Jeff Mahler and Ken Goldberg (photo: Jason LeCras for The New York Times)

Ken Goldberg and Jeff Mahler explain how warehouse robots will learn on their own

CS/IEOR Prof. Ken Goldberg, director of the AUTOLAB, and his EE graduate student Jeff Mahler, are profiled in a  New York Times article titled "In the Future, Warehouse Robots Will Learn on Their Own," about researchers who are using neural networks and machine learning to teach robots to grab things they have never encountered before.   The AUTOLAB robot was trained by being shown hundreds of purely digital objects, after which it could pick up items that weren’t represented in its digital data set.  “We’re learning from simulated models and then applying that to real work,” said Goldberg,

Joint CS and IEOR Profs. Michael Jordan and Pieter Abbeel

Pieter Abbeel and Michael Jordan appointed joint faculty in IEOR

CS Profs. Pieter Abbeel and Michael Jordan, two of the best-known experts in machine learning, have been appointed as joint faculty in the department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) in addition to their primary appointments in EECS (and Statistics for Jordan).  "Profs. Abbeel and Jordan are terrific colleagues that bring extremely valuable perspectives to our interests in robotics, automation, machine learning, and data science," states Ken Goldberg, Chair of IEOR.  Abbeel's work has been featured in many popular press outlets, including BBC, New York Times, MIT Technology Review, Discovery Channel, SmartPlanet and Wired.  In a recent article in Science, Jordan was named the currently most influential computer scientist in the world.

Prof. David Wagner teaching CS C8 (photo: SF Chronicle)

UC Berkeley rises to the challenge of Data Science demand

Prof. David Wagner, who co-teaches CS C8: The Foundations of Data Science, and Prof. David Culler, interim dean of the new Division of Data Sciences,  are featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article titled "Universities rush to add data science majors as demand explodes."   As worplace demand for data scientists and data enigineers continues to soar,  student enrollment in CS C8 has more than tripled since 2016. The Division of Data Sciences was established in the College of Engineering in December,  and a data science undergraduate major--the first new undergraduate major the College of Letters & Science in 16 years--is in the works.  “No program has grown this fast at Berkeley,” said Culler.

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson

David Patterson responds to former Google employee's memo about diversity

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson published an opinion piece in Wired in response to former Google employee James Damore’s memo, in which Damore stressed that women are biologically different and not suited to working in technology companies like Google.  Patterson, along with Maria Klawe of Harvey Mudd College and John Hennessy of Stanford, highlighted four main points in rebuttal to Damore’s memo: 1) implicit bias exists, 2) members of underrepresented groups are discouraged by daily biases not experienced by others, 3) a shortage of software engineers will limit the growth of the industry, and 4) it's more effective to discuss these issues face-to-face than via electronic communication.

Assistant Prof. Sergey Levine (photo: NVIDIA)

Sergey Levine explains how deep learning will unleash robotics

CS Assistant Prof. Sergey Levine explores how deep learning will unleash robotics in an NVIDIA AI Podcast which first aired on Sept 1st.  “One of the most important things is that you have to somehow communicate to the robot what it means to succeed,” Levine said in a conversation with AI Podcast host Michael Copeland. “That’s one of the most basic things …You need to tell it what it should be doing.”  He points out that it’s important that the robots don’t just repeat what they learn in training, but understand why a task requires certain actions. “If you want to get a robot to do interesting things, you kind of need it to learn on its own,” Levine said

Lotfi Zadeh, 1921-2017

Lotfi Zadeh has passed away

CS Prof. Lotfi Zadeh, known as the Father of Fuzzy Logic, passed away on the morning of September 6, 2017.  He was 96.  Zadeh touched many lives and had a tremendous impact on many scientific and technological fields.  He is best known as the founder of fuzzy mathematics, fuzzy set theory, fuzzy logic, Z numbers and Z-transform.   He won many awards including the IEEE Medal of Honor,  the Honda Prize, the Okawa Prize, and the IEEE Hamming Medal.  He was a founding member of the Eurasian Academy and a member of the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame.  A state funeral will be held in his birth city of Baku, Azerbaijan.  Memorial arrangements in the U.S. are pending.

Edward A. Lee publishes new book, "Plato and the Nerd"

EE Prof. Edward A. Lee has published his first book for a general audience, Plato and the Nerd: The Creative Partnership of Humans and Technology  (MIT Press, 2017).  In it, Lee observes that engineering is a deeply intellectual and fundamentally inventive process and that the producers of digital technology have an unsurpassed medium for creativity.   Janos Sztipanovits writes in his review "Lee's book is a brilliant articulation of the unique and increasingly important role technology plays in the evolution of mankind. He offers a deeply optimistic perspective with clarity and intellectual rigor without ever losing accessibility."  Lee has previously coauthored several textbooks on topics including digital communication, signal processing, embedded systems, and software modeling.

CS 61A (Brian Ly/Daily Cal)

CS 61A course enrollment reaches a record 1,762

Enrollment in CS 61A, The Structure & Interpretation of Computer Programs,  has increased from 1,568 students last fall to 1,762 students this semester.  CS 61A is a popular introductory coding class--a requirement for EECS majors--co-taught by Assistant Teaching Professor Jon DeNero and Prof. Paul Hilfinger.  The live lecture attendance is expected to drop as students discover that lectures are being webcasted three different times for about 600 students each time.  “We have enough funding and enough TAs [over 50] and, as of yesterday, I think we have enough rooms,” DeNero said.  Additional student support is provided by discussion sections, expanded small group-mentoring sections, and pilot online versions of discussions and labs.  Last fall, 60 percent of the students rated their class experience 5/5.

Andrew Ng and Prof. Pieter Abbeel

Heroes of Deep Learning: Andrew Ng interviews Pieter Abbeel

CS alumnus Andrew Ng (Ph.D. '02), one of the world's leading authorities on AI, interviews EE Prof. Pieter Abbeel for Heroes of Deep Learning, an interview series from Ng's cousera course, Deep learning AI.  “Work in Artificial Intelligence in the EECS department at Berkeley involves foundational research in core areas of knowledge representation, reasoning, learning, planning, decision-making, vision, robotics, speech and language processing," Abbeel says. "There are also significant efforts aimed at applying algorithmic advances to applied problems in a range of areas, including bioinformatics, networking and systems, search and information retrieval. There are active collaborations with several groups on campus, including the campus-wide vision sciences group, the information retrieval group at the I-School and the campus-wide computational biology program. There are also connections to a range of research activities in the cognitive sciences, including aspects of psychology, linguistics, and philosophy. Work in this area also involves techniques and tools from statistics, neuroscience, control, optimization, and operations research. Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab (BAIR)."

Katherine Yelick to keynote ACM Europe Conference

CS Prof. Katherine Yelick will give the HPC keynote on Exascale computing at the upcoming ACM Europe Conference. Yelick also serves as Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  The event, which will take place on Sept. 7-8 in Barcelona, Spain, will focus on the themes of Cybersecurity and High Performance Computing.