News

Sally Floyd, an inventor of Random Early Detection, has died

CS alumna Sally Floyd (M.S. '87/Ph.D. '89, advisor: Richard Karp), best known as one of the inventors of Random Early Detection (RED), an active queue management scheme widely credited with saving the internet from collapse in the 1990s, has died at age 69.  Floyd graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology in 1971 and, after taking a two-year course in electronics at Meritt College, spent the next decade working as a computer systems engineer at BART.  She returned to Berkeley as a graduate student in 1984 and was known as an outstanding advisor to members of the CS Reentry Program, a department project which prepared  "older" women and minorities, who had bachelor's degrees in non-technical fields, for competitive admission to graduate STEM programs.  The creation of the RED algorithm, which was built on work started by Van Jacobson in the 1980s,  founded the field of Active Queue Management (AQM).  Floyd and Jacobson's 1993 paper describing how RED could control congestion on the internet continues to play a vital role in its stability and has been cited in more than 9,100 articles. “That’s truly huge,” said Prof. Vern Paxson, who had been mentored by Floyd as a graduate student, “up there with the most fundamental papers in computer networking.”

Transportation for aging Americans

Elderly Americans need transportation alternatives more than ever, but many are intimidated by ride-hailing apps.  EECS Prof. Alexandre Bayen and David Lindeman of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute, are quoted in a New York Times article, "Older People Need Rides. Why Aren’t They Using Uber and Lyft?," that discusses some of the opportunities and obstacles for seniors.

New chip could lead to cheaper and better medical imaging devices and self-driving cars

Berkeley researchers, including EECS Prof. Ming Wu and his former postdoc Youming Wang,  have created the fastest silicon-based, programmable two-dimensional optical phased array, built on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).  They achieved a resonance frequency of 55 kilohertz that corresponded to a response time of 5.7 microseconds, almost 1,000 times faster than a traditional optical phased array built on liquid crystal. With a large array of 25,600 pixels packed onto a chip that is 3.1 by 3.2 millimeters, the device can also capture very high-resolution images of its surroundings and lead to cheaper and more efficient medical-imaging devices, optical communications and holographic televisions, as well as more robust LiDAR sensors for self-driving cars.  "Being able to program these chips allows us to go beyond scanning, we can program our arrays to be more like human eyes. This allows us to generate and perceive arbitrary patterns like our eyes do; we can track individual objects instead of just rotating scanning,” said Wu.

Richard Din innovates unique course to help students connect more deeply with entrepreneurs

EECS alumnus Richard Din (B.S. EECS/B.A. Econ '08),  the co-founder of revolutionary food-delivery app Caviar, has imagined and helped to create a small, select, new course being offerred fall semester through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET).  The course, which cannot be documented or attended by visitors, will host diverse and unique speakers from the tech industry who will share personal stories about their startups, including sensitive details about “co-founder fights, investor drama, and running out of money.”  “When it’s off the record," said Din, "then you can be more candid about finer details and tell more interesting stories.” Students interested in taking the course must be nominated by a professor. Professors can send nominations to Jennifer Nice at jennifernice@berkeley.edu.

Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley

Berkeley Remix Podcast Season 4, Episode 2, explores the contributions of UC Berkeley Engineering to the rise of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley in the 1960s and 70s.   “Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley”  focuses on the development of SPICE, the first widely used design program for prototyping microchips, which was originally designed by and for students.  The software spread "like lightning" in part because Berkeley, as a public institution, made it available free of charge. The world has not been the same since.  The podcast features audio from interviews with Prof. Emeritus  Paul Gray  and alumnus Laurence Nagel (B.S. '69/M.S. '70/Ph.D. '75, advisor: Donald Pederson), CEO of Omega Enterprises, and former senior manager at Bell Laboratories.

