News

Campus Shutdown Notice

In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we have decided to close our administrative offices starting Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice.  Cory and Soda Hall are closed.  Classes are being held remotely.  All events in Cory and Soda Halls will either be cancelled or held remotely, and staff will be working remotely during this time.

Researchers develop novel way to shrink light to detect ultra-tiny substances

EE Associate Prof. Boubacar Kanté and his graduate student Junhee Park have been profiled in a Berkeley Engineering article titled "Researchers develop novel way to shrink light to detect ultra-tiny substances."  They are part of a team of researchers who have created light-based technology that can detect biological substances with a molecular mass more than two orders of magnitude smaller than previously possible.  Their device, which would shrink light while exploiting mathematical singularities known as exceptional points (EP), could lead to the development of ultra-sensitive devices that can quickly detect pathogens in human blood and considerably reduce the time needed for patients to get results from blood tests. Their work was published in Nature Physics last week. “Our goal is to overcome the fundamental limitations of optical devices and uncover new physical principles that can enable what was previously thought impossible or very challenging,” Kanté said.

Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing

Computer Science and Global Studies double major, Jake Tibbetts, has published an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled "Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing."  Tibbetts, who is a research assistant at the LBNL Center for Global Security Research and a member of the Berkeley Nuclear Policy Working Group, argues that instead of worrying about winning the quantum supremacy race against China, U.S. policy makers and scholars should shift their focus to a more urgent national security problem: How to maintain the long-term security of secret information secured by existing cryptographic protections, which will fail against an attack by a future quantum computer.  Some possible avenues include deploying honeypots to misdirect and waste the resources of entities attempting to steal classified information; reducing the deployment time for new encryption schemes; and triaging cryptographic updates to systems that communicate and store sensitive and classified information.

New nonvolatile memory cells shrink circuits and speed searches

The work of Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin and grad student Ava Tan is featured in an article in the IEEE Spectrum titled "New Nonvolatile Memories Shrink Circuits That Search Fast."  Salahuddin, a ferroelectric device pioneer, has been conducting work on a new kind of content-addressable memory cell that could speed searches and enable in-memory computing.   The new nonvolatile memory, which is smaller and potentially much more dense than other experimental designs, relies on ferroelectric field-effect transistors (FeFETs), which store data as an electric polarization within the transistor.

Leon Chua wins 2020 Julius Springer Prize

Prof. Emeritus Leon O. Chua has been awarded the 2020 Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics.  Chua has contributed to cellular neural and nonlinear networks, nanoelectronics, nonlinear circuits and systems, nonlinear dynamics, bifurcation theory, and chaos theory. In 1971, he postulated a passive component named the memristor as the 4th passive electronic device derived from fundamental considerations.  37 years later, this device--with as predicted electrical characteristics--was experimentally found by a team at HP in 2008.  The award, which recognizes researchers who have made an outstanding and innovative contribution to the field of applied physics, comes with a prize of $5K and will be presented at the Magnus-Haus in Berlin, Germany on 18 September 2020.  The presentation will be accompanied by a public lecture given by Chua.

Aditya Parameswaran and Sanjam Garg win 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships in Computer Science

Assistant Profs. Aditya Parameswaran and Sanjam Garg hav been selected 2020 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows in Computer Science.  These awards recognize distinguished performance by young American scientists who show "unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field."   Parameswaran develops systems for "human-in-the-loop" data analytics, and Garg's research interests are in cryptography and security.  As two of the nine UC Berkeley researchers to win the highly competitive fellowship this year, they will each receive a $75,000 award.

Alvin Cheung wins VMware Early Career Faculty Award

CS Assistant Prof. Alvin Cheung has won a VMware Early Career Faculty Award.  The award recognizes recently appointed faculty "whose research interests and accomplishments seem poised to have significant impact within the industry and academia."  Cheung's research interests include program analysis, program synthesis, improving database application performance, and building large-scale data systems in general. The award comes with a $50K grant and opportunities to collaborate with VMware.

Covariant-enabled robots go live

Pieter Abbeel, the co-founder, president and chief scientist of the start-up Covariant, is featured in a number of articles appearing in major publications this week.  The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, the Verge, the MIT Technology Review, and the IEEE Spectrum all feature articles about robots trained using Covariant's AI technologies that will be deployed  to perform complex tasks in live warehouse environments in the next few years.  Covariant uses deep reinforcement learning techniques to train robots to distinguish between materials that are particularly difficult to discern through a lens, like highly reflective metallic surfaces, transparent plastics, and easily deformable surfaces like cloth and polypropylene, with an unparalleled 99% accuracy.

Xinyun Chen wins 2020 Facebook Fellowship

Third year CS graduate student Xinyun Chen (advisor: Dawn Song) has been awarded a 2020 Facebook Fellowship.  Chen was recognized in the Machine Learning category for her work in neural program synthesis and adversarial machine learning.  Her goal is to increase the accessibility of programming to general users, and enhance the security and trustworthiness of machine learning models.   Chen has interned at both Facebook AI Research and Google Brain.

Jake Tibbetts and SIGNAL win 2019 SGS&C Best Student Game

Computer Science and Global Studies double major, Jake Tibbetts, and the UC Berkeley Project on Nuclear Gaming (PONG) were awarded Best Student Game at the 2019 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge (SGS&C) for their work on SIGNAL.  SIGNAL is an online three-player experimental wargame in which three countries, some armed with nuclear weapons, attempt to achieve national goals through diplomacy and conflict.  It is designed to help understand the impact of emerging technologies on strategic stability and nuclear risk reduction. Tibbetts, who specializes in Peace and Conflict Studies, is a member of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium (NSSC), a five-year program to develop a new generation of laboratory-integrated nuclear experts.  SGS&C is the premier venue for recognition of excellence in the field of Serious Games development.

RISC-V grows globally as an alternative to Arm

RISC-V, a royalty-free microprocessor architecture first developed at Berkeley, is emerging as a rival to Arm, the most successful microchip architecture in the world.   The first RISC-V chip was built in 2011 as part of the open source Peer Lab Project by CS Prof. and alumnus Krste Asanović (Ph.D. '98, advisor: John Wawrzynek), CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson, and CS alumni Andrew Waterman (M.S. 11/Ph.D. '16, advisors: David Patterson/Krste Asanović) and Yunsup Lee (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '16, advisor: Krste Asanović).  Asanović, Waterman and Lee went on to found SiFive, "the first fabless semiconductor company to build customized silicon on RISC-V."   Asanović explains that the architecture has gained momentum "not because it's 10% faster. It's because it's a new business model."  Chip designers traditionally have to find a seller to make their microprocessors, but now designers can select RISC-V and "all suppliers compete for your business.  You can add your own extensions without obtaining permission" or paying license fees.