EECS News Spring 2015
Ken Goldberg is the Faculty Director of a major new multidisciplinary research program launched by CITRIS called the CITRIS People and Robots Initiative. This program will support efforts by faculty and students working on robotics from the four CITRIS campuses: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz. Building on 40 years of robotics research, a network of alumni and many active labs and projects, the Initiative will draw on innovations in sensors, devices, UAVs, networks, optimization, and machine learning to improve human experience in healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, safety, and a broad range of other applications that can benefit society.
Eli Yablonovitch has been awarded the Isaac Newton Medal by the Institute of Physics in London. This award is the institute's highest honor and is given to any physicist, regardless of subject area, background or nationality for outstanding contributions to physics. Prof. Yablonovitch is receiving this award for “his visionary and foundational contributions to photonic nanostructures” which have spawned the research field of photonic crystals. Photonic crystals can manipulate light, similarly as a semiconductor can steer electrical current, and are now being used in research areas as diverse as quantum computation, nanoscale imaging and sensing, photovoltaics, optical interconnects, and high performance light-emitting diodes.
EECS graduate student Giulia Fanti (advisor Prof. Kannan Ramchandran) is a winner of the 2015 ACM SIGMETRICS Best Paper Award for the paper "Spy vs. Spy: Rumor Source Obfuscation", along with collaborators Peter Kairouz, Prof. Sewoong Oh, and Prof. Pramod Viswanath (in picture), all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
It is with much sadness we announce the news that our colleague Prof. Ernest Kuh passed away today at the Summit Hospital in Oakland from pneumonia. Prof. Kuh joined the EECS faculty in 1956 and made pioneering contributions in electronic design automation of integrated circuits. He served as Department Chair from 1968 to 1972, then as Dean of the College of Engineering from 1973 to 1980 he was instrumental in establishing the college as a leader in engineering education. He will be missed by all who knew him well. His family would like to arrange a memorial on campus in September. More information will be provided when it becomes available.
EECS graduate student Varun Jog (advisor Prof. Venkat Anantharam and co-author of the paper) is a winner of the 2015 IEEE Jack Keil Wolf ISIT Student Paper Award for the paper " On the Geometry of Convex Typical Sets" that was presented at the 2015 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory. This award is given to up to 3 outstanding papers for which a student is the principal author and presenter.
Christos Papadimitriou has received a honorary doctorate degree from Université Paris-Dauphine. Dauphine has always been an innovative institution for both research and education, and is recognized as one of the premier European universities.
An article featured in Bloomberg Business titled “ Five of the Best Computer Science Classes in the U.S” has named EECS CS 61A in the top 5. The number of college graduates who got degrees in computer science in 2011 was 2,000% higher than it was in 1970 according to the U.S. Dept. of Education. This course is taught by Prof. John De Nero. A notable alumni of this program is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, ’86.
EECS “ Beauty and Joy of Computing” class has just been endorsed by NSF (National Science Foundation), College Board and code.org as an AP CS Principles course. There are many types of this non-majors course, and to be chosen as the endorsed few is an honor. Created in 2009 by Profs. Dan Garcia and Brian Harvey, it is now the first introductory computing course at UC Berkeley to have more women than men in it. More>>
Joseph Cheng (postdoc at Stanford and Dr. Shreyas Vasanawala is the clinical PI for this work), in collaboration with Prof. Michael Lustig, has been awarded the 2015 ISMRM (International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine) W.S Moore Young Investigator Award for Clinical Research for the paper "Free-breathing pediatric MRI with nonrigid motion correction and acceleration". Prof. Lustig has been collaborating with Dr. Cheng for over 6 years on this paper, other authors are Tao Zhang, Nichanan Ruangwattanapaisarn, Marcus T. Alley, Martin Uecker, John M. Pauly and Shreyas S. Vasanawala. Martin Uecker, a research associate in Prof. Lustig’s group has been a major contributor by developing the BART (Berkeley advanced reconstruction toolbox) that is the reconstruction engine for this work, which is used clinically at Lucile Packard Children's hospital. This award is the ISMRM’s equivalent of best paper award and was announced at the 2015 conference in Toronto, Canada.
