Berkeley EECS at 2016 ACM Richard Tapia Diversity in Computing Conference

Last week 18 undergraduates, three graduate students, two faculty, and four staff from UC Berkeley’s EECS Department attended the 2016 ACM Richard Tapia Diversity in Computing Conference in Austin, Texas.  In addition to making new connections with diversity leaders in academia and industry, Berkeley EECS participants reconnected with several EECS alumni: Jeffrey Forbes (Associate Dean at Duke University), Beth Trushkowsky (Assistant Professor at Harvey Mudd College), Valerie Taylor (Associate Dean at Texas A & M), and Hakim Weatherspoon (Associate Professor at Cornell). Teaching Professor Dan Garcia co-led a birds-of-a-feather session for Hispanics in Computing, and was a panelist on a session titled “Engaging Students of Color in Computer Science", which reflected on the department's recent efforts to broaden participation in computing.  *Dr. Raquel Romano of Google, and former LBL Postdoc, delivered a Keynote on "Redefining Inclusion: Technology as an Act of Service." *  EECS Director of Diversity Tiffany Reardon presented a poster highlighting the department’s support of women in undergraduate computing.  A highlight of the conference for many of us was seeing David Patterson receive the Richard Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing.  For years Professor Patterson has been an ardent supporter of the Tapia Conference as past Conference Chair, serving on the steering committee and funding large UC Berkeley contingents to attend the event. Well deserved, Dave! Berkeley students and faculty have attended every Tapia conference since the first one, in 2001. 

Jitendra Malik and Fei-Fei Li of Stanford

Jitendra Malik featured in NY Times article

Prof. Jitendra Malik is featured in a NY Times article titled “A Lesson of Tesla Crashes? Computer Vision Can’t Do It All Yet”. Prof. Malik, a researcher in computer vision for three decades, responded to a fatal crash in May of a man in Ohio driving a Tesla electric car equipped with an Autopilot driver-assistance system. While using this system, the man crashed into a tractor-trailer. Prof. Malik advised, “Knowing what I know about computer vision, I wouldn’t take my hands off the steering wheel.” Tesla and Ford are listening. (Picture: Prof. Jitendra Malik and Fei-Fei Li of Stanford)

Haile Shavers is the Literal Face of Diversity in Tech

CS Scholar Haile Shavers is the subject of an interview by Youth Radio/The Huffington Post in which she discusses her experiences as a black woman undergraduate studying computer science.  Haile graces a billboard on Broadway and 22nd Street in Oakland, sponsored by the Kapor Center for Social Impact, which reads "As Oakland becomes more tech, let’s ensure tech becomes more Oakland."

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.

CITRIS and Jacob institute logos

CITRIS Invention Lab and Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation launch joint Maker Pass

The CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society) Invention Lab and the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation are launching a new joint Maker Pass enabling UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff access to both facilities seamlessly. The CITRIS Invention Lab (Prof. Eric Paulos, co-founder and current director) was designed to support innovation by providing the knowledge and tools to rapidly design and prototype novel interactive products, embedded sensing systems and integrated mobile devices. The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation (Prof. Björn Hartmann, Interim Faculty Director) is an interdisciplinary hub for learning and making at the intersection of design and technology with design studios and access to tools for prototyping, iteration and fabrication. Prof. Costas Spanos is the Director of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute.

ActiveClean: a tool that uses machine learning to clean dirty data in big data sets

AMPLab researchers Sanjay Krishnan, Prof. Michael Franklin, Prof. Ken Goldberg, Eugene Wu, and Jiannan Wang have developed ActiveClean, a system that uses machine learning to improve the process of removing dirty data by analyzing a user's prediction model to decide which mistakes to edit first, while updating the model as it works.  The demonstration paper titled "ActiveClean: An Interactive Data Cleaning Framework For Modern Machine Learning" received the Best Demo Award at SIGMOD 2016.

ActiveClean is profiled in an I Programmer article and the development team led byEugene Wu (now at Columbia) will present its research on Sept. 7 in New Delhi, at the 2016 conference on Very Large Data Bases.

National Science Foundation logo

EECS professors lead team for new $4.6 M NSF project VeHICaL

Profs. Sanjit Seshia, Ruzena Bajcsy, Shankar Sastry, Björn Hartmann, Claire Tomlin and Tom Griffiths are the principal investigators of a new large National Science Foundation project that will tackle the problem of designing “human Cyber-Physical Systems (h-CPS)”, cyber-physical systems that work in concert with humans. The research outcome of the project, called Verified Human Interfaces, Control, and Learning for Semi-Autonomous Systems, or VeHICaL, will have applications in emerging technologies such as semi-autonomous cars and autonomous aerial vehicles (drones). NSF has awarded $4.6M for this project.

Tsu-Jae King Liu appointed Vice Provost for Academic and Space Planning

Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu has been appointed the new Vice Provost for Academic and Space Planning (VPASP) for the Berkeley campus, a critical leadership position charged with overseeing the overall programmatic direction of the university and its interaction with the use of space on campus.  As the outgoing EECS Chair, Tsu-Jae made issues of climate, inclusion and diversity priorities in her administrative service.