News

3 UC Presidents and Gary S. May

UC Davis Chancellor and EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos) took the stage with UC President Michael V. Drake and Presidents Emeriti Janet S. Napolitano and Mark G. Yudof  for the UCD Chancellor's Colloquium on March 8th.  The four discussed the challenges they faced and lessons learned during their tenures in office.  Topics included the impact of the pandemic on campus communities, the importance of public health, and the efficacy of remote learning; the university's federal lawsuit over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; approaches to managing UC funding cuts, including maintaining access to retirement plans and student aid;  and America's cultural and democratic future, including ways that universities might help shape it.

Tiny switches give solid-state LiDAR record resolution

A new type of high-resolution LiDAR chip developed by EECS Prof. Ming Wu could lead to a new generation of powerful, low-cost 3D sensors for autonomous cars, drones, robots, and smartphones. The paper, which appeared in the journal Nature, was co-authored by his former graduate students Xiaosheng Zhang (Ph.D. '21) and Johannes Henriksson (Ph.D. '21), current graduate student Jianheng Luo, and postdoc Kyungmok Kwon, in the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC).  Their new, smaller, more efficient, and less expensive LiDAR design is based on a focal plane switch array (FPSA) with a resolution of 16,384 pixels per 1-centimeter square chip, which dwarfs the 512 pixels or less currently found on FPSA.  The design is scalable to megapixel sizes using the same complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology used to produce computer processors.   Additionally, large, slow and inefficient thermo-optic switches are replaced by microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switches, which are traditionally used to route light in communications networks.  If the resolution and range of the new system can be improved, conventional CMOS production technology can be used to produce the new, inexpensive chip-sized LiDAR.

Colin Parris elected to the NAE

EE alumnus Colin Parris (M.S. '87, Ph.D. '94, advisor: Domenico Ferrari) has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).  After a career at IBM Systems & Technology and General Electric (GE) Research, Parris is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at GE.  He is known for his life-long commitment to "the development and enhancement of STEM programs across minority communities," and serves as a board member of the Annual Multicultural Business Youth Educational Services Embarkment (Ambyese), which prepares multicultural secondary school students for the challenges of pursuing careers in the corporate sector through self-esteem-building and exposure to successful role models in industry.  While a student Berkeley, Parris helped start the Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley (SUPERB) and was deeply involved with the group Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students (BGESS).  At GE, Parris, whose expertise spans engineering, software, and AI-driven analytics, leads teams that leverage digital technologies in the energy industry and other industrial environments.  He created and leads the Digital Twin Initiative company-wide and is currently working to "accelerate business impact and transformation by combining lean principles with digital solutions."

Black Women Matter: Arlene Cole Rhodes, Valerie Taylor and Melody Ivory

Three EECS alumnae are featured in a 150W Black Women Matter web page recognizing the legacies of Black women at Cal as part of the 2022 Black History Month celebrations.  The web page, which was put together by EECS Emerita Director of Diversity Sheila Humphreys, highlights 31 Cal pioneers whose lives spanned the past 120 years.  The EECS Department is represented by: Arlene Cole Rhodes (Ph.D. '89, advisor: S. Shankar Sastry), the first Black woman to earn an EE doctorate from Berkeley; 2020 EE Distinguished Alumna Valerie Taylor (M.S. '86 / Ph.D. '91, advisor: David G. Messerschmitt ), the first Black chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University; and Melody Ivory (M.S. '96/Ph.D. '01, advisor: Marti Hearst), the first Black woman to earn a CS doctorate in from Berkeley.

EECS Black History Month: Lee Julian Purnell (EE M.S. 1929)

Lee Julian Purnell is the first Black student who is known to have graduated from the EECS department. He was born in Washington, D.C. in 1896, graduated from Berkeley High in 1915, was a superb track athlete, and earned a B.A. from Cal in 1919.  He got his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at MIT in 1921, where he and another student were said to be the first pair of Black students to graduate from MIT in the same class together.  He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Berkeley in 1929, and eventually settled into a career at Howard University, where he served as the Dean of Engineering for 20 years.  Learn more about Lee Purnell in the EECS Newsletter.

