EECS expands efforts to diversify professoriate by increasing retention of underrepresented undergraduates

The Diversifying LEAdership in the Professoriate (LEAP) Alliance (formerly called the FLIP Alliance), is one of the benefactors of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Computing and Information Technology (CMD-IT) to support the Broadening Participation in Computing Alliance (BPC-A).  UC Berkeley is a founding member of the LEAP Alliance, the goal of which is to increase diversity in the field of computing by expanding the number of professors from underrepresented communities at research Universities.  Diversifying the computing professoriate is critical to providing influential role models, shaping departmental programs and policies, and bringing diverse perspectives into research projects and programs.  As part of the first cohort, Berkeley has been partnering with 10 other institutions to focus on increasing the diversity of graduate student populations.  Thanks to their success, the new grant expands the Alliance to 4 cohorts, and Berkeley is now also part of Cohort 4, which is aimed at diversifying undergraduate student populations.  EECS representatives Prof. Armando Fox and Director of Diversity Audrey Sillers have started a mentoring program across institutions, participate in monthly cohort conference calls, attend many professional development events including two All Hands Meetings per year where cohort universities share best practices, and present what they have learned at the annual CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference.

Tsu-Jae King Liu

Tsu-Jae King Liu wins 2021 IEEE EDS Education Award

EECS Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu has been selected to receive the 2021 IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) Education Award.  This award is presented annually by EDS to honor "an individual who has made distinguished contributions to education within the field of interest of the Electron Devices Society."  Liu, who is currently the dean of Berkeley Engineering, was cited “For outstanding contributions to education in the field of electron devices and achievements on diversity and inclusion.”  She has been a strong advocate for fostering inclusion and respect for women and members of underrepresented minorities in engineering.  She was the first woman to Chair the EECS department (2014), the second woman to join Intel's board of directors (2016), and the first woman elected dean of the Berkeley College of Engineering (2018).  She won the Chang-Lin Tien Leadership in Education Award in 2020.   Liu is also renowned for her research into novel semiconductor devices, non-volatile memory devices, and M/NEMS technology for ultra-low power circuits.  She is probably best known for the development of polycrystalline silicon-germanium thin film technology for applications in integrated circuits and microsystems; and as the co-inventor of the three-dimensional FinFET transistor  which is the design that is used in all leading microprocessor chips today.

Matthew Anderson wins 2021-22 Google-CMD-IT LEAP Fellowship Award

EECS Ph.D. student Matthew Anderson (advisors: Jan Rabaey and Ali Niknejad) has won the Google-CMD-IT LEAP Fellowship Award for 2021-22.  The award recognizes computer science scholars from underrepresented groups who are "positively influencing the direction and perspective of technology."  Anderson, who also won the 2021 Berkeley EECS Eugene L. Lawler Prize, has been a pioneer in the department's anti-racism efforts, including taking a leadership position in the EECS and Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) faculty/staff/student Anti-Racism Committee. His research interests include design of mixed-signal and wireless circuits for bio-sensing, brain machine interfaces, and accelerated neural networks.  This award is part of a joint effort by Google Research, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI), and the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT) Diversifying LEAdership in the Professoriate (LEAP) Alliance to increase the diversity of doctoral graduates in computing.  Anderson is one of three winners of this year's award. Last year's inaugural award was won by EECS grad student Gabriel Fierro.

Yang You wins IEEE CS TCHPC Early Career Researcher Award for Excellence in High Performance Computing

EECS alumnus Yang You (Ph.D. '20, advisor: James Demmel) has won the IEEE Computer Society Technical Consortium on High Performance Computing (TCHPC) Early Career Researcher Award for Excellence in High Performance Computing.  The focus of his research is efficient deep learning on distributed systems. He is known for developing the industry benchmark LARS (Layer-wise Adaptive Rate Scaling) and LAMB (Layer-wise Adaptive Moments for Batch training) optimizers to accelerate machine learning on HPC platforms.  His team broke the world record of ImageNet training speed in 2017 and the world record of BERT training speed in 2019, and his training techniques have been used by many tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and NVIDIA.  You made the Forbes 30 Under 30 2021 Asia list for Healthcare and Science in April and is now a Presidential Young Professor of Computer Science at the National University of Singapore.

Sumit Gulwani wins Max Planck-Humboldt Medal

Sumit Gulwani (Ph.D. '05, advisor: George Necula), now a Partner Research Manager at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, has been selected to receive the 2021 Max Planck-Humboldt Medal for "automatic programming and computational education."  Gulwani, who won the ACM SIGPLAN Doctoral Dissertation award and the MSR Ph.d. Fellowship while at Berkeley, is an expert in program analysis and artificial intelligence.  He shaped the field of program synthesis, which emerged around 2010, by developing algorithms that can efficiently generate computer programs from very few input-output examples, natural-language-based specification, or from just the code and data context. His work made it possible for non-programmers to program tedious, repetitive spreadsheet tasks, and enabled productivity improvements for data scientists and developers for data wrangling and software engineering tasks. Recently, Gulwani has also been using the tools of program synthesis for computer-aided education of pupils and students. Starting from the automatic correction of learners' work in programming education, he further evolved this line of work to detect misunderstandings and give learning feedback and grades, also in subjects like mathematics and language learning. He is also the inventor of the popular Flash Fill feature in Microsoft Excel.  The award will be presented during a ceremony in Berlin on November 3, 2022.

