News

Startup: The Dot

A device and startup created by former CS students Kunal Chaudhary, Grant Empey, and Rishabh Parikh (along with ME alumus Anuj Chaudhary), are the focus of a California Magazine article titled "A Little Dotty: Berkeley Startup Has a New Way to Make Your House Smart."  Their creation, the Dot, is a $20 sandwich of circuit boards and chips housed in a black plastic case about the size and shape of a hockey puck. Functionally, it’s an electronic beacon that pairs with a smartphone via Bluetooth and can be programmed to perform a variety of functions based on where you are and who you are.  It has attracted interest from more than 1,700 donors, and is backed by two of Berkeley’s startup incubator programs, CITRIS Foundry and The House.  The Dot is also featured in an Inc.com article titled "How This University Sets Students Up for Entrepreneurial Success."

Colleen Lewis looks at social justice and equity within CS

Alumna Prof. Colleen Lewis (EECS B.S. '05/CS M.S. '09), now teaching at Harvey Mudd College, is profiled in an article about the award-winning women attending the 2016 Grace Hopper Conference.  Colleen won the 2016 Denise Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award for young tenure-track faculty doing research involving engineering or physical sciences, who positively influence and promote diversity.  Colleen created CSTeachingTips.org, a National Science Foundation funded website that offers tips for teaching computer science.

Vidya Ganapati wins CITRIS Athena Early Career Award

EECS alumna Vidya Ganapati (M.S.'12, Ph.D.'15) has won the CITRIS Athena Early Career Award, recognizing the accomplishments of technology leaders and organizations fostering interest in computer science for the next generation of women and girls. Vidya has demonstrated a range of research accomplishments, including applications in solar cells for energy efficient electronics and advanced imaging for surgical robotics. She completed predoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently works for Verily Life Sciences. She has been active in teaching and mentoring girls and young women through programs such as Girls Who Code, Science Club for Girls, and the Girls in Engineering summer camp.

Adrienne Porter Felt, protecting us from internet hackers

Software engineer Adrienne Porter Felt (CS Ph.D. 2012), now the tech lead manager for Google Chrome's usable security team, is the subject of a woprogrammer article at Medium.  Adrienne wrote her dissertation on permissions systems as part of the Security Research Group (under Prof. David Wagner),  and taught introductory computer classes at the Self-Paced Center.  In the article, she describes how she got into computer science, her research into using permissions to restrict the damage that rogue apps can do, and her latest efforts on HTTPS adoption. 

Eric Cheng named partner in Kirkland & Ellis

Alumnus Eric Cheng (EECS B.S. and B.S.  Business Administration, Haas, 2007) was promoted to partner in the Palo Alto and San Francisco offices of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.   Eric's practice focuses on intellectual property disputes in federal district courts around the country as well as before the U.S. International Trade Commission, with an emphasis on patent and  copyright infringement, and trade secret misappropriation, involving a wide range of technologies.

Looking at the Top in Tech: Virginia Smith

Grad student Virginia Smith has experienced periods where she felt somewhat isolated during her study of CS, a field that still has relatively few women. She recently joined forces with Ph.D. alumna Gitanjali Swamy and former Chair Tsu-Jae King Liu to form a round table of influential women in tech to think about how to increase diversity at the top levels. She has also written an article about this work.  Read about Virginia's experiences and endeavors.

Sergey Levine, Wei Gao, Alex Hegyi and Oriol Vinayls named Top Innovators Under 35

Assistant Prof. Sergey Levine (former postdoc of Associate Prof. Pieter Abbeel), Wei Gao (postdoc with Prof. Ali Javey), and alumni Alex Hegyi (EECS M.S. ' 12/Ph.D.  '13) and Oriol Vinayls (Ph.D. EECS '13) made the MIT Technology Review's 2016 list of 35 Top Innovators Under 35. One of Prof. Levine’s projects is to improve motor control of robotic hands, allowing the robot to observe its own tasks and engineer its behavior to perform the tasks correctly. He is also interested in using deep learning to train autonomous drones and vehicles. Wei Gao published a major paper with Javey on the wearable sweat sensor in January that received global attention. Alex Hegyi, now at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto has developed a camera that records parts of the spectrum of light that you can’t see. Oriol Vinyals, now at Google DeepMind in London is working to create computers that can teach themselves how to play and win complex games—not by hard-coding the rules but by enabling them to learn from experience.

Gene Luen Yang wins MacArthur Genius' Grant

EECS alumnus Gene Luen Yang (CS B.A. '95) has been selected for a MacArthur fellowship, one of the most prestigious prizes in the United States.   Awarded for exceptional “originality, insight and potential,” a MacArthur prize comes with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 distributed over five years.  In January, Gene became the first graphic novelist named national ambassador for children’s literature by the Library of Congress.

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. 

Matt Au

Matt Au is the new CTO of SideChef

EECS alumni Matt Au (B.A. CS 2002) has been announced as the Chief Technology Officer of the cooking app start-up SideChef. SideChef is an interactive step-by-step cooking app that assists in the kitchen just like a virtual sous chef. With real time recipe navigation that includes hands-free voice commands, detailed photos, how-to videos, and built-in automatic timers, beginners have the tools to learn essential skills to cook with confidence, while intermediate and advanced cooks hone their abilities and contribute to the community with their own recipes.