EECS News Spring 2012

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Pieter Abbeel won the Dick Volz Award, which goes to the author of the best U.S. Ph.D. thesis in Robotics and Automation. The decision is made on quality and impact four years after graduation. This award was named after Dick Volz in honor of his research, and his community engagement. One of the main contributions of Pieter's Ph.D. work was a new line of machine learning algorithms that enable robots to learn from demonstrations.
August 8
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Babak Ayazifar is the 2012 recipient of the IEEE Mac Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award. This award is based on distinction in teaching, including teaching performance, development of new teaching methods, and curricular innovation. Prof. Ayazifar is receiving the award “for creative, lively, challenging, and caring teaching that has sparked broad excitement and engagement among his students, even in the largest core courses."
July 25
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Software developed to read voter intent from ballots created by David Wagner’s research group was featured in an ARS Technica article titled “Saving throw: Securing democracy with stats, spreadsheets, and 10-sided dice”. UC Berkeley statistics professor Philip Stark unleashed both science and technology upon a recent California election to answer a very simple question—had the vote counting produced the proper result? More>>
July 25
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EdX, the online learning initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and launched in May, announced today the addition of UC Berkeley to its platform. In this partnership, negotiated by Chancellor Birgeneau with the leadership of MIT and Harvard, Berkeley will have a leadership role in edX. EECS has had a central role in making it happen and will be the first to showcase two courses on edX in fall: AI (taught by Pieter Abbeel & Dan Klein) and Software Engineering (taught by Armando Fox & Dave Patterson).
NY Times article
UC NewsCenter article
More>>
July 24
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EECS graduate student Pierluigi Nuzzo (faculty advisor is Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli) has been named recipient of an IBM Ph.D. Fellowship. The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Awards Program is an intensely competitive worldwide program, which honors exceptional Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study. These areas include –among others- electrical engineering and computer sciences, physical sciences and mathematical sciences.
July 24
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EECS undergraduate student Katy Pedelty has been awarded a scholarship by Microsoft Corp. for the 2012-2013 school year. Her interest is in the field of artificial intelligence, including natural language processing, and is an active participant and mentor in women-in-technology programs, including Berkeley’s Women in Science and Engineering residential program.
July 19
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Bjoern Hartmann is the recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) 2012 Faculty Early Career Development Award. This is NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Prof. Hartmann is recognized for his work in "Advancing End-User Programming with Expertise Sharing Tools.
July 12
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David E. Culler is the newly appointed Chair of the EECS Department. From 2008-2010 he served as the Chair of the CS Division, Associate Chair of EECS and CIO for the College of Engineering. Prof. Culler is the world leader in sensor networks, having developed the operating system for them, "Tiny OS", one of the most significant technologies to emerge in recent years, and currently focuses on sustainable energy networks.
July 3
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Tsu-Jae King Liu is the newly appointed Chair of the Electrical Engineering Division and Associate Chair of the EECS Department. Prof. King Liu is a visionary and innovator in the field of semiconductor devices and process technology and the pre-eminent expert worldwide on silicon-germanium thin films and their device applications. She served as Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering from 2008-2012 and is also serving as Faculty Director of the Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory in 2012. She currently holds the Conexant Systems Distinguished Professor appointment.
July 3
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As of July 1st Jeff Bokor will be our new Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. In this position Jeff will have wide oversight of Research Strategy and Support across the College, as well as a vital role in COE’s participation in the development of the new Richmond Campus.
June 28
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Bin Yu has been elected President-Elect of IMS (Inst of Mathematical Statistics). She will serve a three-year term: one year as President-Elect (12-13), one year as President (13-14) and one year as Past President (14-15). The IMS is a leading international professional and scholarly society devoted to the development, dissemination, and application of statistics and probability. More>>
June 27
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Ali Niknejad is the winner of the ASEE Frederick Emmons Terman Award. The Terman Award is bestowed annually upon an outstanding young electrical/computer engineering educator in recognition of the educator's contributions to the profession. Prof. Niknejad is recognized for a variety of seminal contributions to the burgeoning field of radio-frequency integrated circuits.
