News

A new understanding of the world through grassroots Data Science education

Vani Mandava, the Director of Data Science at Microsoft Research, has written an article about the innovative course Foundations of Data Science taught by CS Assistant Teaching Prof. John DeNero and Ani Adhikari, a Teaching Professor in the Department of Statistics.  Mandava examines the motives and experiences of the students, and describes the aim of Berkeley’s Data Science Education Program (supported in part by Microsoft) to make data science an integral feature of a liberal education and a core interdisciplinary capacity available to all Berkeley undergraduates.

The search is on for interim dean of new Division of Data Science

Although it is too early to know the candidates, interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ has announced that a member of faculty will be appointed interim dean of the new Division of Data Science at UC Berkeley.   Cathryn Carson, co-chair of the faculty advisory board, said the appointment of an interim dean is an important initial step in advancing the research and education of data science on campus.  CS Prof. David Culler said UC Berkeley has already been developing the foundations of the new field, which lies at the intersection of computer science and statistics.  Culler said the purpose of the new division is not only to distinguish the field with importance but also to integrate data science with all other divisions in the school. He added that the faculty advisory board hopes to include the division in the College of Letters and Sciences as well as the College of Engineering and that the position will give data science “a seat at the table” when deans are discussing on-campus issues.

UC Berkeley is ranked #1 school for coding in the US

According to Business Insider, most college computer science rankings only include factors like the number of research papers published, global reputation, etc., while ignoring practical coding skills. HackerRank, a free coding practice website that allows developers to hone their coding skills by solving challenges, launched a University Rankings Competition to figure out which schools produce the best coders.  Berkeley was ranked #1 in America and #4 internationally out of over 5,000 participants from 126 schools. 

Center for Advancing Women in Technology logo

Center for Advancing Women in Technology launches Technology Pathways Initiative

Center for Advancing Women in Technology (CAWIT) in collaboration with  U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University and San José State University, through $3M in investment from Intel Corporation, KLA-Tencor Foundation, and Salesforce, will launch the Technology Pathways Initiative (TPI), to increase participation of women in CS fields through the development of new interdisciplinary CS degree programs at three pilot campuses in 2017. Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu has been developing the Women In Technology workshop at UC Berkeley.

Expanding Data Science Education

Student Jerry Lin has penned an Op-Ed in the Daily Cal titled "UC Berkeley should expand data science education" in which he describes why he supports the creation of  a College of Computing and Data Sciences, a cross-disciplinary program between EECS and statistics.  "This college would house associated majors that currently do not have an institutional home (such as Cognitive Science) while cross-listing existing courses across various departments into a logical, intuitive map, making it easy for students to navigate the data science landscape in a truly interdisciplinary fashion."  Lin discusses the difficulty non-CS students face when trying to enroll in data science classes vital to their fields of study.  "The interdisciplinary nature of data science demands accessibility," Lin writes, and this new college could be "a vision for the 21st century."

Coleman Fung Institute logo

Fung Institute for Engineering celebrates 5th year anniversary

The Coleman Fung Institute for Engineering celebrated its fifth year anniversary with reflections on how far the institute has grown. Launched in January of 2010, the institute is the hub connecting engineering disciplines with management, data, and social sciences, transforming engineers and scientists into leaders who can take risks and develop technical, social, and economic innovations.  The Fung Institute administers the Master of Engineering program.

Prof. Bjorn Hartmann

Björn Hartmann appointed Director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation (JIDI)

Prof. Björn Hartmann, whose research in Human-Computer Interaction focuses on the creation and evaluation of user interface design tools, end-user programming environments, and crowdsourcing systems, has been appointed Director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation (JIDI). JIDI is UC Berkeley’s interdisciplinary hub for learning and making at the intersection of design and technology, extending broadly across campus, serving as a hub where engineers, artists, and makers of all kinds can gather and collaborate.

HKN holds town hall to address department concerns

EECS honor society Eta Kappa Nu (HKN)  hosted a town hall on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, to discuss concerns created by long waitlists for some EECS classes.  The town hall was attended by EECS Chair Jitendra Malik, CS Chair James Demmel, and EE Chair Jan Rabaey, as well as a variety of faculty, staff, and students in the department.  The meeting was prompted by a dramatic increase in the number of undergraduates taking computer science classes over the past three years which resulted in waitlists of around 2,600 students at the beginning of this semester.   Although generous private donations, which were applied to short term funding for additional GSIs, helped alleviate the worst of the problem by the third week of classes, a longer-term strategy needs to be devised.

Paul Bramsen and Wesley Hsieh

Paul Bramsen and Wesley Hsieh named 2017 Siebel Scholars

EECS graduate students Paul Bramsen and Wesley Hsieh have been selected as Siebel Scholars for 2017. The Siebel Scholars program promotes leadership, academic achievement and “the collaborative search for solutions to the world’s most critical issues." Paul builds data structures and Wesley leverages human intuition and demonstrations to improve robot learning.  Siebel Scholars are recognized as exceptional graduate students in business, computer science, bioengineering and energy science and comes with an award of $35,000.

Christos Papadimitriou wins ABZ Gold Platinum ETH Medal for CS and CS Education

ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) has awarded CS  Prof. Christos Papadimitriou the ABZ Gold Platinum Medal at a ceremony in Switzerland. This Medal is awarded to individuals who have fundamentally contributed to the development of computer science and the practice of computer science education.  Previous recipients include Niklaus Wirth, Donald Knuth, David Harel, and Ronald Rivest.