Campus Reopening Notice

Starting June 16th, vaccinated EECS faculty, staff, and students can voluntarily return to their offices, labs and other research spaces in Cory and Soda Halls if they follow the procedures outlined in the EECS Safety Manual.  Building restrictions for non-affiliated collaborators, event attendees, and visitors will continue but be loosened over time. Cory and Soda Halls will open during the first week in August.  We are not hosting events or activities until we receive more clarity about regulatory requirements and are able to resume full operations. Most employees will return to campus on July 12th, and in-person instruction will resume for the Fall semester on August 25th, unless otherwise specified by campus. Please continue to check the University Coronavirus Updates and Resources for latest information.

Cloud startup Databricks raises $1 billion in Series G funding

Databricks, a cloud startup founded by CS Adjunct Assistant Prof. Ali Ghodsi, CS Prof. Scott Shenker, CS Prof. Ion Stoica, and alumni Andrew Konwinski (M.S. '09/Ph.D. 12, advisor: Randy Katz), Reynold Xin (Ph.D. '13, advisor: Ion Stoica), Patrick Wendell (M.S. '13, advisor: Ion Stoica), and Matei Zaharia (Ph.D. '13, advisors: Scott Shenker & Ion Stoica), has received $1 billion in a Series G funding round.  Franklin Templeton led the round and now values the company at $28 billion.  Amazon Web Services, CapitalG, the growth equity arm of Google parent Alphabet, and Salesforce Ventures are backing Databricks for the first time, while Microsoft joins a group of existing investors including BlackRock, Coatue, T. Rowe Price and Tiger Global.  Ghodsi, who is CEO of the company, says Databricks plans to use the funds to accelerate its international presence. “This lets us really hit the gas and go aggressive in these big markets. It’s almost like starting the company all over again,” he says.  Databricks grew out of the AMPLab project and is built on top of Apache Spark, an open-source analytics tool developed at Berkeley.  The company provides data analytics and AI tools to businesses.  It has grown more than 75% year-over-year, with the majority of its revenue coming from enterprises like Comcast, Credit Suisse, Starbucks and T-Mobile, who use it as a "data lake house"--a place to store structured and unstructured data, then layer business intelligence or machine-learning tools easily on top.

Laura Waller named AIMBE Fellow

EE Prof. Laura Waller has been elected a Fellow of The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).  AIMBE Fellows represent the top 2 percent of the most accomplished academic, industrial, clinical and governmental leaders in the fields of medical and biological engineering in the country.  Waller was cited “for pioneering contributions to computational microscopy methods enabling fast, high-content and 3D phase microscopy of biological samples or neural activity.”  AIMBE's mission is to recognize excellence in, and advocate for, the fields of medical and biological engineering in order to advance society.

Rikky Muller wins 2021 IEEE SSCS New Frontier Award

EE Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has won the 2021 the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (SCSS) New Frontier Award. This award recognizes and honors SSCS members in their early career who are exploring innovative and visionary technical work within the field of solid-state circuits. The award aims to emphasize pioneering developments that are at the frontiers of IC design or possess an imminent potential to expand the field through new categories of circuit technologies, system design, and/or emerging applications.  Muller is designing and building a high-speed holographic projector that can stream 3D light into the brain at neural speeds, many times faster than current projectors, and so manipulate and test thousands of optogenetically-controlled neurons with pinpoint accuracy.

Alessandro Chiesa named 2021 Sloan Research Fellow

EECS Assistant Prof. Alessandro Chiesa has been selected as a 2021 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Computer Science.  Awarded annually since 1955, the Sloan fellowships honor "the most promising scientific researchers working today...extraordinary U.S. and Canadian researchers whose creativity, innovation, and research accomplishments make them stand out as the next generation of scientific leaders."  Chiesa conducts research in the areas of complexity theory, cryptography, and security, focusing on the theoretical foundations and practical implementations of zero knowledge proofs that are short and easy to verify. He is an author of libsnark, a C++ library for zkSNARKs, which is the leading open-source library for succinct zero knowledge proofs. He is also a co-inventor of Zerocash, a new protocol that provides a privacy-preserving version of a cryptocurrency, and a co-founder of Zcash, a digital currency with strong privacy features.  Sloan Fellows receive $75,000, which may be spent over a two-year term on any expense supportive of their research.