June 27
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Jose Carmena and Michel Maharbiz have just been named Bakar Fellows. The Bakar Fellows Program supports innovative research by early career faculty at UC Berkeley with a special focus on projects that hold commercial promise. This enhances the efforts of UC Berkeley’s world-class faculty to translate important scientific discoveries into practical solutions in the fields of Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and in multidisciplinary work in these areas. More>>
June 27
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EECS undergraduate student Kylan Nieh is one of 22 Americans chosen to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay kicking off the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in England. Kylan was chosen from a nationwide group of teenagers nominated for their civic leadership in their local community. Ten teenagers, including Kylan, were selected because they represent numerous charities and organizations which have largely contributed to society. More>>
June 18
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EECS graduate student David Hall (whose advisor is Dan Klein) is the recipient of the 2012 Google Fellowship for Natural Language Processing. These awards are presented to exemplary Ph.D. students in computer science and related research areas. These fellowships acknowledge their contributions to their areas of specialty and provide funding for their education and research. Google looks forward to working closely with them as they continue to become leaders in their respective fields.
June 13
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Chenming Hu has been awarded the Honorary Doctorate Award by the National Chiao Tung University on April 24, 2012. The conferment of degree and the shifting of tassel were performed by the university president, Yan-Hwa Wu Lee. After the ceremony, Prof. Hu gave a speech titled “Microelectronics: Into an Extra Dimension” and shared his research experience with the faculty members and students. More>>
May 29
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Qualcomm Research has just announced the winners of the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship 2012, two of the eight winning teams are from Berkeley EECS. This highly competitive fellowship awards teams of two Ph.D. students for their innovative research proposals. This year Qualcomm received 109 submissions from 12 participating US schools. The winning teams are Asif Khan & Chun Yeung (advised by Sayeef Salahuddin & Chenming Hu) and Sameer Agarwal & Aurojit Panda (advised by Ion Stoica). Each winning team receives a $100,000 fellowship to pursue their research ideas, in collaboration with a mentor from Qualcomm Research.
May 18
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Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) announced a $2.2 million gift to support engineering education at UC Berkeley. The gift will be used to transform the traditional introductory Electronic Design Laboratory in EECS into a dynamic learning environment for undergraduate students. In addition to the monetary gift, TI is donating development kits that incorporate a range of devices from its extensive semiconductor portfolio, along with supporting software, to enhance the hands-on learning experience in the classroom. By engaging students early in their engineering education, TI is helping to ignite lifelong ingenuity and passion for tackling the world's challenges with analog and embedded processors. More>>
May 11
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EECS graduate student Sarah Bird (faculty advisors are Krste Asanovic and Dave Patterson) is the recipient of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. Dr. Anita Borg devoted her life to encouraging the presence of women in computing and founded the Institute for Women in Technology in 1997. She passed away in 2003, and the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship was created in 2004 to honor her memory.
May 10
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EECS graduate students Kartik Ganapathi (faculty advisor is Sayeef Salahuddin)and Matthew Spencer (faculty advisor is Elad Alon) have been named recipients of the Intel Ph.D. Fellowship Program. The Intel Ph.D. Fellowship program focuses on research in Intel’s technical areas; Hardware Systems Technology and Design, Software Technology and Design, and Semiconductor Technology and Manufacturing. This is a very prestigious award, and winning students are recognized as being tops in their areas of research.
May 9
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The Simons Foundation, which specializes in science and math research, has chosen UC Berkeley as host for an ambitious new center for computer science. The foundation’s $60 million grant to establish the center, to be called the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at U.C. Berkeley, underscores the growing influence of computer science on the physical and social sciences. Richard Karp is the new director.