Pieter Abbeel and Michael Lustig are two of five UC Berkeley faculty members selected as 2014-2015 Bakar Fellows. Launched in 2012, the Bakar Fellows Program supports innovative research by early career faculty at UC Berkeley with a special focus on projects that hold commercial promise. Prof. Abbeel’s current research helps to program robots to deal with three big challenges in navigating complex tasks: translatable perception, environmental variability and uncertainty. Prof. Lustig’s work in compressed sensing speeds up magnetic resonance imaging by reducing the scan time and enabling dynamic imaging at a higher frame rate and resolution than conventional MRI. More>>
Stuart Russell is featured in a Wired Magazine article titled “ This Artificial Intelligence Pioneer Has a Few Concerns”. After a long time contemplating the power and perils of artificial intelligence, in January, 2015 Prof. Russell drafted and signed an open letter calling for researchers to look beyond the goal of merely making artificial intelligence more powerful. Since then, thousands of people have signed the letter, including leading AI researchers at Google, Facebook, Microsoft as well as top computer scientists, physicists and philosophers around the world.
Research led by Profs. Pieter Abbeel and Trevor Darrell with graduate students Sergey Levine and Chelsea Finn are featured in a NY Times article titled “ New Approach Trains Robots to Match Human Dexterity and Speed”. Their new approach to machine-learning includes a powerful artificial intelligence technique known as “deep-learning”. They have found this can be used to improve the actions of robots working in the physical world on tasks that require both machine vision and touch. Learning from both visual and sensory information connected directly to the motion controller software of the robot achieves a significant advance in speed and accuracy of learning.
The 2015 EECS+CoE Undergraduate Research Symposium Poster Session was held on May 7 in the Wozniak lounge. Undergraduate students (ranging from freshmen to seniors) presented their research on a wide range of projects across the EECS department and the College of Engineering. This event provides undergraduates with a forum to share their work and for the department and college to develop an undergraduate research community. EECS and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) sponsored lunch for the event, and Microsoft Research donated two Xbox Ones for the raffle. Photos from the event can be viewed at 2015 EECS Undergrad Research Symposium.
It is with much sadness to announce Prof. Emeritus Martin Graham passed away on Tuesday, March 12, 2015. Prof. Graham received his Ph.D. from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1952 and began his academic career at Rice University in 1957. He left Rice in 1966 and was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley that same year. He served as Associate Director of the Computer Center from 1966 to 1968, and Chair of the Computer Science Department from 1970 to 1972. He also served as Secretary of the Academic Senate from 1978 to 1980. He retired from teaching in 1993, but continued his dedication to EECS with acts of kindness and devotion. He will be missed by all.
BERKE1337, our competitive cyberdefense team (made up of 6 undergrads and 2 grad students) took 2nd place in last week's 2015 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Championship sponsored by Raytheon. This is the nation’s most prestigious collegiate data defense competition. 200 teams competed in 10 regional events and winners of each regional competed in the championship in San Antonio, TX. The team from the University of Central Florida won first place.
Stuart Russell and Pieter Abbeel will be featured in the first segment of the PBS NewsHour series about artificial intelligence, written and produced by Joann Elgart Jennings starting Friday evening, May 8. This episode focuses on big picture issues related to AI and can be viewed at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/smart-todays-artificial-intelligence/. A second story, looking at some current commercial applications of AI will most likely air on Monday evening. A third story about the economic implications of AI will be scheduled to air next Friday.
EECS and BSAC postdoctoral fellow Dr. Tae Joon Seok (research advisor Prof. Ming C. Wu) received the first Tingye Li Innovation Prize for his work on large-scale silicon photonic switch. This prize is presented to a young professional who has demonstrated innovative ideas in their research presented in the Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) Conference or the CLEO Conference.