Shafi Goldwasser wins L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award

CS alumna and Prof. Shafi Goldwasser (Ph.D. '84, advisor: Manuel Blum) has won the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Award in the field of Computer Science. The award is one of five bestowed on International Day for Women and Girls in Science to honor five women researchers around the world who have made contributions to the fields of astrophysics, mathematics, chemistry and informatics.  Goldwasser, who is currently the Director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, was recognized "for her pioneering and fundamental work in computer science and cryptography, essential for secure communication over the internet as well as for shared computation on private data. Her research has a significant impact on our understanding of large classes of problems for which computers cannot efficiently find even approximate solutions."  The awards are part of the 23rd International Prize for Women in Science Awards.

Laura Waller wins 2021 OSA Adolph Lomb Medal

EE Prof. Laura Waller has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Optical Society of America (OSA) Adolph Lomb Medal.  The Adolph Lomb Medal recognizes a person who has made a noteworthy contribution to optics at an early career stage.  Waller, who is recognized as a visionary in the field of computational imaging, is being honored "for important contributions to the advancement of computational microscopy and its applications."  Shis is a pioneer in phase retrieval from intensity measurements, and has made advancements in Fourier ptychography, 3D imaging in scattering media and in imaging using a diffuser. In the past four years, Waller has generated ~$6M in research funding and published 27 journal papers and 6 patent applications. Her research has been recognized through over 100 invited talks, and she has contributed to the research community by serving on 44 conference committees (14 as chair) and as Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Computational Imaging.

David Patterson wins Frontiers of Knowledge Award

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson has won the 13th BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Information and Communication Technologies.  He shares the award with John Hennessy of Stanford University "for taking computer architecture, the discipline behind the central processor or 'brain' of every computer system, and launching it as a new scientific area."  The citation says that Patterson and Hennessy "are synonymous with the inception and formalization of this field.  Before their work, the design of computers – and in particular the measurement of computer performance – was more of an art than a science, and practitioners lacked a set of repeatable principles to conceptualize and evaluate computer designs. Patterson and Hennessy provided, for the first time, a conceptual framework that gave the field a grounded approach towards measuring a computer’s performance, energy efficiency, and complexity.”  They jointly created RISC, an architecture that underpins the design of central processors and is at the heart of virtually every data center server, desktop, laptop, smartphone, and computer embedded in an Internet of Things device.  Their landmark textbook, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, was first published in 1989 and is still considered “the bible” of computer architecture.  The pair won the ACM A.M. Turing Award for their achievements in 2017.  Patterson participated in a Frontiers of Knowledge Award interview video.

Rediet Abebe and Jelani Nelson to participate in U-M Africa Week

CS Prof. Jelani Nelson and Assistant Prof. Rediet Abebe will be participating on a panel about the "Role of Computing in Africa's Economic Future" at the University of Michigan Africa Week conference on Tuesday, February 16th, from 9:30 am to 10:45 (EST).  U-M Africa Week brings together "thought leaders in higher education, industry, and government for a series of discussions on the key issues and opportunities that will shape Africa in the coming decades."  Nelson is a member of the UC Berkeley Theory Group and is the founder and co-organizer of AddisCoder, a free intensive 4-week summer program which introduces Ethiopian high schoolers to programming and algorithms.  Abebe studies artificial intelligence and algorithms, with a focus on equity and justice concerns.  She is co-founder and co-organizer of the multi-institutional, interdisciplinary research initiative Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG).  The conference will run from February 15 to 19, 2021.

Kam Lau wins IEEE Microwave Pioneer Award

EE Prof. Kam Lau has won the 2021 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Microwave Theory & Techniques Society (MTT-S) Microwave Power Award.  This award recognizes an individual or a small team who have made outstanding pioneering technical contributions that advance microwave theory and techniques, which are described in an archival paper published at least 20 years prior to the year of the award.  Lau was cited for “pioneering developments and commercialization of RF over fiber devices, systems and applications which launched the microwave photonics industry.”   He is known for developing an ultra-stable radio frequency (RF) over fiber system for ultra-precise, long-distance synchronization of antennas, which has enabled both ground-based communication networks and spaceborne planetary radar imaging systems.

Fung Feature: Liaowang Zou

Liaowang (Zoey) Zou, an EECS Master of Engineering (MEng) candidate with a concentration in Data Science and Systems, is the subject of a Coleman Fung Institute interview.  Zou, who grew up in China, describes how she became interested in STEM as a child, what drove her to EECS, her experience working as a consultant for a tech company after graduating from Duke, why she decided to come back to school, and her capstone project on detecting incipient disease using artificial intelligence (AI) models.