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.

Mike Stonebraker wins 2020 C&C Prize

EECS Prof. Emeritus Michael Stonebraker has won the prestigious NEC Computers and Communications (C&C) Prize "For Pioneering Contributions to Relational Database Systems." The prize is awarded "to distinguished persons in recognition of outstanding contributions to research and development and/or pioneering work in the fields of semiconductors, computers, and/or telecommunications and in their integrated technologies."  In the early 1970's, Stonebraker and Prof. Eugene Wong began researching Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS), which culminated in the creation of the Interactive Graphics and Retrieval System (INGRES), a practical and efficient implementation of the relational model running on Unix-based DEC machines.  It included a number of key ideas still widely used today, including B-trees, primary-copy replication, the query rewrite approach to views and integrity constraints, and the idea of rules/triggers for integrity checking in an RDBMS.  Stonebraker, Wong, and Prof. Larry Rowe, founded a startup called Relational Technology, Inc. (renamed Ingres Corporation), which they sold to Computer Associates in the early 1990's for $311M.  Stonebraker's student, Robert Epstein (Ph.D. '80), founded the startup Sybase, which created the code used as a basis for the Microsoft SQL Server.  Stonebraker also created Postgres in the late 1980's, which made it easier for programmers to modify or add to the optimizer, query language, runtime, and indexing frameworks.  It broadened the commercial database market by improving both database programmability and performance, making it possible to push large portions of a number of applications inside the database, including geographic information systems and time series processing.  Stonebraker retired from Berkeley in 2000 to found more companies and become an adjunct professor at MIT.  His achievements have been recognized with an IEEE John von Neumann Medal in 2005, ACM A.M. Turing Award in 2014, and ACM SIGMOD Systems Award in 2015.

Berkeley Turing laureates take stand to protest immigration policies

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson has organized 24 fellow winners of the prestigious ACM A.M. Turing Award, including EECS Prof. Shafi Goldwasser and Profs. Emeritus Manuel Blum, Richard Karp, and Michael Stonebraker, to collectively endorse a presidential candidate as a protest against current government policies that restrict Chinese nationals from studying at American universities. The time allotment on Chinese student visas was reduced from five years to one in 2018 in response to National Intelligence that the nature of collaborative academic environments made institutions vulnerable to espionage by giving foreign powers open access to sensitive research and vanguard technologies.  The laureates penned an open letter in which they asserted that these immigration policies threaten the future of computer research in the United States and could do long-term damage to the tech industry, a critical pillar of America’s economy.  A number of large tech companies, including Google and Facebook, have also spoken out against these immigration policies.  “The most brilliant people in the world want to come here and be grad students,” said Patterson during a group interview with the New York Times in which he stated that he was speaking as a private citizen.  “But now they are being discouraged from coming here, and many are going elsewhere.”

Ali Niknejad wins SIA 2020 University Research Award

EE alumnus and Prof.  Ali Niknejad (M.S. '97 / Ph.D. '00, advisor:  Robert G. Meyer ) has been selected to receive a Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) 2020 University Research Award.  This award recognizes lifetime research contributions to the U.S. semiconductor industry by university faculty.  Niknejad is faculty director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC), co-founder of HMicro, chief technologist at LifeSignals, and the inventor of the REACH™ technology, which has the potential to deliver robust wireless solutions to the healthcare industry. His general research interests lie within the area of wireless communications and biomedical sensors and imaging. His focus areas of his research include analog, RF, mixed-signal, mm-wave circuits, device physics and compact modeling, and numerical techniques in electromagnetics.

Kathy Yelick wins 2020 Berkeley Lab Citation for Exceptional Achievement

EECS Prof. Katherine Yelick has won The Berkeley Lab Citation, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Director's Award for Exceptional Achievement which "honors extraordinary achievement(s) in broad categories of science and operations, with special focus on service to the Lab and/or the DOE National Lab Complex."  Yelick was cited for "extraordinary leadership both within the Lab and at the national level, including her significant role in developing DOE strategy in Exascale and Quantum Computing, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence."  Yelick is the Senior Advisor on Computing at LBNL and the Associate Dean for Research in UC Berkeley's new Division of Computing, Data Science and Society (CDSS).  She was the Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences at LBNL from 2010 through 2019, and led the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) prior to that.  Her research focuses on high performance computing, programming languages, compilers, parallel algorithms, and automatic performance tuning. She currently leads the ExaBiome project on scalable tools for analyzing microbial data and co-leads the Berkeley Benchmarking and Optimization (Bebop) group.