EECS alumnus Wenchao Li (advisor Prof. Sanjit Seshia) has been selected to receive the 2015 SIGDA Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation Award. This award is presented every year "in recognition of an outstanding PhD dissertation that makes the most substantial contribution to the theory and/or application in the field of electronic design automation".
Josephine Williamson, Director of Administrative Services and Christopher Hunn, Associate Director of Undergraduate Matters have been selected to receive the Berkeley Staff Assembly's Excellence in Management award for “inspiring their staff to excellence”. The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 14, from 2-4 p.m., in the Krutch Theater at the Clark Kerr Campus.
EECS alumni Matei Zaharia (advisor Profs. Scott Shenker & Ion Stoica) and John Duchi (advisor Prof. Michael Jordan) have won ACM (Assoc. for Computing Machinery) dissertation awards. Matei won the 2014 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for his thesis “An Architecture for Fast and General Data Processing on Large Clusters”, and fellow AMPLab alum John Duchi won Honorable Mention for his thesis “Multiple Optimality Guarantees in Statistical Learning”. Matei and John are now faculty members at MIT and Stanford, respectively.
Jitendra Malik has been elected as a member to the National Academy of Sciences. Members are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.
EECS graduate student Sam Coogan (advisor Prof. Murat Arcak) has won the best student paper award at the Hybrid Systems Computation and Control (HSCC) conference for the paper "Efficient Finite Abstraction of Mixed Monotone Systems” by S. Coogan and M. Arcak.
Connie Chang-Hasnain has been selected to receive the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ) Medal. UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations whose purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture. This medal recognizes the tremendous benefits that stem from progress in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnologies. Prof. Chang-Hasnain is honored for her work in the development of nanoscience and nanotechnologies.
Ruzena Bajcsy, who received the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science will be part of the “ Women in Science Showcase: A Story Collider Event”. This intimate, story-telling event gives a glimpse into the minds of some of science’s most visionary women featuring current and past Franklin Institute Award medalists. This event will be held Tuesday, April 21 at The Franklin Institute Awards Program in Philadelphia, PA.
EECS graduate students Behnam Behroozpourand Phillip Sandborn have been chosen one of 8 winning teams of the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. This fellowship was created with the belief that research and development is the key to harnessing the power of imagination and to discovering new possibilities. The goal is to enable students to pursue their futuristic innovative ideas. Behnam is a student in the SWARM Lab.More>>
Bin Yu has been named the 2016 IMS (Institute of Mathematical Statistics) Rietz Lecturer. The Rietz Lecturer is chosen every three years by the IMS Committee on Special Lectures. It is one of the highest academic honors bestowed by the IMS, a member organization which fosters the development and dissemination of the theory and applications of statistics and probability. In 2011, Prof. Michael Jordan delivered a Neyman Lecture, which is also one of the 5 IMS Special Lectures. Prof. Yu will give her lecture July 11-15, 2016 at the World Congress of Probability and Statistics in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
James Demmel has been selected to receive the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award. This award honors specific theoretical accomplishments that have had a significant and demonstrable effect on the practice of computing. Prof. Demmel is receiving this award for his work on numerical linear algebra libraries, including LAPACK (Linear Algebra Package), a standard software library that forms part of the standard mathematical libraries for many vendors. The software and standards he developed enable users to transition their computer programs to new high-performance computers without resorting to basic building blocks.
Sylvia Ratnasamy has been selected to receive the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)Grace Murray Hopper Award. This award is given to an outstanding computer professional selected on the basis of a single recent major technical or service contribution. Prof. Ratnasamy is recognized for her contributions to the first efficient design for distributed hash tables (DHT), a critical element in large-scale distributed and peer-to-peer computing systems. Her innovative design and implementation of networked systems enables a data object in a network to be located quickly without requiring a central registry.