NY Times article
UC Berkeley Newscenter article
May 1
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Matthew Spencer has been awarded EEGSA's Someone Special Award for April 2012. This award recognizes students, staff, and faculty members who bring something special to the Berkeley electrical engineering community. Matt was nominated for his effectiveness and willingness to help as a GSI, in addition to his great sense of humor and positive attitude. Matt's research focus is circuits, specifically “making computing systems out of alternative device technology.” He seeks to “use tiny mechanical switches to replace CMOS transistors in hopes of demonstrating lower power computers.
April 20
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Eli Yablonovitch has just been elected to the 2012 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading "thinkers and doers" from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. More>>
April 20
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Charles Kennedy (“Ned”) Birdsall, Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley and a pioneering inventor and educator in microwave tubes and plasma physics, died Tuesday, March 6 2012 at his home in Lafayette, California. He was 86. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, April 29 at 1pm at the Faculty Club, UC Berkeley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to: “The Charles K. (Ned) Birdsall Graduate Research Fund at University Relations, 2080 Addison St. Checks should be made out to the U.C. Berkeley Foundation. More>>
April 19
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A consortium of eleven of the world’s foremost networking companies today became founding sponsors of the Open Networking Research Center (ONRC), a collaborative research effort to explore software-defined networking (SDN) as the new networking paradigm and provide open-source networking tools and platforms. The faculty directors of the ONRC are Scott Shenker (Berkeley) and Nick McKeown (Stanford) The founding sponsors include: CableLabs, Cisco, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Intel, Juniper, NEC, NTT DOCOMO, Texas Instruments and VMware. More>>
April 17
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EECS graduate student Isabelle Stanton (advisor is Satish Rao) has been selected to receive Yahoo! 2012 Key Scientific Challenges Program Award in Web Information Management. This award was created to recognize outstanding graduate student researchers from universities around the globe who have the greatest potential to make significant contributions and become thought leaders in their research fields.
April 9
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The paper, “A case for redundant arrays of inexpensive disks (RAID)”, by David A. Patterson, Garth Gibson, and Randy H. Katz has been selected as one of the winners of the 2012 Jean-Claude Laprie Award in Dependable Computing. This recently established award recognizes outstanding papers published at least 10 years ago that have significantly influenced the theory and/or practice of dependable computing. This groundbreaking paper introduced the concept of RAID which rapidly became the common configuration paradigm for disks at all but the very low end of the server market. Its impact is primarily to industry where RAID was a truly disruptive technology.
April 4
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Michael Jordan has been selected a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). SIAM Fellows are recognized by their peers as distinguished for their contributions to the discipline. Prof Jordan was elected for his contributions to machine learning, bringing to bear all the tools of the mathematical sciences to problems in science and engineering.
April 2
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The paper "Webos: Operating System Services For Wide Area Applications," written by Amin Vahdat, Thomas Anderson, Michael Dahlin, Eshwar Belani, David Culler, Paul Eastham, Chad Yoshikawa has been selected as one of the top papers in the 20 years of High-Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing (HPDC) publications. A special proceedings issue containing this paper will be produced and distributed at HPDC 2012 in Delft, Netherlands.
April 2
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The Algorithms, Machines and People(AMP) Lab has been selected to receive a five-year NSF Expedition award rarely given to individual universities. The director is Michael Franklin, co-principal investigators are Michael Jordan, Scott Shenker and Ion Stoica. AMP Expedition scientists expect to develop powerful new tools to help extract key information from Big Data, a term coined for the dizzying array of measurements, images, audio, video, tweets, texts and more that has grown ever larger, faster and more diverse. The grant, part of NSF’s “Expeditions in Computing” program, was announced today on March 29 at a White House-sponsored event unveiling the Obama Administration’s “Big Data Research and Development Initiative.”
