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.

colleen lewis

Colleen Lewis receives Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award

EECS alumna Colleen Lewis (B.S. EECS '05/M.S. CS '09), who is now Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College has been recognized as the 10th recipient of the Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award at the Grace Hopper Celebration. This award recognizes a junior faculty member who specializes in computer science education. Prof. Lewis is passionate about broadening participation in computer science as one strategy she can use to fight inequity and injustice, and this goal drives her teaching, research, and service at Harvey Mudd College.

Cameron Baradar

Cameron Baradar opens doors to "The House"

Looking at the entrepreneurial aspirations of UC Berkeley’s students in what is often called around campus the “innovation ecosystem”, EECS alumni Cameron Baradar (B.S. ’15) has opened the doors to The House, a startup institute across the street from campus on Bancroft Ave. Currently on campus there are over 40 clubs across engineering, design and entrepreneurship, two entrepreneurship centers, a design institute, a maker space and the world’s largest collegiate hackathon. Under the mentorship of Prof. Scott Shenker, Cameron sees The House as a backbone for the emerging infrastructure providing startup founders with what they need and when they need it to be successful.

MIT TR35 logo

Sergey Levine, Oriol Vinyals and Wei Gao named on MIT TR35

Prof. Sergey Levine, EECS alumni Oriol Vinyals and EECS postdoc Wei Gao (working with Ali Javey) have been named on MIT Technology Review’s 2016 TR35 (Innovators Under 35) who push the edge of science, creating new approaches to tackling technology challenges. In the “Pioneers” category Prof. Levine teaches robots to watch and learn from their own successes, supervising it’s own learning, and Oriol Vinyals is working to create computers that can teach themselves how to play and win complex games by enabling them to learn from experience. In the “Inventors” category, Wei Gao is building sweatbands that monitor your health on a molecular level.

Simit: a brand new language for more efficient simulations

Incoming CS Assistant Professor Jonathan Ragan-Kelley, alumnus Shoaib Kamil (Ph.D. CS 2012 under Profs. Armando Fox and Kathy Yelick) and alumnus Wojciech Matusik (B.S. EECS 1997), along with other researchers at MIT CSAIL, Adobe, U. of Toronto, Texas A&M, and U. of Texas have developed Simit,  a programming language that can speed up computer simulations 200-fold or reduce the code they require by 90 percent.

The language has applications outside simulations, and there are even plans for it to augment machine learning, data analytics, optimization and robotics in addition to a version of Google's PageRank algorithm.