A new documentary film titled “ CODE: Debugging the gender gap” is premiering in NY next week. With 63% of college entrants female, why are on 18% majoring in computer science? And with Black and Latino enrollment in four-year colleges at an all-time high, why are less than 2% majoring in computer science? This documentary addresses the digital divide in the tech industry regarding gender and ethnicity. Prof. Dan Garcia was a key consultant for the producers. The film debuts April 19th at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
EECS postdoctoral fellow Dr. Wei Gao (research advisor Prof. Ali Javey) has been chosen as one of the 2015 ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry Young Investigator Awardees. This award honors talented young inorganic chemists, and provides a high-profile forum for them to present their research results. The DIC will provide a $1000 honorarium for each speaker and a plaque to commemorate her/his participation in the event.
EECS staff member Tiffany Reardon (Associate Director for EECS Diversity and Achievement) has been selected to receive the 2015 Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award. This is the highest honor bestowed upon staff by the Chancellor, in recognition of individuals and teams who, in addition to performing all their normal job duties with excellence, also demonstrate exceptional initiative in contributing to the UC Berkeley campus community. Tiffany has worked collaboratively across EECS to foster an inclusive and supportive community for students and staff, and has been a major factor in our successful efforts to increase student diversity in our undergraduate and graduate programs.
EECS Professor Emeritus Paul Gray (Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Emeritus) has been inducted into the Silicon Valley Hall of Fame. The Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame Award recognizes engineers, technology leaders, and scientists within the Silicon Valley region who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and have made significant contributions to Silicon Valley and the Greater Bay Area communities. Other EECS recipients of this honor include Dave Patterson, Lotfi Zadeh, Ernest Kuh and Dave Hodges.
Google has selected the UC Berkeley EECS department as one of six recipients of its new Computer Science Capacity Award, which provides generous support for expanding undergraduate computer science education. Profs. Armando Fox, Björn Hartmann, and Eric Paulos are leading an effort to increase the capacity of design intensive CS courses and Profs. John DeNero and Dan Garcia are leading a broad effort to expand support for students with limited prior programming experience. Enrollment in the first course for majors, CS 61A, increased 2.3 times from 530 students in Fall 2011 to a record 1,230 students in Fall 2014. The number of women and underrepresented minority CS & EECS majors has doubled in three years. Google's award will support continued growth in upper division project courses and help expand programs for students with limited prior programming experience.
Dr. Sheila Humphreys (EECS Director Emerita of Diversity) has been named recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). This award recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next generation of innovators and developing a science and engineering workforce that reflects the diverse talent of America. Sheila is being recognized for her work which "improved the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented groups in UC Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences" and will receive her award at a White House ceremony later this year. One of Sheila's former mentees, EECS alumnus Gary May (now Dean of the College of Engineering at GeorgiaTech) also has been named among the individuals who are receiving this award, for increasing the participation of minorities in science and engineering.
EECS Professor Emeritus Michael Stonebraker has been named recipient of the 2014 ACM A. M. Turing Award. The ACM Turing Award is widely considered the “Nobel Prize of Computing” and is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing. Prof. Stonebraker is receiving this honor for fundamental contributions to the concepts and practices underlying modern database systems. Currently an adjunct professor at MIT, Prof. Stonebraker taught for 29 years in EECS where he and a team of researchers developed INGRES, an open-source SQL relational database management system intended to support large commercial and government applications. Ingres spawned a number of commercial database applications, including Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, NonStop SQL and a number of others. More>>
EECS graduate student Chelsea Finn (faculty advisors Pieter Abbeel and Trevor Darrell) has been chosen to receive the IEEE-HKN Outstanding Student Award. This award recognizes outstanding scholastic excellence and high moral character, coupled with demonstrated exemplary service to classmates, university, community and country. Chelsea was nominated by faculty at MIT where she completed her undergraduate work. Chelsea’s research interests are in computer vision and reinforcement learning for robotics, essentially helping robots learn to see and operate in the real world.