NY Times article
SF Business Times article
UC News Center article
More>>
April 2
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EECS alumni Sanjeev Arora, Ph.D. ’94 (advisor was Umesh Vazirni) is the recipient of the 2011 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences for his innovative approaches to problem solving. Arora's research revolutionized the approach to essentially unsolvable problems that have long bedeviled the computing field, the so-called NP-complete problems. These results have had implications for problems common to cryptography, computational biology, and computer vision, among other fields. More>>
March 29
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A paper by Chintan S.Thakkar, Lingkai Kong, Kwangmo Jung (EE Ph.D. students), Antoine Frappé (visiting post-doctoral scholar in 2008-09) and Prof. Elad Alon titled “A 10Gb/s 45mW Adaptive 60GHz Baseband in 65nm CMOS” has been selected to receive the Best Student Paper Award for the 2011 Symposium on VLSI Circuits held in Kyoto, Japan, June 15-17, 2011. The selection was based upon the quality of the written paper and the presentation. The Symposium on VLSI Circuits is recognized as one of the premiere international conferences in integrated circuit design.
March 23
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Tsu-Jae King Liu is the recipient of the 2012 Intel Outstanding Researcher Award in Nanotechnology. This award was created to recognize truly outstanding contributions by researchers funded by Intel’s Semiconductor Technology Council and associated Strategic Research Sectors (SRS). In making this selection, the Nanotechnology SRS gave careful consideration to the fundamental insights, industrial relevance, technical difficulty, communication and potential student hiring associated with her research.
March 20
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Sayeef Salahuddin has been awarded the IEEE Nanotechnology Council’s Early Career Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made contributions with major impact on the field of nanotechnology. The award will be presented at the Awards Banquet at the annual IEEE Conference on Nanotechnology in Birmingham, United Kingdom in August.
March 19
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Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, member of the Cadence Board of Directors and a co-founder of the company, has been honored with the prestigious EDAA Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the state of the art in electronic design, electronic design automation and testing of electronic systems. The award acknowledges the many innovative contributions Prof. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli has made that impact the way electronic systems are designed today. More>>
March 14
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WICSE won a $750 grant from NCWIT Academic Alliance for 2012. NCWIT Academic Alliance has partnered with Symantec to offer the grant. This grant will help WICSE expand it's Big Sister program which focuses on the retention of women in EECS by pairing up up each incoming woman with an existing graduate woman to provide her a source of mentorship. In 2012, with the help of the seed fund, WICSE is redefining the Big Sister program by arranging for informal pair meetings between the mentor and mentee at lunches and coffee hours. At WICSE, we believe that informal settings allow one to express themselves more naturally and candidly, thus serving as a platform for fruitful discussions.
March 14
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Jasmine Berry, NSF REU SUPERB student in 2011, presented her poster from summer research at the "Emerging Researchers National Conference," Atlanta, Georgia on February 24. Her poster "Ethernet Controller for Host Communication with Energy-Efficient Microprocessor," placed first in the Technology and Engineering category. Her faculty mentor was Prof. Bora Nikolic The conference brings together undergraduate and graduate student researchers and is sponsored by NSF and American Association for the Advancement of Science.
March 13
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Two EECS alumni, Scott Aaronson of MIT (advisor Prof. Umesh Vazirani) and Robert Wood of Harvard (advisor Prof. Ron Fearing) are recipients of the Alan T. Waterman Award. The annual National Science Foundation award recognizes an outstanding researcher under the age of 35 in any field of science or engineering. This is the first time in the 37-year history of the award that two individuals are honored. Both Aaronson and Wood will receive $1 million grants over five years to further their research. More>>
March 13
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Susan Graham has been selected as the 2012 winner of the Computing Research Association (CRA) Distinguished Service Award. She was chosen in recognition of the extraordinary contributions that she has made over more than three decades of dedicated and selfless service and leadership. More>>
March 12
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Mike He has been awarded EEGSA's Someone Special Award for March 2012. This award recognizes students, staff, and faculty members who bring something special to the Berkeley electrical engineering community. Mike was nominated for his all-around great attitude and his contributions to the Cory 550 renovation efforts. His research interests include working with Stirling engines to generate electricity from solar thermal energy as well as energy storage.
