News

Meet the most nimble-fingered robot yet

Many researchers are working on ways for robots to learn to grasp and manipulate things by practicing over and over, but the process is very time-consuming. The research work on robotic deep learning by Prof. Ken Goldberg is featured on the cover of MIT Review in an article titled "Meet the Most Nimble-Fingered Robot Yet".  Instead of practicing in the real world, Prof. Ken Goldberg and colleagues have developed a robot that learns by feeding on a data set of more than a thousand objects that includes their 3-D shape, visual appearance, and the physics of grasping them. This data set was used to train the robot’s deep-learning system. Advances in control algorithms and machine-learning approaches, together with new hardware, are steadily building a foundation on which a new generation of robots will operate.

David Culler named Interim Dean for the Division of Data Sciences

Prof. David Culler has been appointed the Interim Dean for the newly created Division of Data Sciences.  The purpose of the new division is to bring techniques to bear in statistics, mathematics, and computer science on new sources of data.  One of their goals is the creation of an undergraduate data science major and data science minor.   Prof. Culler's duties will include fostering a cooperative atmosphere among the relevant faculties; working with the administration to form an advisory board with representation of key external constituencies; advancing fundraising efforts in concert with broader campus fundraising objectives; and enlisting a team of Berkeley faculty members who will work with him to develop the initiative. He will begin his new role on July 1, 2017 for a two-year term.

UC Berkeley alumni are 2017's most wanted tech employees

According to an analysis by online recruiting company HiringSolved, UC Berkeley has the most undergraduate and graduate alumni hired by the 25 biggest Silicon Valley employers in 2017.  Using data from more than 10,000 public profiles for tech workers hired or promoted into new positions in 2016 and the first two months of 2017, the company determined that Berkeley alumni were hired more frequently than any other, followed by Stanford, CMU, and USC.  A Quartz Media article attributes some of that success to the close relationships our faculty and administrators have with Bay Area tech firms.  HiringSolved also determined which skills were the best indicators for getting entry-level jobs and the most likely job titles for new graduate applicants.

Two sophomores are using AI to fight fake news on Facebook

EECS sophomore Rohan Phadte and Interdisciplinary Studies major Ash Bhat have built a Messenger bot called NewsBot to help users discern whether articles are "fake news" on Facebook. Besides determining the validity of an article, it also offers a barometer that shows where an article might fit on the left-right bias spectrum, and is one of the only tools of its kind.  The idea for the algorithm first came to them during machine-learning classes.  Although it still has some bugs, they are making updates every day and the tool will improve as more users provide feedback.   "We want people to read more than just the headline. We want them to understand what the news they see says and who it's coming from." Bhat says.  Read the article on Mic.

Stuart Russell TED talk: 3 principles for creating safer AI

CS Prof. Stuart Russell gave an engaging TED talk in April describing some of the problems in, and possible solutions for, creating a species that is smarter than humans.  He argues that building provably altruistic,  humble, and humanitarian machines might help us avoid some of the pitfalls inevitable in a future with superintelligent AI.

Two EECS alums on panel discussing challenges of female innovators

2017 EE Distinguished Alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. 90/Ph.D. 94) and EECS alumna Gitanjali Swamy (Ph.D. '97) are both participating in a TiE-Boston and  IIT AGNE panel discussion on the "unique strengths of and challenges for female innovators and the ecosystem that supports them."  Anantha is the Vannevar Bush Professor of EECS at MIT and the recipient of the IEEE Donald O. Pederson Award in Solid-State Circuits.  Gitanjali is a managing partner at IoTask, an “Innovation of Things” (IoT) company, and founder/advisory board member of the U.C. Berkeley Women in Technology Center.  The panel will be hosted at MIT on May 24, 2017.

Avideh Zakhor: the brains behind Google Earth and Street View

Computer vision pioneer Prof. Avideh Zakhor is the subject of a Mercury News profile titled "Avideh Zakhor: the brains behind Google Earth and Street View,"  which touches on her emigration from Iran,  the creation of the 3-D city modeling technology for a Defense Department-funded start-up which she ultimately sold to Google, and her current research on indoor mapping.  She also discusses the value of encouraging skilled immigrant workers to come to the U.S and the importance of getting more women into STEM fields.  "Maybe then we wouldn’t in Silicon Valley have a shortage of STEM workers — it makes it very hard for tech companies to operate; the labor market is very tight." she says.

David Patterson is leading one of Google's most crucial projects

Prof. Emeritus David Patterson is profiled in a CNBC article which describes how he postponed retirement to conduct research at Google into the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), an ambitious new chip that's designed to run at least 10 times faster than today's processors and is sophisticated enough to handle the intensive computations required for artificial intelligence.  Without it, it is estimated that Google would have to double its data centers to support even a limited amount of voice processing.  Prof. Patterson described his work on the TPU when he returned to Berkeley as a Colloquium speaker on May 3rd.

Rikky Muller awarded the 2017 Keysight Early Career Professor Award

Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has been awarded the 2017 Keysight Early Career Professor Award. The Keysight Early Career Professor Award is established to recognize and encourage excellent research enabling design, test or measurement of electronic systems. The program seeks to establish strong collaborative relationships between Keysight researchers and leading professors early in their careers and to highlight Keysight's role as a sponsor of university research. Prof. Muller's expertise is in the research and commercialization of implantable medical devices and in developing microelectronic and integrated systems for neurological applications. She is also the Co-founder of Cortera Neurotechnologies, Inc. a medical device company founded in 2013 that is commercializing a neural implant device and has released a family of products for the animal neuroscience research market. At Cortera, she held positions as CEO and CTO.