The work of Michel Maharbiz’ research group in conjuction with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is featured in a UC Berkeley News Center article titled “ Cyborg beetle research allows free-flight study of insects”. By strapping tiny computers and wireless radios onto the backs of giant flower beetles and recording neuromuscular data as the bugs flew untethered, scientists determined that a muscle known for controlling the folding of wings was also critical to steering. The researchers then used that information to improve the precision of the beetles’ remote-controlled turns.
Two EECS alumni have been chosen to receive distinguished alumni awards by the Cal Alumni Association (CAA). Steve Wozniak, (B.S. EE, ‘86) has been named 2015 Alumnus of the Year. He helped shape the computing industry with the design of Apple’s first line of products, co-founding Apple Computer Inc. with Steve Jobs. In 1987, Wozniak founded a new venture, CL 9, which developed and brought to market the first programmable universal remote control, and in 2001, he started Wheels of Zeus (WoZ) to create wireless GPS technology. A Builder of Berkeley, Wozniak has contributed in excess of $1 million to the University over the past 25 years, making a significant investment in technology and innovation at UC Berkeley. Yoky Matsuoka, (B.S. EECS ‘93) has been honored for Excellence in Achievement. After receiving her Ph.D. from MIT in EECS, she became a professor at Carnegie Mellon and later the University of Washington. In 2009 she joined Google [x] as one of 3 founding members, then accepted a position at Nest as V.P. of technology. Currently Yoky is V.P. of Technology and Analytics at Twitter. More>>
The research work of Connie Chang-Hasnain was featured in an article in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) online journal titled “ New film changes colors when you stretch it”. Technology researchers often look to nature for solutions to challenges they face. Studying the way chameleons change the color of their skin, Prof. Chang-Hasnain’s research group has developed an ultra-thin film that changes color when pulled or twisted. Future applications could include a new class of energy-efficient full-color displays or enabling the films to work as sensors, revealing structural changes in bridges, buildings and even the wings of an aircraft where shifting colors could signal dangerous wear and tear.
Undergraduate EECS student Sahaana Suri was named a finalist for this year's Computing Research Association (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award. This award recognizes undergraduate students in North American universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research. Sahaana was selected for her contributions to Professor Anant Sahai's research into understanding how to make a wireless protocol for ultra-reliable communication at very low latencies in the service of high-performance Internet Of Things.
Vern Paxson has been selected to receive the IEEE Internet Award. This award recognizes exceptional contributions to the advancement of Internet technology for network architecture, mobility, and/or end-use applications. Prof. Paxson is receiving this award for seminal contributions to the field of Internet measurement, including security and network data analysis, and for distinguished leadership in and service to the Internet community by providing open-access data and tools.
Vivek Subramanian has been selected to receive the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award. This award recognizes outstanding early to mid-career contributions to technologies holding the promise of innovative applications. Prof. Subramanian is receiving this award for contributions to nano-materials, devices, circuits, and CAD, enabling low-power and low-cost electronics.
Dan Garcia and Steve Wozniak gave presentations at TEDxBerkeley, a gathering of world-leading thinkers, makers and doers at UC Berkeley discussing “Wisdom.Compassion.Connection”. TED is a nonprofit organization that started 25 years ago and is devoted to <i>Ideas Worth Spreading</i>. Talks are made available for free at TED.com.
Trevor Darrell is in an interview titled “ Deep Learning” on the BBC World Service’s The Forum. Prof. Darrell research focuses on computer vision and advances in the use of Deep Learning algorithms in robots and drones. He and his team develop algorithms for large-scale perceptual learning, including object and activity recognition and detection, for a variety of applications including multimodal interaction with robots and mobile devices.