March 6
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Prof. Jose Carmena's group research on brain-machine interfaces (BMI) was featured in a UC Berkeley News Center article titled " Going mental: Study highlights brain's flexibility, gives hope for natural-feeling neuroprosthetics." Their study shows that the same brain circuits employed in the learning of motor skills, such as riding a bike or driving a car, can be used to master purely mental tasks, even arbitrary ones. The paper was published in the journal Nature. More>>
March 4
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Roberto Pieraccini has been named new director of the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI). A renowned leader in science and technology, he brings to ICSI expertise in both academic and corporate research as well as enterprise business leadership. Roberto Pieraccini succeeds Prof. Nelson Morgan, who served as director for 13 years and helped found ICSI's Computer Speech Group in 1988. Prof. Morgan will now serve as Deputy Director and continue to lead the Speech Group. More>>
February 29
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Sylvia Ratnasamy has been named a 2012 Sloan Research Fellow from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This is a prestigious award given annually to promising early-career scientists and researchers. Prof. Ratnasamy’s research focuses on operating systems and computer networking. She is also featured in a UC Berkeley NewsCenter interview titled, “ Q&A: Sylvia Ratnasamy on helping students build their own networks”. More>>
February 16
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Scott Shenker was elected as a member to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Members of the NAE are a very select group who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education. Prof. Shenker was elected for his contributions to Internet design and architecture. More>>
February 9
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EE alumni Charles Shank, Ph.D. ‘69 and Sehat Sutardja, Ph.D. ’88 have been named the EE Distinguished Alumni Award winners for 2012. Charles Shank retired from UC after serving as a faculty member in three departments: Physics, Chemistry, and EECS. He was also the Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab from 1989 to 2004. During his tenure, he oversaw tremendous scientific growth and achievement, expanding programs in astrophysics, computing, genomics, and nanoscience. Sehat Sutardja is currently the CEO, chairman and co-founder of the Marvell Technology Group, a fabless semiconductor company. He holds more than 150 patents and in 2006 was recognized as the Inventor of the Year by the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association.
January 31
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EECS grad student Neil Zhenqiang Gong, whose advisor is Prof. Dawn Song, had a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA titled “ Evolution of patterns on Conus shells”. Determining the evolution of pigmentation patterns on mollusk seashells—which could aid in the understanding of ancient nervous systems—has proved to be a challenging feat for researchers. Now, through mathematical equations and simulations, U. of Pittsburgh and U C Berkeley researchers have used 19 different species of the predatory sea snail Conus to generate a model of the pigmentation patterns of mollusk shells. Equations and a neural model for the formation of the pigmentation patterns on shell surfaces were developed. With the equations in hand, Zhenquiang Gong, used a computer to simulate the patterns on the shells, hand fitting the parameters to create a basic model for the patterns of a given species. Articles about the paper also appeared in Physorg.com and Science Daily.
January 27
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Jan Rabaey is one of three new honorary doctors at Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering. Founded in 1666, Lund University, located in Sweden, is today one of the largest, oldest and broadest universities in Scandinavia and is consistently ranked among the world's top 100 universities. In 1999 Robert Bordersen received an honorary doctorate from the University of Lund. More>>
January 24
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The EECS Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) has received the Outstanding Chapter Award for 2010 – 2011. This coveted award is a mark of great distinction for a college chapter. Chapters are judged on their activities of service to others, and all chapters with exemplary programs can win. The award plaque will be formally announced and presented at the ECEDHA Annual Meeting Award banquet on March 26.
January 23
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Sayeef Salahuddin has been chosen to receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) 2011 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. This award is one the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education and build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.
January 23
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EECS alumni Gaetano Borriello, Ph.D. ‘88 and Klaus Schauser, Ph.D. ’94 have been named the CS Distinguished Alumni Award winners for 2012. Gaetano Boriello is currently the Jerre D. Noe Chair of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington and Klaus Schauser is currently founder and Chief Strategist at AppFolio and was also the founder and CTO of ExpertCity/CitrixOnline.
January 13

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