Kathy Yelick named UC Berkeley’s new vice chancellor for research

CS Prof. Katherine Yelick has been named UC Berkeley's next vice chancellor for research.  She will take over the role from EECS Prof. Randy Katz on January 1, 2022.  Yelick is an expert in the field of parallel computing and currently serves as executive associate dean in the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS).  “Kathy Yelick is one of the most talented leaders I have ever worked with — she listens, sees the big picture, and co-creates and implements phenomenal solutions,” said Jennifer Chayes, the CDSS Associate Provost. “I cannot imagine a better vice chancellor for research, and we at CDSS look forward to working with Kathy in her new role.” Yelick spent 11 years in leadership and management roles at Berkeley Lab (LBNL), where she oversaw a variety of initiatives, including the opening of new computing facility Shyh Wang Hall, the founding of the Berkeley Quantum collaboration, the formation of the lab’s machine learning for science initiative, and the launch of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Project.  “UC Berkeley’s research community is uniquely positioned to tackle some of the world’s most important social and scientific problems, from climate change and public health to equity and social justice,” Yelick said. “I think it’s important to bring together diverse expertise and perspectives, and I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues across academic disciplines, from the humanities and social sciences to the physical and biological sciences, engineering, professional schools and beyond.”

Sagnik Bhattacharya and Jay Shenoy named 2022 Siebel Scholars

Graduate students Sagnik Bhattacharya (B.A. CS and Statistics '21) and Jay Shenoy (B.A. CS '21) are recipients of the 2022 Siebel Scholars award.  The Siebel Scholars program annually recognizes "exceptional students from the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering."  Bhattacharya, a 5th Year Masters student and TA for CS 70 (Discrete Math and Probability), is interested in machine learning theory and its applications in data science.  He is currently working with Prof. Jonathan Shewchuk on the theory behind deep linear neural networks.  Shenoy is working on computational imaging with Prof. Ren Ng, as well as problems in autonomous vehicle simulation in the Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems (iCyPhy) group.  Siebel Scholars receive a $35,000 award for their final year of studies. "On average, Siebel Scholars rank in the top five percent of their class, many within the top one percent."

"The Tale of a Success" with Ali Ghodsi

CS Prof. Ali Ghodsi will be the inaugural speaker for "The Tale of a Success" entrepreneurship series, hosted by the Iranian Students of California (ISC) in collaboration with the Berkeley Iranian Students Association in America (ISAA).  Ghodsi is a co-founder and the CEO of enterprise software company Databricks, a start-up which grew out of the AMPLab project that is now valued at $38B. He was one of the original creators of the open source project Apache Spark, and "the ideas from his academic research in resource management and scheduling and data caching have been applied to Apache Mesos and Apache Hadoop."  The lecture series features stories by successful Iranian-American entrepreneurs "who have all built category-defining tech companies."  Ghodsi will give his presentation via Zooom webinar on October 14th.

Boubacar Kanté publishes paper introducing additional control knob for optical phase engineering

EECS Associate Prof. Boubacar Kanté is among the authors of a paper published in the journal Science titled "Plasmonic topological metasurface by encircling an exceptional point."  The paper introduces "an additional degree of freedom to address optical phase engineering by exploiting the topological features of non-Hermitian matrices operating near [the] singular points".   The novel phase, which was shown to be topologically protected, enables the construction of novel polarization dependent and chiral phased arrays and holograms. The ease of implementation together with its compatibility with other phase-addressing mechanisms will enable information multiplexing with antenna arrays.

EPIC Lab receives $2M NSF grant to build tools for criminal justice big datasets

CS Prof. Joseph Hellerstein, and Assistant Profs. Aditya Parmeswaran and Sarah Chasins, are among the principal investigators of a new lab that has just received a $2M grant from the National Science Foundation to make big datasets used by the criminal justice system more accessible to non-technical researchers.  The Effective Programming, Interaction, and Computation with Data (EPIC) Lab will create tools that utilize machine learning, program synthesis, and human-centered design, to improve the ability of public defenders, investigators and paralegals to research police misconduct, judicial decision-making, and related issues, for their cases.  The tools, which will initially be used in San Francisco, Alameda and Sacramento, are designed to address systemic power and resource disparities in California by helping under-resourced practitioners better defend their clients.