News

Barbara Simons: Making Votes Count

2005 CS Distinguished Alumna Barbara Simons (Ph.D. '81) is the subject of a Berkeley Engineering profile celebrating the 150th anniversary of U.C. Berkeley.  Simons, who is a past president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), has been drawing attention to the pitfalls of electronic voting since 2003.  She's a vocal critic of electronic ballots and is board chair of Verified Voting, a non-partisan organization that advocates for reliable and secure voting practices, as well as the author of a book titled “Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?”   She is also a long-time champion for programs to increase diversity in computer science and engineering.

prof. david wagner

Data is "the coin of the realm"

Prof. David Wagner is at the center of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle titled "Data science, the ‘new Latin’ for students, in demand in Silicon Valley."  Data science is one of the fastest-growing fields of study at Berkeley, but the field is in such demand that jobs far outstrip the supply of graduates in the Bay Area.  “Data science is the new Latin for university students,” said Wagner.  At one time, to be a college-educated person, “you had to learn Latin because that was the language of scholarly study,” Wagner said. “Now, data is the coin of the realm.”

Dawn Song leads team to develop trusted AI

CS Prof. Dawn Song and her team are part of the new Center for Trustworthy Machine Learning funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF center, led by Pennsylvania State University and announced today, will focus on developing secure systems in the era of machine learning models. The center will receive $10 million over five years.

Laura Waller and Ming Wu named OSA Fellows

EE Prof. Ming Wu and Associate Prof. Laura Waller have been named Fellows of the Optical Society of America (OSA) class of 2019. OSA Fellows are members who have served with distinction in the advancement of optics and photonics. No more than 10 percent of the total OSA membership may be Fellows at any given time, making each year’s honorees a highly selective group.

Berkeley is #1 university open source contributor

UC Berkeley is the top ranked university in the third annual Octoverse Report list of "Open source contributions made by employees of different organizations," with 2700 contributions.  Berkeley is the fourth ranked organization overall--after Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat.  The Octoverse Report is a roundup of GitHub data across global repositories from the last 12 months.  Four other universities made the top ten:  the University of Washington  (6th place with 1800 contributions), MIT (8th place with 1700), UMich and Stanford (tied 9th with 1600 contributions each) .  

Adnan Shihab-Eldin wins Haas International Award

EECS alumnus Adnan Shihab-Eldin (B.S. '65) has won the 2017 Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award, which honors a Berkeley alumnus/a who is a native, citizen, and resident of another country and who has a distinguished record of service to that country in any field.  Shihab-Eldin is "a visionary leader in the field of energy globally, well respected by energy ministries and heads of state throughout the energy-producing world. He is also widely recognized as a pre-eminent world expert on energy technology, economics, and the environment."  His "contributions have not only helped to facilitate and advance Kuwait’s scientific and innovation ecosystem, but has also strengthened solid foundations for research and development in the wider Middle East region. He has used his expertise to further socioeconomic growth in Kuwait and the Arab Region through scientific and economic research, inspiring a culture of development and innovation."

New controller means fancier footwork for Salto-IP

Salto-IP, UC Berkeley's one-legged jumping robot, has been outfitted with an upgraded controller which improves precision on landing.  The robot is featured in a TechXplore article titled "UC Berkeley team gives jumping robot higher goals than bouncy-bouncy."   It describes a paper presented earlier this month at IROS 2018 in Madrid by Prof. Ronald Fearing and graduate researcher Justin Yim titled "Precision Jumping Limits from Flight-phase Control in Salto-1P."  The researchers have come up with a new control algorithm "that can land Salto-1P's foot at particular spots on the ground like jumping on stepping stones or playing one-leg hopscotch."  

Undergraduates working to create smallest maneuverable satellite to fly into space

EECS undergraduates Aviral Pandey (EE lead), Olivia Hsu (board design/firmware), Kevin Zheng (board design/software/radio) and Malhar Patel (external/software), as well as Travis Brashears (Eng. Physics/EECS minor, tech lead) and Daniel Shen (MechE, software/mechanical) comprise  a team of Berkeley seniors who are creating what they hope will be the smallest maneuverable satellite to fly into space. They plan to launch seven of their "SpinorSats," which weigh less than 10 grams each and are about the size of an Apple Watch, with KickSat aboard a CubeSat Deployer.   With an advanced power management system, radio, and maneuverability system, they hope to push what is possible from cellular technology to eventually build connectivity between large networks of satellites.

Randy Katz reflects on Berkeley's Nobelists

EE Prof. Randy Katz, the current U.C. Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research, reflects on how the use-inspired research of Berkeley Nobel Prize winners exemplifies the importance of that approach to scientific inquiry.   He illustrates the strength of use-inspired research by comparing it to basic (curiosity-driven) and applied (goal-driven) research, defining it as the "search for fundamental knowledge" with selected "questions and methods based on their relevance to real-world issues."  "One of our great aims is to bring together a broad set of the world’s brightest minds to work on the pressing problems of the day," he says.

Urmila Mahadev Solves Quantum Verification Problem

CS postdoctoral researcher Urmila Mahadev (advisor: Umesh Vazirani) has come up with an interactive protocol by which users with no quantum powers of their own can employ cryptography to put a harness on a quantum computer and drive it wherever they want, with the certainty that the quantum computer is following their orders.  Her work, which addressed the question "How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?" was awarded the “best paper” and “best student paper” prizes when it was presented at the Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science this month.  CIT computer scientistThomas Vidick calls her result “one of the most outstanding ideas to have emerged at the interface of quantum computing and theoretical computer science in recent years.”