News

Harry Huskey and the Bendix G-15 in 1988 (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel file)

Harry Huskey is dead at age 101

Computer pioneer Harry Huskey, who designed the G15--which might be called the first "personal computer"--at Berkeley in 1954, has died.  He taught and conducted research into computer language in the EE department from 1954 to 1967, when he left to found and direct the computer center at U.C. Santa Cruz.  Starting in the 1940s, he worked on the Eniac (the country’s first general-purpose programmable electronic computer), the Automatic Computing Engine, and the SWAC, before designing the G-15.  It was manufactured and sold by Bendix Aviation Corporation as the first computer designed to be used by a single person without the intervention of other operators.  At 950 lbs and the size of a refrigerator, it was much smaller than the other room-sized computers at the time, and cost just under $50,000 (or could be rented for about $1,500 a month),  a fraction of the millions of dollars that other systems cost.  At 101 years old, he was one of the last surviving scientists in the vanguard of the computer revolution.

Alyosha Efros has won the 2016 ACM Prize in Computing

Professor Alexei (Alyosha) Efros has won the 2016 Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Prize in Computing, formerly known as the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award. This award recognizes early-to-mid-career contributions that have fundamental impact and broad implications. Prof. Efros was cited for groundbreaking data-driven approaches to computer graphics and computer vision and is a pioneer in combining the power of huge image datasets drawn from the Internet with machine learning algorithms to foster powerful image transformations and valuable research findings. He has also made fundamental contributions in texture synthesis, a technique that ushered in new horizons in computer graphics and is widely used in the film industry. ACM Prize recipients are invited to participate in the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, an annual networking event that brings together young researchers from around the world with recipients of the ACM A.M. Turing Award (computer science), the Abel Prize (mathematics), the Fields Medal (mathematics), and the Nevanlinna Prize (mathematics).

Certificate in Design Innovation is launched

A new certificate program, the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation (BCDI),  is the result of a cross-disciplinary, cross-departmental partnership between the College of Environmental Design, the College of Engineering, the Haas School of Business and the College of Letters and Science’s Arts and Humanities Division.  It offers all undergraduates at Cal an opportunity to foster a critical mindset, collaboratively define problems, and develop the technical proficiency to innovate broadly outside of their major.  CS Associate Professor and BCDI advisor Eric Paulos says “I can’t wait to see what this cross pollination of design methods, materials, tools and most of all people will bring to not just UC Berkeley but to our communities – from the local to the global.”  BCDI will be hosting an open house event on Friday, April 21 at noon at Jacobs Hall for prospective students to learn more about the Certificate, meet faculty members involved, and hear from guest speakers and UC Berkeley alumni.

Ming Wu awarded 2017 C.E.K. Mees Medal from the Optical Society of America

Prof. Ming Wu has been awarded the 2017 C.E.K. Mees Medal from the Optical Society of America (OSA). This medal is presented to a recipient who exemplifies the thought that "optics transcends all boundaries." This award recognizes an original use of optics across different fields. Prof. Wu is being recognized for the invention of “optoelectronic tweezers” that enable massively parallel manipulation of individual biological cells controlled by digital optical projectors.

Jitendra Malik will be a keynote speaker at the 2017 Embedded Vision Summit

EECS Chair and CS Prof. Jitendra Malik will discuss Deep Visual Understanding from Deep Learning as one of the keynote speakers at the Embedded Vision Summit on May 2, 2017.  The summit is the only event focused exclusively on the technologies, hardware, and software that bring visual intelligence to products.  This year, "It's all about deployable computer vision and deep learning" and will feature more than 90 expert presenters in 4 conference tracks over three days.

Kathy Yelick elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Prof. Katherine Yelick has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This organization has been serving the nation as a champion of scholarship, civil dialogue and useful knowledge since 1780. The Academy convenes leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to address critical challenges facing our global society. Kathy joins a long list of distinguished members, going back to Ben Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, and most recently our own Scott Shenker in 2016. For a complete list of EECS members elected to the academy, see EECS Faculty Awards/American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Google TPUs are built for inference

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson co-authored and presented a report on Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) at a regional seminar of the National Academy of Engineering, held at the Computer History Museum in Menlo Park on April 5, 2017.   TPUs, which have been deployed in Google datacenters since 2015, are printed-circuit cards which are inserted into existing servers and act as co-processors tailored for neural-network calculations.  Prof. Patterson says that TPUs are "an order of magnitude faster than contemporary CPUs and GPUs" with an even larger relative performance per watt.  According to an article for the IEEE Spectrum, TPUs are "built for doing inference," having hardware that operates on 8-bit integers rather than the higher-precision floating-point numbers used in CPUs and GPUs.

Beauty and Joy of Computing curriculum receives grant from InfoSys

The Beauty and Joy of Computing, an introductory computer science curriculum taught by Prof. Dan Garcia has received a $311,975 grant from InfoSys for a Professional Development week “BJCpalooza” for teachers to be held July 17-21, 2017 at UC Berkeley. Approximately 200 high school teachers from across the United States will be attending. Prof. Garcia will also be giving the keynote talk at the 2017 ACM TURC (SIGCSE) China, a new leading international forum at the intersection of computer science and the learning sciences, seeking to improve practice and theories of CS education.

Meet Ray, the Real-Time Machine-Learning Replacement for Spark

CS Prof. Michael Jordan, graduate students Philipp Moritz and Robert Nishihara, and research in the RISELab are featured in a Datanami article titled "Meet Ray, the Real-Time Machine-Learning Replacement for Spark."  Ray is one of the first technologies to emerge from RISELab, the successor to AMPLab and its host of influential distributed technologies including Spark, Mesos, and Tachyon. Ray is a new distributed framework designed to enable Python-based machine learning and deep learning workloads to execute in real-time with MPI-like power and granularity. This framework is ostensibly a replacement for Spark, which is seen as too slow for some real-world AI applications.

The Beauty & Joy of Computing featured in the New York Times

Dr. Daniel Garcia and his course "CS10: The Beauty and Joy of Computing" (BJC) are featured in a New York Times article about curricula designed to develop computational thinking in students.  The article, titled "Learning to Think Like a Computer," covers strategies at a number of top institutions and highlights BJC, a CS course for nonmajors which focuses on the abstract principles underpinning computing instead of just teaching students to code.  “The idea of abstraction,” Dan says, “is to hide the details.”  Concealing layers of information makes it possible to get at the intersections of things, improving aspects of a complicated system without understanding and grappling with each part.  The abstraction of computational thinking allows advances without having to redesign from scratch and offers a new language and orientation to tackle problems in many other areas of life.