Barbara Simons Receives 2019 ACM Policy Award

CS alumna Barbara Simons (PhD 1981, advisor: Richard Karp) has won the 2019 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Policy Award for long-standing, high-impact leadership.  The award recognizes "an individual or small group that had a significant positive impact on the formation or execution of public policy affecting computing or the computing community."  Over several decades, Simons has advanced technology policy by founding and leading organizations, authoring influential publications, and effecting change through lobbying and public education.  She was president of ACM from 1998-2008 and the founding Chair of ACM's US Public Policy Committee (USACM, now USTPC), which was envisioned "to provide cogent advice and analysis to legislators and policymakers about a wide range of issues including cryptography, computer security, privacy, and intellectual property."  She is internationally known as an expert on voting technology and reform, and is a key player in persuading election officials to shift to paper-based voting systems.  Simons currently chairs the Board of Directors of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that advocates for legislation and regulation of elections to improve accuracy, transparency and verifiability.

Margo Seltzer, Keith Bostic and Mike Olson

BerkeleyDB wins 2020 SIGMOD Systems Award

The creators of BerkeleyDB (BDB) have won the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) Systems Award for their "seminal work in embodying simplicity, quality, and elegance in a high-performance key-value store that has impacted many systems and applications over the last 25 years."   BDB is a software library that originated as an effort to free up the user space utilities in BSD, UC Berkeley's free version of the Unix operating system.  It used revolutionarily simple function-call APIs for data access and management, which allowed developers to create custom solutions at a fraction of the usual cost.  Keith Bostic, a member of Berkeley's Computer Science Research Group (CSRG), and his wife, graduate student Margo Seltzer (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Michael Stonebraker), co-founded Sleepycat Software, Inc. to provide commercial support for BDB.  Seltzer served as CTO, Bostic as VP Eng and Product Architect, and former Berkeley student and BDB co-developer Mike Olson (who later co-founded Cloudera) was the first full-time employee and later served as CEO.  Seltzer, Bostic, and Olson are among the 16 developers cited for the award. BDB ships in every copy of Linux and BSD; drove most LDAP servers, and powered a large portion of the Web 1.0.

Ming Lin elected to 2020 ACM SIGGRAPH Academy

EECS alumna Ming C. Lin (B.S./M.S./Ph.D. '93, advisor: John Canny) has been elected to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) Academy.  She is one of six scholars selected for membership this year, an honor which is reserved for individuals who have made "substantial contributions to the field."  Lin was cited "for contributions in collision detection, physics simulation, natural phenomena, crowd animation, haptics, and sound rendering."  She became an ACM Fellow in 2011 and IEEE Fellow in 2012, and is currently chair of the Computer Science department at the University Maryland.  An expert in virtual reality, computer graphics and robotics, Lin's particular focus is on multimodal interaction, physically based animations and simulations, as well as algorithmic robotics and their use in physical and virtual environments.  Her research has applications in medical simulations, cancer screening, urban computing, as well as supporting city-scale planning, human-centric computing, intelligent transportation and traffic management.

Paper by Peter Mattis to be presented at ACM SIGMOD conference

A paper co-written by EECS alumnus Peter Mattis (B.S. '97) is being presented at the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) International Conference on Management of Data this month.  The paper, titled "CockroachDB: The Resilient Geo-Distributed SQL Database," describes a cloud-native, distributed SQL database called CockroachDB, that is designed to store copies of data in multiple locations in order to deliver speedy access.  The database is being developed at Cockroach Labs, a company co-founded in 2015 by a team of former Google employees that included Mattis, who is also the current CTO, and fellow-alumnus Spencer Kimball (CS B.A. '97), currently the company CEO.  Cockroach Labs employs a number of Cal alumni including Ceilia La (CS B.A. '00) and Yahor Yuzefovich (CS B.A. '18).