EECS students, postdocs, alumni and faculty make strong showing at 2019 USENIX Security Symposium

EECS students, postdocs, alumni, and faculty were front and center at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium in Santa Clara last week.  In addition to the Test of Time and Distinguished Paper Awards (see below), Keynote Speaker Alex Stamos (B.S. '01), previously the Chief Security Officer of Facebook, highlighted the threat model work of current ICSI postdoc Alisa Frik (advisor: Serge Egelman).  Alumnus Nicholas Carlini (Ph.D. '18, advisor: David Wagner) gave a talk on his neural networks research which was co-authored by CS Prof. Dawn Song and postdoc Chang Liu.  ICSI researchers Primal Wijesekera and Serge Egelman, and former ICSI postdoc Joel Reardon, were awarded a Distinguished Paper Award for "50 Ways to Leak Your Data: An Exploration of Apps' Circumvention of the Android Permissions System." Grad students Frank Li (advisor: Vern Paxson) and Nathan Malkin (advisors: Serge Egelman and David Wagner), received a Distinguished Paper award at the SOUPS '19 technical session for "Keepers of the Machines: Examining How System Administrators Manage Software Updates For Multiple Machines." The Zip Bomb research of alumnus David Fifield (Ph.D. '17, advisor: Doug Tygar) was also awarded a Best Paper award at the WOOT '19 technical session.

Two CS grad students, co-advised by David Culler and Raluca Popa, also made presentations.  Sam Kumar presented "JEDI: Many-to-Many End-to-End Encryption and Key Delegation for IoT" and Michael P. Andersen presented "WAVE: A Decentralized Authorization Framework with Transitive Delegation."

Grant Ho, Vern Paxson, and David Wagner win USENIX Security Symposium Distinguished Paper Award

Graduate student Grant Ho and his co-advisors Profs. Vern Paxson and David Wagner, were honored with a Distinguished Paper Award at the 2019 USENIX Security Symposium for "Detecting and Characterizing Lateral Phishing at Scale".  In the paper, they presented "the first large-scale characterization of lateral phishing attacks, based on a dataset of 113 million employee-sent emails from 92 enterprise organizations."  Ho, Paxson, and Wagner previously won the same award at the 2017 USENIX Security Symposium for their paper "Detecting Credential Spearphishing Attacks in Enterprise Settings."

David Wagner, Eric Brewer, Ian Goldberg, and Randi Thomas win 2019 USENIX Test of Time Award

CS Profs. and alumni David Wagner (Ph.D. '00) and Eric Brewer (B.S. '89), and alumni Ian Goldberg (Ph.D. '00) and Randi Thomas (M.S.) have won the 2019 USENIX Test of Time Award for their 1996 paper titled "A Secure Environment for Untrusted Helper Applications."  The paper, which introduced a fundamental and crucial technique for confining untrusted applications in computer systems, and which made a significant contribution to the computer security field, was written by Wagner, Goldberg and Thomas when they were Brewer's graduate students.  “Beyond its strong academic impact — cited by 890 papers," said award committe member Dan Boneh, "the technique is now used to confine web pages in the Chrome browser, and to confine applications running on Android."

A map of the brain can tell what you’re reading about

A group of researchers currently or formerly working in the lab of CS Affiliate Prof. Jack Gallant, have developed interactive semantic maps that can predict where different categories of words activate the brain. The researchers used functional MRI to scan the brains of subjects who were listening to or reading stories.  The results were viewed in an interactive, 3D, color-coded map, where words are presented as scribbles of color on a flattened brain cortex.  When the researchers compared the listening-versus-reading brain activity data, they found the maps they created from both datasets were virtually identical. The maps may one day inform interventions for dyslexia, strokes, epilepsy, brain injuries, and auditory processing disorders.

Wearable sensors detect what’s in your sweat

A paper co-authored by EE Prof. Ali Javey, describes a new sweat sensor design that can be rapidly manufactured using a “roll-to-roll” processing technique that essentially prints the sensors onto a sheet of plastic like words on a newspaper.  The sensors monitor sweat rate and the electrolytes and metabolites in sweat.  “The goal of the project is not just to make the sensors but start to do many subject studies and see what sweat tells us — I always say ‘decoding’ sweat composition,” said Javey.  “For that we need sensors that are reliable, reproducible, and that we can fabricate to scale so that we can put multiple sensors in different spots of the body and put them on many subjects."