Sophia Shao and Alp Sipahigil win Berkeley Engineering faculty fellowships

New EECS Assistant Profs. Sophia Shao and Alp Sipahigil have received Engineering faculty fellowships, which will help fund the first five years of their projects and labs at Berkeley.   The fellowships are sponsored by Berkeley Engineering alumni and friends as part of a $1.25M program that will be shared among five new faculty.  Shao, who began teaching at Berkeley in 2019, studies computer architecture with a special focus on specialized accelerator, heterogeneous architecture and agile VLSI design methodology.  Sipahigil, who will arrive in spring 2021 from Caltech, has been focused on using nanoscale phononic and photonic structures to bring new functionalities to superconducting quantum circuits.

Eliahu Jury has passed away

EECS Prof. Emeritus and control systems pioneer, Eliahu Ibrahim Jury, who was active in the department from 1954 to 1981, passed away on September 20th at the age of 97.  Jury was born in Baghdad, Iraq, of Jewish parentage, and went to college first in Beirut, then in Palestine, where he obtained his undergraduate degree in 1947.  He moved to the U.S. to attend graduate school, earning an M.S. from Harvard and an Sc.D. from Columbia in electrical engineering in 1953 (the first time this degree was conferred at Columbia).  His dissertation, "Analysis and Synthesis of Sampled-Data Control Systems," was one of the first documents to deal with the synthesis of sampled-data feedback systems.  He joined his friend Lotfi Zadeh at UC Berkeley the following year, and was made full professor in 1964.  During his 28 years at Berkeley, Jury flourished, making a number of groundbreaking contributions to the field of discrete-time systems and control, including the Jury stability table, his authoritative book "Theory and Application of the z -Transform Method," and the theory of inners, which made of the cover of the July 1975 issue of the Proceedings of the IEEE.  He received the American Society of Engineers (ASME) Rufus Oldenburger Medal, for lifetime achievements in automatic control, in 1986.  He retired from Berkeley in 1981, and moved to Florida where he joined the faculty at the University of Miami.  The EECS Eliahu Jury Award, which is presented to graduate students or recent alumni "for outstanding achievement in the area of systems, communications, control, or signal processing," is named in his honor.

Alessandro Chiesa receives 2020 Okawa Research Grant

CS Assistant Prof. Alessandro Chiesa has been selected as a 2020 Okawa Foundation Research Grant recipient for his work on the "Foundations of Quantum and Non-Signaling Proofs (Post-Quantum Zero-Knowledge Proofs for Secure Distributed Systems)."  Okawa Research Grants are awarded to Asian and American scholars for studies and analyses in the fields of information and telecommunications.  Winners receive a $10K prize which is usually awarded in an autumn ceremony in San Francisco, but the event has been cancelled this year because of COVID-19.

Boubacar Kanté wins 2020 Moore Inventor Fellowship

EECS Associate Prof. Boubacar Kanté has been selected by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to be among its 2020 cohort of Moore Inventor Fellows. The fellowship supports "scientist-inventors who create new tools and technologies with a high potential" to accelerate progress in scientific discovery, environmental conservation and patient care.  Kanté's pioneering work in quantum topological optics includes the invention of the world’s first topological light sources and lasers.   The award will total $825,000 over three years to fund the invention of a new quantum platform that will develop compact sources for robust and energy efficient computing, sensing and imaging using light.

Ana Claudia Arias to participate in new $20M AI food systems research institute

EECS Prof. Ana Claudia Arias has been selected to participate in a new food systems research institute funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF),  US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  The award of $20M over five years will aim to improve US food systems to address issues such as pandemic-driven food system security and safety; improving crop yield, quality and nutrition; decreasing energy and water resource consumption; and increasing production and eliminating food waste.  The objective of the new USDA-NIFA Institute for Artificial Intelligence for Next-Generation Food Systems (AIFS) will focus on the creation of digital replicas of complex food systems, so-called “digital twins,” which can be safely manipulated and optimized in a virtual world and deployed in the physical world afterwards, reducing costs of experiments and accelerating development of new technologies.  A team of ten researchers from the UC Berkeley Next Generation Food Systems Center will combine forces with researchers from five other institutions including UC Davis, Cornell, UIUC, UC ANR, and the USDA, to staff the new center.

Michael Jordan and the implications of algorithmic thinking

CS Prof. Michael I. Jordan is featured in This Week in Machine Learning & AI (TWIML AI) Podcast episode #407 titled "What are the Implications of Algorithmic Thinking? with Michael I. Jordan."   He discusses his current exploration into the intersection of economics and AI, and how machine learning systems could be used to create value and empowerment across many industries through “markets.”  The interview also touches on the potential of “interacting learning systems” at scale, the valuation of data, and the commoditization of human knowledge into computational systems.  Jordan's career, and the ways it has been influenced by other fields like philosophy, is also explored.  Jordan received the 2020 IEEE John von Neumann Medal for "outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology" earlier this year.