Michael Athans, pioneer in control theory, has died

EECS alumnus Michael Athans (B.S. '58/M.S. '59/Ph.D. '61, adivsor: Otto J. M. Smith), a pioneer in the field of control theory, has died at the age of 83.   Athans, who was born in Greece and graduated under the surname Athanassiades, had been a professor of electrical engineering at MIT for 34 years before retiring in 1998.  He helped shape modern control theory by developing central methodologies geared toward large-scale systems, which broadened the scope of the field, and helped spearhead the area of multivariable control system design and the field of robust control.  He became the director of the MIT Electronic Systems Laboratory in 1974, and renamed it the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) four years later, reflecting the lab’s expansion into new domains like transportation, energy, and economics.  Athans was also an award-winning educator, supervising the theses of more than 100 graduate students, producing nearly 70 videotaped lessons for practicing engineers, developing coursework, and co-authoring three books, including the foundational text “Optimal Control" (with Peter Falb).

Gary May: "George Floyd could have been me"

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, has penned an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle titled "UC Davis chancellor: George Floyd could have been me" in which he observes that "at a traffic stop, no one knows I am a chancellor. No one knows I have a doctorate."  He explains that building an inclusive society that recognizes and respects people of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and a wide variety of political views, gender identities, and personal experiences, will increase our capacity to "make discoveries and solve problems."  "It requires collective effort," he writes.  "It requires each one of us, in our own way, working to make a difference, whether that’s through video recording, peaceful protest or working to change procedures that reflect bias."

Olivia Hsu to give speech at national IEEE-HKN virtual graduation celebration

EECS alumna Olivia Hsu (B.S. '19) will be giving a speech at the national 2020 IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) virtual graduation celebration on Saturday, May 30, 2020.  Hsu is the winner of the 2019 IEEE-HKN Alton B. Zerby and Carl T. Koerner Outstanding Electrical or Computer Engineering Student of the Year Award, and is the representative for the Mu (Berkeley) Chapter, which has won the IEEE-HKN Outstanding Chapter Award every year since 2001.   While at Berkeley, Hsu co-founded the student group Space Technologies at Cal (STAC) and won the 2019 EECS Arthur M. Hopkin award, which recognizes outstanding EE undergraduates who "demonstrate seriousness of purpose and high academic achievement."  She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Stanford with a focus on computer architecture, digital circuits, and computer systems.  IEEE-HKN will host the event for the first time this year in place of the campus commencement ceremonies which  have been cancelled nationwide. 

Dawn Song discusses adversarial machine learning and computer security on AI podcast

EECS alumna and Prof. Dawn Song (Ph.D. '02) appears in episode #95 of the Artificial Intelligence Podcast with Lex Fridman to discuss adversarial machine learning and computer security.   They cover topics ranging from attacks on self-driving cars to data ownership, program synthesis, and the meaning of life.

Mark Hopkins appointed to Reed faculty

CS alumnus Mark Hopkins (B.A. CS '00) has been appointed to a tenure-track position in the department of Computer Science at Reed College in Oregon. He will be part of the division of Mathematical and Natural Resources where he will study uncertain reasoning and machine learning, with a particular interest in how these can be applied to computational linguistics.  Hopkins earned his Ph.D. from UCLA in 2005 and had managed Project Euclid at the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence (AI2) in Washington state before being hired as a visiting associate professor at Reed in 2018.

Four papers authored by EECS faculty win Test-of-Time Awards at 2020 IEEE-SP

Four papers co-authored by EECS faculty (3 of which were co-authored by Prof. Dawn Song) have won Test-of-Time awards at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy today: "Efficient Authentication and Signing of Multicast Streams Over Lossy Channels," co-authored by Song (Ph.D. '02) and the late Prof. Doug Tygar (with Perrig and Canetti) in 2000, "Practical Techniques for Searches on Encrypted Data," co-authored by Song and Prof. David Wagner (with Perrig) in 2000, "Random Key Predistribution Schemes for Sensor Networks," co-authored by Song (with Chan and Perrig) in 2003, and "Outside the Closed World: On Using Machine Learning For Network Intrusion Detection" co-authored by Prof. Vern Paxson (with Sommer) in 2010.    IEEE-SP is considered the premier computer security conference and this four-fold achievement demonstrates Berkeley's preeminence in the field.