News

Prasad Raghavendra wins inaugural NAS Michael and Sheila Held Prize

CS Associate Prof. Prasad Raghavendra has won the inaugural Michael and Sheila Held Prize.  The award, sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), honors  outstanding, innovative, creative, and influential research in the areas of combinatorial and discrete optimization, or related parts of computer science, such as the design and analysis of algorithms and complexity theory.  Raghavendra and co-recipient David Steurer are being recognized "For a body of work which revolutionizes our understanding of optimization and complexity. It better explains the exact limits to efficient approximation of NP-hard problems. It provides better understanding of the computational assumptions underlying hardness of approximation. And it develops a structure theory of linear and semi-definite programming and their hierarchies, which leads to new algorithms and new lower bounds."  The prize comes with $100,000 and will be presented at the NAS annual meeting in April.

Neil Warren elevated to Principal Attorney at Fish & Richardson

Alumnus Neil Warren (B.S. '07), a member of both Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu, has been elevated to Principal Attorney at Fish & Richardson, a top patent litigation firm.  Warren received his J.D. from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law in '10 and focuses his practice on both federal district court litigation and practice before the PTAB with client technologies relating to semiconductors, integrated circuits, medical devices, and computer software.

Ben Recht wins NIPS Test of Time Award

Prof. Ben Recht has won the Neural Information Processing System (NIPS) 2017 Test of Time Award for a paper he co-wrote with Ali Rahimi in 2007 titled "Random Features for Large-Scale Kernel Machines."   Deep learning, which involves stacking many neural networks on top of one another to learn the features of giant databases and develop clever algorithms, is being used to carry out more and more tasks in an expanding number of areas.  In their acceptance speech at the NIPS conference, Recht and Rahimi posited that more theory is needed to understand the state-of-the-art empirical performance of deep learning, and called for simple theorems and simple, easily reproducible experiments.  "We are building systems that govern healthcare and mediate our civic dialogue, we influence elections," said Rahimi. "I would like to live in a society where systems are built on top of verifiable, rigorous thorough knowledge and not alchemy."

Four EECS undergraduate researchers recognized by CRA

All four EECS students nominated for this year's Computing Research Association (CRA) Undergraduate Researcher Award were recognized by the selection committee.  Senior CS/Math major Garrett Thomas (nominated by Pieter Abbeel) and EECS junior Peter Manohar (nominated by Alessandro Chiesa) were named as finalists.  Senior CS major Siqi Liu (nominated by Sanjam Garg) and CS/Statistics/Math senior Tianhe Yu (nominated by Sergey Levine and Pieter Abbeel) merited honorable mentions.  This award program recognizes undergraduate students in North American universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research.

Ming Lin Named Chair of UMD Department of Computer Science

EECS alumna Ming C. Lin (B.S./M.S./Ph.D. '86-'93) has been named Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland (UMD).  Lin,  a noted educator and expert in virtual reality, computer graphics and robotics, will assume the role of Elizabeth Stevinson Iribe Chair of Computer Science with a joint appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). The department includes more than 50 tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 11 full-time professional track instructional faculty members. “One of my primary goals is to ensure that our students will be successful in their careers when they graduate,” Lin said. “They are going to be the leaders in a society where practically every aspect of daily life is enabled and impacted by computing. Giving them the knowledge and skills to excel in a technology-empowered world is a mission I take very seriously.”

Claire Tomlin and Kris Pister win Berkeley Outstanding Advising Faculty Awards

EE Profs. Claire Tomlin and Kristofer Pister have won Outstanding Advising Faculty Awards from Berkeley Advising Matters.  These awards are presented to administrators, directors, managers, faculty advisors or deans who are making a significant positive impact on the students and programs they support.  The selection criteria includes "advising excellence and creativity consistent with the Berkeley vision for advising in that they promote student learning, performance, achievement, progress and success, expand opportunities, support engagement, growth and discovery, wellness and connectedness."  Recipients will be honored at an annual ceremony on December 18th at the Alumni House.

Rikky Muller flanked by Wang and Grubb

Daniel Grubb and Ruocheng Wang win EE140/240A Keysight design competition

Daniel Grubb (EE140) and Ruocheng Wang (EE240A) have won an Analog Integrated Circuits I class design competition sponsored by Keysight technologies. The students designed low-power and high-speed LCD display drivers for a smartwatch display for the classes taught by Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller. Competition finalists gave presentations to a panel of judges that included three Berkeley alumni who are now Keysight engineers.  Grubb and Wang won hand-held digital multimeters generously donated by Keysight.

Harold Pimentel selected as HHMI Hanna H. Gray Fellow

CS alumnus Harold Pimentel (Ph.D. '16, advisor: Lior Pachter), now a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, has been chosen as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Hanna H. Gray Fellow.  The goal of the fellows program is to "recruit and retain individuals who are from gender, racial, ethnic, and other groups underrepresented in the life sciences, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, early in their careers."  Pimentel is researching what happens when cells fail to prune RNA copies of genes. These copies contain interrupting sequences called introns that are usually spliced out before an RNA molecule serves as a template for protein production. Neglecting to trim away introns is sometimes associated with abnormal cellular behavior and disease. Pimentel plans to use computational methods he developed to analyze a vast set of RNAs in healthy and cancerous tissues to discover whether lingering introns play a part in cancer.   He says he will use the $1.4M award to start a new lab.

EECS advisors at CS Education Day

EECS Departmental Advising staff win 2017 Excellence in Advising Team Award

EECS Center for Student Affairs (CSA) undergraduate advisers Cindy Conners, Charlene Hughes, Carol Marshall, Andrea Mejia Valencia, Nicole McIntyre, Lydia Raya, Michael-David Sasson, and Lily Zhang, have won the UC Berkeley Excellence in Advising 2017 Team Award.  The team award recognizes exceptional performance and innovation in advising on campus and is presented to members of a group who have made a significant positive impact on the students and programs they support. The achievements of the EECS team are particularly impressive in a time of unprecedented growth that saw their advising pool expand to include over 2,850 students.

Tsu-Jae King Liu and Eli Yablonovitch named NAI Fellows

Profs. Tsu-Jae King Liu and Eli Yablonovitch have been named 2017 Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).  Fellowships are awarded to those who “have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.”  King Liu, the TSMC Distinguished Professor in Microelectronics, is recognized for her seminal work in polycrystalline silicon-germanium thin films and thin-film transistor technology, development of the FinFET, and contributions to nanoscale MOS transistors, memory devices, and MEMs devices.  Yablonovitch, who coined the term "photonic crystal," is regarded as a Father of the Photonic BandGap concept.