News

Ken Okuhara named new CTO of Stockton

EECS alumnus Ken Okuhara (B.S. '84) is the new chief technology officer for the city of Stockton, California.  Okuhara started his IT career with the state in 2000, specializing in project management, and served various roles with the state Department of Education, the Office of Technology Services, and the California Department of Technology. His responsibilities with the city will include oversight of app development, the project management office, the city data center and IT networks.

Blockchain’s Energy Web Foundation names Hervé Touati as first CEO

CS alumnus Hervé Touati (Ph.D. '90, advisor: Robert Brayton) has been named the first CEO of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a global nonprofit focused on "unleashing blockchain’s potential to accelerate the transition to a decentralized, democratized, decarbonized, and resilient energy system."  EWF, the world's largest energy blockchain consortium (with a  network of more than 70 affiliates), is building the shared, digital infrastructure—an open-source, scalable blockchain platform—specifically designed for the energy sector’s regulatory, operational, and market needs.  Touati, who comes to the EWF from Shell, is an energy industry veteran with more than two decades of executive-level experience.

Joe Hellerstein on the must-haves of a modern data prep platform

CS Prof. Joseph Hellerstein is the subject of a feature in InsideBigData titled "The Must-Haves of a Modern Data Prep Platform."  Hellerstein is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Trifacta, a company that develops data wrangling software for data exploration and self-service data preparation for analysis.  he discusses how the challenge of data preparation sits squarely between the growth of BI and visualization tools and the specific data needed to fuel them.  Efficient data preparation is key to alleviating new demand from business users. The article offers three key requirements that a data preparation platform should have.  Hellerstein's career in research and industry has focused on data-centric systems and the way they drive computing. Fortune Magazine included him in their list of 50 smartest people in technology , and MIT’s Technology Review magazine included his work on th eir TR10 list of the 10 technologies “most likely to change our world.”

Jun-Yan Zhu wins ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

CS alumnus Jun-Yan Zhu (Ph.D. '17, advisor: Alexei Efros) has won the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Zhu is a pioneer in the use of modern machine learning in computer graphics. His dissertation is arguably the first to systematically attack the problem of natural image synthesis using deep neural networks. As such, his work has already had an enormous impact on the field, with several of his contributions, most notably CycleGAN, becoming widely-used tools not just for researchers in computer graphics and beyond, but also for visual artists.

Constantinos Daskalakis wins Rolf Nevanlinna Prize

CS alumnus Constantinos Daskalakis (Ph.D. '08, advisor: Christos Papadimitriou) has won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize at the International Congress of Mathematicians, one of the highest awards in theoretical computer science.  Daskalakis, who is currently a professor at MIT,  was cited for his work on game theory and machine learning.  He is profiled in a Quanta Magazine article titled "A Poet of Computation Who Uncovers Distant Truths," that describes his fruitful time at Berkeley with Papadimitriou.

Valerie Taylor Named CEO and President of CMD-IT

EE alumna Valerie Taylor (M.S. '86/Ph.D. '91) has been promoted to the position of CEO and President of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT).  CMD-IT is a national center comprised of corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits, that is focused on engaging under-represented groups in computing and information technologies. Taylor is currently the Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory and a Senior Scientist in the Center for Research Collaborations at the University of Chicago.  "Valerie has provided exceptional leadership of CMD-IT since its founding.  Her dedication has enabled CMD-IT to expand its impact on diversity in academia, industry and government as well as assist with the success of many individuals," said Stuart Feldman, Board Chair, CMD-IT. 

How Robot Hands Are Evolving to Do What Ours Can

The New York Times has published a front page article featuring research being done in the EECS department.  "How Robot Hands Are
Evolving to Do What Ours Can" details how robotic hands could once only do what vast teams of engineers programmed them to do but--thanks to research being done at places like Berkeley--can now learn more complex tasks on their own.  The article breaks tasks down into 5 categories, 4 of which are illustrated by work being done in Prof. Ken Goldberg's AUTOLAB:  gripping, picking, bed-making, and pushing.    Although these tasks are limited, the machine learning methods that drive these systems point to continued progress in the years to come.

Panamanian Hackers Unite!

The inaugural edition of PanamaHackea, an educational hackathon for the peoples of Panama, will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2018, in Torre de Las Américas, Panama City.  This event is the brainchild of 6 students from 4 schools, including Berkeley CS junior Rafael Félix, who hope to inspire and empower "a new generation of Panamanian designers, entrepreneurs, and engineers" by making new technologies more available and accessible to everyone.  In the months leading up to the event, they will create and share tutorials, workshops, tools and resources covering topics from the basics of programming to the latest in Machine Learning.  Participants will enjoy space, food, comaraderie, challenges, and prizes, in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Five Questions for David Patterson

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson, winner of the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award, answers 5 questions posed by the Cal Alumni Association's California Magazine.   Topics include the unsurpassed number of Berkeley Turing laureates, the dangers of AI, the RISC revolution, Patterson's classic textbook on computer architecture, and how much weight he can bench press.  You can attend lectures by many of U.C. Berkeley's prominent Turing laureates, including Patterson,  this fall at the Berkeley ACM A.M. Turing Laureate Colloquium.

Pieter Abbeel stresses cooperation key to advancing AI application

CS. Prof. Pieter Abbeel is the subject of a China Daily article titled "Professor stresses cooperation key to advancing AI application."  Abbeel attended the China-US Entrepreneur and Investment Summit  in Santa Clara where he discussed recent advances and trends in artificial intelligence (AI) and applications in robotic automation, calling for more collaboration worldwide in order to make robots ultimately serve the people.  "The articles of our research findings are in archives," he said.  "Anyone can read it. There are also three important global deep-learning conferences so you can present your work and meet people in the AI field worldwide."