News

Audrey Sillers wins Wil Zeilinger Staff Excellence Award

Director of Student Diversity and EECS Undergraduate Affairs, Audrey Sillers, is the recipient of the 2018 EECS/ERSO Wil Zeilinger Staff Excellence Award.  The Zeilinger Award is the most prestigious staff honor in the EECS department and is presented annually to the staff member who best embodies "a spririt of service cheerfully given for the general good."  Over the course of Audrey's 12 year career in EECS, she has worked her way up through 5 positions,  sharing her calm, focus, warmth and dedication with everyone she has encountered.  Among her many achievements is the creation of the EECS Wellness Committee, designed to find ways to help people feel more welcome, comfortable, and supported in the department. 

Charles Susskind remembered at L.A. Museum of the Holocaust

Late EE Prof. Charles Susskind, who passed away in 2004, is one of 10 children featured in an exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust titled Childhood Left at the Station: A Tribute to the Children of the Kindertransport, as well an accompanying L.A. Times article titled "Child separation during World War II: How an exhibition at L.A.'s Museum of the Holocaust resonates today."  Susskind caught one of the last Kindertransport trains out of Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1939--just a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday (at which time he would have been ineligible for the program) and the onset of the war.   Kindertransport was an international, non-denominational rescue effort that got Jewish children out of Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland between 1938-1939.  The suitcase he carried will be on display, bearing the green, hand-painted number that identified him as a child refugee.  “It’s tiny,” curator Jordana Gessler says. “Probably 18 by 14 inches. That suitcase is all he brought with him.”

Key role of micron-scale strain distributions in magnetoelectric multiferroic devices revealed

A research study led by EE Prof. and Associate Chair Jeffrey Bokor and post-doctoral research associate Roberto Lo Conte, among others, on the influence of nonuniform micron-scale strain distributions on electrical reorientation of magnetic microstructures has been highlighted on the news site Advances in Engineering.  The work, which was conducted in the Center for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TANMS), is the first to thoroughly characterize the micron-scale strain and magnetic response, as a function of an applied electric field, in a composite multiferroic system. Their goal was to come up with a comprehensive behavior and understanding of these materials using direct imaging of both the electrically induced magnetic behavior and the piezo-strain.  These materials systems are of broad technological interest, since they offer a path toward the development of ultralow power magnetoelectric devices which can be useful for manipulation of micro and nano-scale objects such as biological cells. Their work is published in the research journal, Nano Letters.

Gary May claims another rare engineering distinction

EECS alumnus Gary May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), currently serving as the Chancellor of UC Davis, is one of the subjects of a Philadelphia Tribune article titled "ACROSS AMERICA: Three African-Americans Claim Rare Engineering Accomplishment."   May, along with two other African-Americans, was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) class of 2018.  NAE membership counts among the highest professional distinctions in engineering.  May was inducted "for contributions to semiconductor manufacturing research and for innovations in educational programs for underrepresented groups in engineering." “We need more diversity in engineering so that we solve problems that take into account all experiences and perspectives," he said. "I encourage young people who are interested in engineering to seek mentors who can help them get on a path that works for them."

The Art of Innovation: George Crow’s Path from Cal to Apple

EECS alumnus George Crow (B.S. '66) is the subject of a California Magazine article titled "The Art of Innovation: George Crow’s Path from Cal to Apple."  Crow was lured away from a job at Hewlett-Packard in 1981 to take charge of the team responsible for developing the power supply and display for what would become the pathbreaking Mac personal computer.  Crow discusses his time at Berkeley and Apple, founding NeXT with Steve Jobs, and going back to Apple before retiring in 2006 to devote his time to the arts.

Six new EECS faculty welcomed in 2018

The EECS department welcomes six new faculty members who joined the department in 2018:  CS Prof. Shafi Goldwasser (EECS M.S. '81/Ph.D. '84) is a cryptography pioneer and one of only three women to have won the ACM A.M. Turing Award. Goldwasser was a professor in the Department of EECS at MIT and joined us to become the new director of the Simons Institute; EE Assistant Prof. Jiantao Jiao's research on causal relationships has applications in the fields of health and social sciences. Jiao is expecting his Ph.D. in EE from Stanford University this fall; CS Prof. Jennifer Listgarten applies machine learning to computational biology and gene editing, including CRISPR technology. She came to us from Microsoft Research New England; EE Prof.-in-residence Yi Ma (EECS M.S. '97/Ph.D. '00) applies mathematical analysis to applications in computer vision and autonomous robots. He comes to us from ShanghaiTech University, where he was professor and executive dean of the School of Information Science and Technology; EE Associate Prof. Robert Pilawa-Podgurski's research interests include renewable energy applications and power electronics. He comes to us from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was an associate professor of ECE; EE Assistant Teaching Prof. Gireeja Ranade (EECS M.S. '09/Ph.D. '14) has research interests that span various aspects of artificial intelligence (AI), wireless communications and robotics. She comes to us from Microsoft Research, where she was a postdoctoral researcher in AI.

College of Engineering reports 7% increase in female students admitted for 2018-19

UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering has seen a 7 percent increase in the number of female students admitted for the 2018–19 academic year, according to the college’s admissions statistics.  Multiple strategies have been implemented in recent years to increase the number of female engineering students: reaching out to middle school students, making work more relevant to societal needs, offering hands-on experience, and building community.  Female engineering students have faced difficulty entering the male-dominated college.  In 2017, women constituted 25 percent of freshmen and 19 percent of transfers, this year, women made up 32 percent of incoming freshmen and 26 percent of transfers.

Alisha Menon will study ways to help the brain talk to computers

Incoming graduate student Alisha Menon is featured in a community post on the Beaverton Patch titled "Brilliant Teen Seeks PhD At UC Berkeley With STEM Award."  Menon graduated from Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), a statewide online public high school, at age 16 and took only 3 years to complete her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.  She will attend Berkeley in the fall on an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, studying Control, Intelligent Systems, and Robotics (CIR).  "I see the potential for infinite applications - from prosthetics controlled directly by neural signals to brain-computer interfaces that will eliminate the need for secondary interaction tools like keyboards," Menon said. "There are so many directions (that) technology that interacts with the brain can go. Some of these ideas are currently being developed such as virtual reality/artificial reality interfaces, rehabilitation systems, and deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's. Other ideas are more futuristic such as 'typing' using neural signals. I can't wait to be a part of this field as it grows and develops!"

K. Shankari warns that Google is tracking you

CS graduate student K.Shankari (advisors: Randy Katz and David Culler) is featured in an AP News article titled "AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not."  Shankari, who studies the commuting patterns of volunteers in order to help urban planners,  noticed that her Android phone prompted her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl’s, even though she had turned Location History off.  When Location History is turned off,  iPhones and Androids display pop-ups which say "None of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History" and “places you go with your devices will stop being added to your Location History map," respectively.  However, the Google account web page admits that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.”  “I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle,” said Shankari. “It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated.”

Explore UC Berkeley’s culture of entrepreneurship with Hriday Kemburu

CS alumnus Hriday Kemburu (B.A. '16) is featured in a Daily Cal article about UC Berkeley’s start up ecosystem titled "‘Dream, build and start up’: Exploring UC Berkeley’s culture of entrepreneurship.'   Kemburu is the CEO of Wildfire,  which began as a UC Berkeley-specific safety app during Kemburu's senior year and branched out into a communications platform spanning more than 30 campuses.  Wildfire is used for spreading the word about anything from crimes to celebrity sightings.  Berkeley's network of startup incubators, accelerators, investors and classes have helped launch hundreds of companies.