Avideh Zakhor’s research on 3-D modeling through infra-red imaging was featured in Voice of America titled, “ New Tool Maps Buildings' Energy Efficiency”. Voice of America is the official external broadcast institution of the U.S. federal government. While participating at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation summit Prof. Zakhor was visited by journalist George Putic, science and technology reporter for Voice of America.
Professors Emeriti Andrew Neureuther and William Oldham were honored with a Special Award for Career-Long Contributions to the Art and Science of Lithography at the 40th anniversary of the SPIE Advanced Lithography Symposium. Particular attention was paid to papers published by the two in 1979 and 1980 introducing the SAMPLE process simulator, calling the work "a defining moment, when lithography moved from art to become science." More>>
Ana Arias and Laura Waller have been selected for the 2014-15 Bakar Fellows Program. This program supports innovative research by early career faculty at UC Berkeley that holds commercial promise and is designed to build a strong network that assists researchers in introducing their discoveries to the market. Prof. Arias’ research focuses on customizing hardware for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Prof. Waller’s project focuses on developing new methods of quantitative phase imaging, for applications in biological microscopy and semiconductor lithography.
Several women affiliated with UC Berkeley are named in the Businessinsider.com list of “ 54 women who rocked the tech world”. Included on the list are Professors Ruzena Bajcsy and Susan Graham, Valerie Taylor (Ph.D. in EECS), Shafrira Goldwasser (M.S. and Ph.D. in CS), Deborah Estrin (B.S., UCB) and Barbara Liskov (B.A. in Math from UCB) and are widely recognized for their contributions to the field of computing.
It is with profound regret that we mark the passing of Professor Gaetano Borriello, a distinguished alumnus of the UC Berkeley EECS Department, died of colon cancer on February 1, 2015. Prof. Borriello was Randy Katz’ first Ph.D. student, graduating in 1988 and immediately becoming a faculty member at the University of Washington, where he was the Jerre D. Noe Chair of CSE. His career began in the areas of integrated circuits for networking, automatic synthesis of digital circuits, reconfigurable hardware, and embedded systems development tools. In 2001, he took a two year leave from UW to found Intel Research Laboratory in Seattle. As Director of Intel Research Seattle, he set in motion projects in elder care (sensor-rich homes and wearable devices)and in location-aware computing using Wi-Fi to enhance indoor location sensing, now used by Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others. More recently, he was directing his efforts toward applying mobile technologies to the problems of public health and development in low-resource settings. His group's open-source mobile data collection tools, Open Data Kit, are in use on six continents in programs ranging across public health, documentation of human rights violations, and environmental monitoring. The University of Washington has established an endowed fellowship for students whose work is focused on exploring how technology can improve the lives of underserved populations: the Gaetano Borriello Endowed Fellowship for Change.
Ali Javey has been selected as one of two recipients of the Materials Research Society (MRS) Outstanding Young Investigator Award. This award recognizes exceptional, interdisciplinary scientific work in the field of materials science by a young scientist or engineer who also shows excellent promise as a developing leader in the materials research community. Prof. Javey was chosen from a large group of extraordinary nominees “for innovative contributions in integrating nanomaterials into device applications.”
Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli traveled to University College Cork in Ireland to help UCC celebrate its own special anniversary, the bicentenary of George Boole (1815-64) first professor of mathematics at UCC and forefather of the information age. Prof. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli gave the George Boole 200 Inaugural Lectures with Prof. Muffy Calder from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. More>>
Benjamin Recht has been named the 2015 recipient of the National Academy of Sciences William O. Baker Award in the field of statistics and machine learning. This award is given to "recognize innovative young scientists and to encourage research likely to lead toward new capabilities for human benefit." Prof. Recht is receiving this award for his significant contributions to the field of data science, an area of research that combines statistics (the analysis of large amounts of numerical data), computer science, and mathematics. More>>
EECS alumnus Jyuo-Min Shyu, Ph.D. ’88 (advisor Prof. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli) has been appointed the Minister of Science and Technology in Taiwan. Dr. Shyu was formerly president of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan. More>>
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