulate all the moves. GamesCrafters “strongly solved” the game and found 4,531,985,219,092, or 4.53 trillion combinations to Connect Four are possible.

Student startup culture is in The House

A number of EECS alumni and faculty have been invited to guest lecture for a DeCal course called "Build the Future" (CS 198), designed in collaboration with startup institute The House, to get undergraduate students engaged with the Berkeley entrepreneurial ecosystem and to use their time on campus creatively.  CS majors Jimmy Liu and Zuhayeer Musa (who run a company called Bash) helped develop the course, CS Prof. Scott Shenker is the faculty advisor, and Cameron Baradar (B.S.’15 EECS) is executive director of The House.  Speakers will include CS Prof. Joe Hellerstein, EE Prof. Kurt Keutzer, co-founder of Oculus Jack McCauley (B.S.’86, EECS), and founder of inDinero Jessica Mah (B.S.’10 EECS).

Björn Hartmann is countering extremism with technology

Designing Technology to Counter Violent Extremism,” a course co-taught by CS Associate Prof. Björn Hartmann at the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, is designed to develop technology-based solutions to ideologically motivated violence in the United States.  In the class, students seek to understand the roots of violent extremism and conceive of technological antidotes. “The Internet — from viral videos to hijacked hashtags to bot networks — has emerged as a key arena in which violent extremists engage with the public,” the course description reads. “But technology is also a key tool in the fight against extremism.”

Startup Trifacta gives customers an intuitive, agile new way of working with data

Trifacta, a data wrangling startup co-founded by Prof. Joe Hellerstein (also company CSO and CS alumnus--M.S. '92), is one of the companies profiled by Computer Weekly in an article titled "Silicon Valley startups aim to make big data capture and prep slicker."  Customers of Trifacta, which specializes in sorting out data and getting it into shape for analysis, includes the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, PepsiCo, Walmart, and soon Google (Cloud Dataprep). Other CS alumni on the Trifacta team include co-founder and CXO Jeffrey Heer (B.S. '01/M.S. '04/Ph.D. '08) and Vice President of Products Wei Zheng (B.A. '99).  

Anca Dragan wants more human-centered AI4ALL

At the Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) Camp this year, Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan will lead AI4ALL, a Berkeley education program designed to introduce high potential, low income high schoolers to humanistic AI.  In an article titled "The future of AI needs to have more people in it" she discusses the importance of creating AI with humans in mind and the value of diverse approaches to the field.

Andrew Ng on why Artificial Intelligence is the new electricity

CS alumnus Andrew Ng (Ph.D. '02), Chief Scientist at Baidu, founder of Google Brain, co-founder of Coursera, and Stanford adjunct professor, describes in a video on Inside HPC how artificial intelligence is transforming the industrial landscape.  He compares the impact of AI to that of electricity, which radically transformed industry after industry when it was introduced.

A new understanding of the world through grassroots Data Science education

Vani Mandava, the Director of Data Science at Microsoft Research, has written an article about the innovative course Foundations of Data Science taught by CS Assistant Teaching Prof. John DeNero and Ani Adhikari, a Teaching Professor in the Department of Statistics.  Mandava examines the motives and experiences of the students, and describes the aim of Berkeley’s Data Science Education Program (supported in part by Microsoft) to make data science an integral feature of a liberal education and a core interdisciplinary capacity available to all Berkeley undergraduates.