Marti Hearst inducted into 2021 ACM SIGIR Academy inaugural class

CS alumna Prof. Marti Hearst (B.A. '85/M.S '89./Ph.D. '94,  advisor: Robert Wilensky), whose primary appointment is in the School of Information, has been named to the 2021 inaugural class of the ACM Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR) Academy. SIGIR Academy membership recognizes the "principal leaders in IR" who have made "significant, cumulative contributions" to the development of the field, and whose "efforts have shaped the discipline and/or industry through significant research, innovation, and/or service."  Hearst literally wrote the first book on Search User Interfaces in 2009.   She is known for her early work on automating sentiment analysis and word sense disambiguation, including the invention of an algorithm known as "Hearst patterns" which is widely used in commercial text mining applications including ontology learning.  She also developed a now well-known approach to automatic segmentation of text into topical discourse boundaries, called TextTiling.  Hearst is an Edge Foundation contributing author and a member of the Usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Her current research interests include user interfaces for search engines, information visualization, natural language processing, and MOOCs.

Eric Fosler-Lussier and Luca Daniel named 2022 IEEE Fellows

Alumni Eric Fosler-Lussier (Ph.D. 1999, advisor: Nelson Morgan) and Luca Daniel (Ph.D. 2003, advisor: Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli) have been named 2022 Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  The grade of Fellow is conferred upon a members of IEEE "with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest."  Fosler-Lussier, now a professor Computer Science and Engineering, Biomedical Informatics, and Linguistics, and the Associate Chair of Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State University, was cited "for contributions to spoken language technology by integrating linguistic models with machine learning." Daniel, now a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, was cited "for contributions to modeling and simulation of electronic systems."  IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization for electronic and electrical engineers.

Anantha Chandrakasan wins 2022 IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal

EECS alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. '90/Ph.D. '94, advisor: C. V. Ramamoorthy), has been awarded the 2022 IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal.  The award recognizes "outstanding technical contributions in science and engineering, of great impact to IEEE fields of interest."   Chandrakasan, who is currently an EECS professor at MIT and the dean of the MIT School of Engineering, was cited for his “contributions to ultralow-power circuits and systems, and leadership in academia and advancing diversity in the profession.”  He spearheaded a number of initiatives that opened opportunities for students, postdocs, and faculty to conduct research, explore entrepreneurial projects, and engage with EECS. These programs include “SuperUROP,” a year-long independent research program that provides tools for students to do publication-quality research; the Rising Stars program, an annual event that convenes graduate and postdoc women for the purpose of sharing advice about the early stages of an academic career; and StartMIT, an independent activities period class that provides students and postdocs the opportunity to learn from and interact with industrial innovation leaders. Chandrakasan is also known for his leadership of the MIT Energy-Efficient Circuits and Systems Group, whose research projects have addressed security hardware, energy harvesting, and wireless charging for the internet of things; energy-efficient circuits and systems for multimedia processing; and platforms for ultra-low-power biomedical electronics.  He also serves as co-chair of the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab, the MIT-Takeda Program, and the MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology, and chairs the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium. 

Woody Hoburg receives assignment for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission

EECS alumnus Warren “Woody” Hoburg (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '13, advisor: Pieter Abbeel), one of the first graduates of NASA's Artemis astronaut basic training program in 2020, has been assigned to launch on the agency’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission – the sixth crew rotation flight aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.  Hoburg will pilot the spacecraft when it is expected to launch from a Falcon 9 rocket at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 2023.  This will be his first mission into space.  At the time of his selection as an astronaut, Hoburg was a commercial pilot and an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.  His research focused on efficient methods for design of engineering systems.

Madhu Sudan wins 2022 IEEE Hamming Medal

2003 Distinguished CS Alumnus Madhu Sudan (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Umesh Vazirani) has won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Hamming Medal.  This award recognizes "exceptional contributions to information sciences, systems, and technology."   Sudan was cited “for fundamental contributions to probabilistically checkable proofs and list decoding of Reed-Solomon codes.”  He won the Berkeley EECS Sakrison Memorial Award for his graduate thesis, worked as a researcher at both the IBM Watson Research Center and Microsoft Research, was a professor of EECS and the Associate Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, and is now a professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).  Sudan is known for his contributions to theoretical computer science, particularly for advancing the theory of probabilistically checkable proofs, which is a way to recast a mathematical proof in computer language for additional checks on its validity, and for developing error-correcting codes.