EECS Faculty to explore implications of ChatGPT in new AI lecture series

EECS Faculty will headline a new AI lecture series to explore the “paradigm shift” that ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) have catalyzed. CS Professors Jitendra Malik, Stuart Russell and Michael Jordan are among the seven speakers scheduled this spring to address the sensation that is ChatGPT and other related LLMs. CS Professor Ken Goldberg, who organized the lecture series on behalf of Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR), said, “Something changed very dramatically with the performance of ChatGPT, compared with previous large language models, and everyone, including experts, is asking, ‘What does it mean? Where do we go from here?’” The series will also feature John Schulman (Ph.D. ‘16; advisor: Pieter Abbeel), a co-founder of OpenAI and the primary architect of ChatGPT. “Everyone wants to hear from the experts,” Goldberg said. “There are so many misconceptions out there. In the series, we’ll hear from those who have been working in the field for many years who can provide valuable perspectives on the importance of ChatGPT.”


University College Dublin names EECS alumna as president

EECS alumna Orla Feely is the first woman to be named President of University College Dublin (UCD). Feely (M.S. ’90, Ph.D. ‘92 EECS, advisor: Leon O. Chua ) will lead UCD for a ten-year term beginning in May. Feely, a Professor of Electronic Engineering, is currently the Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact at UCD. At Berkeley, her Ph.D. thesis won the David J. Sakrison Memorial Prize for outstanding and innovative research, and she also received the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. Feely’s research interests are in nonlinear circuits and systems. She is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Engineers Ireland, the Irish Academy of Engineering, and an IEEE Fellow.


Hari Balakrishnan wins 2023 Marconi Prize

2021 Distinguished CS Alumnus Hari Balakrishnan (Ph.D. 1998, advisor: Randy Katz) has won the 2023 Marconi Prize “for his fundamental contributions to mobile sensing, networking, and distributed systems.” The Marconi Prize, which is the highest honor of the Marconi Society, is given each year to innovators who have made significant contributions to increasing inclusivity through the advancement of information and communications technology. Balakrishnan is the Fujitsu Professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He is also the Founder, CTO, and Chairman of Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT). His graduate work at Berkeley won the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award in 1998. He was inducted to the National Academy of Engineering in 2015 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017; he received the Infosys Prize in 2020 and the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Award for Computers and Communication in 2021 for his important contributions to networks, mobile systems, and telematics. He is also a Fellow of both the ACM and IEEE.

BESSA board members Bridget Agyare, Farhiya Ali, Jesus Wilkins, Mialy Rasetarinera, Megane Tchatchouang, and Laila Walker at the anniversary event.
BESSA board members Bridget Agyare, Farhiya Ali, Jesus Wilkins, Mialy Rasetarinera, Megane Tchatchouang, and Laila Walker. (Photo: Rhett Jones Jr. Photography)

BESSA, BGESS celebrate milestone anniversaries

The Black Engineering and Science Student Association (BESSA), and Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students (BGESS), celebrated their 55th and 35th anniversaries, respectively. The anniversary celebration and community building event, which took place on February 11, 2023, was hosted by the Black Engineering and Science Alumni Club (BESAC), and began with a daytime speaker series, followed by a reception at Alumni House. Several EECS alumni were in attendance, such as UC Davis Chancellor and EECS distinguished alumni Gary May (M.S.’88, Ph.D. ’91 EECS) and Valerie Taylor (Ph.D. ’91 EECS), director of the mathematics and computer science division at Argonne National Lab. Other notable alumni who were present include Marie-Ange Eyoum Tagne (M.S. ’03, Ph.D. ’06 EECS), head of product at Yahoo! and Omoju Miller (Ph.D. ‘16 CS Education), CEO and founder of Fimio; Hakim Weatherspoon (Ph.D. ‘06 CS), now a professor of computer science at Cornell, participated in a Black faculty panel. The celebration also marked the 5th anniversary of BESAC. “Being with my fellow BESSA peers and hearing the inspirational stories of BESSA alumni was a very emotional experience for me,” said Bridget Agyare, who is an undergraduate EECS major and BESSA board member. “These successful and distinguished alumni were just like us– they invested time and effort into BESSA’s legacy, they were passionate about STEM, and they were leaders in their community– and seeing what they have achieved reassures me that one day our hard work will pay off and we will succeed as well."


Berkeley EECS to honor Joseph Gier with memorial sculpture

A community is defined by the heroes it chooses to celebrate. We invite you to join the EECS department in recognizing a previously overlooked hero, Berkeley EE Prof. Joseph T. Gier, the University of California's first tenured Black professor. Raised in Oakland by a single mother, Gier came to Berkeley as an undergraduate in 1930, and earned two degrees (B.S. ME '33 and M.Eng. '40) before becoming an EE lecturer in 1944, associate professor with tenure in 1952, and full professor in 1958. He was a world authority on thermal and luminous radiation, and an inventor of devices used in the early days of aerospace exploration and solar power harvesting.  He was also said to be an extraordinary teacher and role model during a period of deep national segregation and social unrest.  We have commissioned artist Dana King to create a bronze monument representing Gier and his contributions to ensure that his profound legacy is restored to the life of the Berkeley campus, and to permanently establish him as a mainstay in our cultural narrative.  We hope to raise $150K to fund the creation, installation and upkeep of the sculpture, which will be placed at the entrance of Blum Hall.


Sophia Shao, Prabal Dutta, and Deepak Pathak win 2022 Okawa Foundation Research Grants

EECS Assistant Prof. Sophia Shao, Associate Prof. Prabal Dutta, and alumnus Deepak Pathak have won 2022 Okawa Foundation Research Grants. The Okawa Foundation for Information and Telecommunications recognizes "studies and analyses in the fields of information and telecommunications." Shao, whose research interests are in computer architecture, was awarded for her work on building domain-specific systems at scale. Dutta, whose research interests include energy-efficient cyber-physical systems and applications of sensor networks and Internet-of-things technology, was awarded for his work on a new kind of radio architecture, called “backsplatter,” and combining it with conventional radios. Pathak, who is now an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, was recognized for his work “Towards Continually Improving Robots in the Wild.” They comprise three of the seven U.S. recipients who were awarded $10,000 grants this year.


Prabal Dutta wins 2022 ACM SenSys Test of Time Award

EECS Associate Prof. Prabal Dutta has won the 2022 ACM SenSys Test of Time Award. The paper by Dutta, Dawson-Haggerty (Ph.D. ‘14), Chen, Liang, and Terzis titled, “Design and Evaluation of a Versatile and Efficient Receiver-Initiated Link Layer for Low-Power Wireless,”  was recognized “for pioneering the use of synchronous transmissions in low-power protocols by exploiting their benefits at the MAC layer and pushing the limits of radio operation.” Established in 2014, the “ToTA” recognizes papers that are at least 10 years old and have demonstrated long-lasting impact on network embedded sensing system science and engineering. “It's a real testament that so much of the field traces its roots to Berkeley,” said Dutta.

Berkeley EECS mourns the loss of Dave Hodges

EECS Prof. Emeritus and alumnus David A. Hodges (M.S. 1961; Ph.D. 1966) passed away on November 13th. He was 85. A former engineering dean and EECS department chair, Prof. Hodges began his career at Bell Telephone Laboratories before joining the EECS faculty in 1970 where his pioneering contributions to the design of integrated circuit (IC) chips and use of silicon-based metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) technology challenged the conventional wisdom of the era. His landmark research led to the rapid development of devices, technologies, and standards that not only were instrumental to the growth of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley but continue to have a tremendous impact today. After 28 years of active service wherein he supervised 27 completed doctoral dissertations, 91 completed master's degrees, co-authored 3 books, 130 technical publications, and 6 patents, Prof. Hodges remained a stalwart of the department, mentoring and championing new faculty and shaping the department culture for decades to come. Prof. Hodges was a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the NAE. He won the IEEE Education Medal (1997), the Berkeley Citation (1998), and was inducted into the Silicon Valley Hall of Fame (2013). A tremendous teacher, collaborator, colleague, and mentor, Prof. Hodges will be dearly missed.


Constance Chang-Hasnain wins 2022 Welker Award

EE alumna and EECS Prof. Emerita Constance Chang-Hasnain (Ph.D. '87) has won the 2022 Welker Award at Compound Semiconductor Week (CSW). She was cited “For pioneering contributions to VCSEL photonics, nano-photonics and high contrast metastructures for optical communications and optical sensing.” Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, or VCSELs, are used in many consumer electronics, including 3D smartphone sensors and cars. Established in 1976 in honor of Heinrich Welker, the pioneer of III-V compound semiconductors, the Welker Award is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to the field of III-V compound semiconductors. Prof. Chang-Hasnain currently serves as Chairperson and founder of Berxel Photonics Co. Ltd. She is an NAI Fellow, an IEEE Fellow, and an NAE member. In 2021, she was elected president of Optica (formerly known as the Optical Society of America). 

EECS alum Paul E. Debevec

Paul Debevec to receive Emmy for Lifetime Achievement

EECS alumnus Paul Debevec (Ph.D. ‘96, advisor: Jitendra Malik) will receive the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award at the Television Academy’s 74th Engineering, Science & Technology Emmy Awards. The award recognizes Debevec for his pioneering work on high dynamic range imaging, image-based lighting, and photogrammetry–techniques that are now standard within the VFX industry for computer-rendered images and graphics. Debevec is also recognized for his work with LED lighting, which “further laid the groundwork” for its use in virtual production, and “has seen a rapid growth as a tool for lighting actors on virtual stages," according to the Television Academy. Debevec is currently the director of research, creative algorithms, and technology at Netflix, and is an adjunct research professor at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. He received ACM SIGGRAPH's first Significant New Researcher Award in 2001, a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award in 2010, and the SMPTE Progress Medal in 2017. Debevec co-authored the 2005 book, "High Dynamic Range Imaging," chaired the SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Animation Festival, served as Vice President of ACM SIGGRAPH, as well as co-chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sci-Tech Council.