Alisha Menon will study ways to help the brain talk to computers

Incoming graduate student Alisha Menon is featured in a community post on the Beaverton Patch titled "Brilliant Teen Seeks PhD At UC Berkeley With STEM Award."  Menon graduated from Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), a statewide online public high school, at age 16 and took only 3 years to complete her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.  She will attend Berkeley in the fall on an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, studying Control, Intelligent Systems, and Robotics (CIR).  "I see the potential for infinite applications - from prosthetics controlled directly by neural signals to brain-computer interfaces that will eliminate the need for secondary interaction tools like keyboards," Menon said. "There are so many directions (that) technology that interacts with the brain can go. Some of these ideas are currently being developed such as virtual reality/artificial reality interfaces, rehabilitation systems, and deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's. Other ideas are more futuristic such as 'typing' using neural signals. I can't wait to be a part of this field as it grows and develops!"

Some EECS contributions to the history of Berkeley's scientific endeavors

Some of the achievements of members of the EECS department are highlighted in a Daily Cal article titled "From cyclotrons to wetsuits: A brief history of UC Berkeley’s scientific endeavors. The article covers  Unix, which was developed by EE alumnus Kenneth Thompson (B.S.‘65/M.S.‘66) in 1969, and RISC, a project directed by CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson in 1981.  Prof. Randy Katz, who is currently Berkeley's Vice Chancellor for Research, says “The magic of Berkeley is that we are (a) public institution. Our research agenda is about how the work we do impacts society.”

Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye builds VR sharing platform

CS alumnus Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye (M.S. '12, advisor: Björn Hartmann) is profiled in an ejinsight article titled "Former Silicon Valley executives build VR version of YouTube."  In 2016, Ye gave up his lucrative job with Sierra Ventures in Silicon Valley to establish VeeR VR, a Virtual Reality content sharing platform in China.  The platform allows the growing number of content-creating VR enthusiasts to share their work with viewers via the web and mobile devices. In less than two years, the company has grown to 70 employees, while the number of its registered users around the globe has reached more than 20 million.  Customers include corporate users such as travel companies, news agencies, restaurants, and hotels.

Stuart Russell shares his favorite algorithms

CS Prof. Stuart Russell is one of four top experts asked by The Next Web (TNW) "which algorithms they think made the biggest contribution to artificial intelligence and science in general?"  Russell chose Lookahead and Backchaining, which he described as "fundamental modes of decision making.”  Other experts chose Gradient Descent, Convolutional Networks, and Forward-backward.

Blockchain’s Energy Web Foundation names Hervé Touati as first CEO

CS alumnus Hervé Touati (Ph.D. '90, advisor: Robert Brayton) has been named the first CEO of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a global nonprofit focused on "unleashing blockchain’s potential to accelerate the transition to a decentralized, democratized, decarbonized, and resilient energy system."  EWF, the world's largest energy blockchain consortium (with a  network of more than 70 affiliates), is building the shared, digital infrastructure—an open-source, scalable blockchain platform—specifically designed for the energy sector’s regulatory, operational, and market needs.  Touati, who comes to the EWF from Shell, is an energy industry veteran with more than two decades of executive-level experience.

Joe Hellerstein on the must-haves of a modern data prep platform

CS Prof. Joseph Hellerstein is the subject of a feature in InsideBigData titled "The Must-Haves of a Modern Data Prep Platform."  Hellerstein is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Trifacta, a company that develops data wrangling software for data exploration and self-service data preparation for analysis.  he discusses how the challenge of data preparation sits squarely between the growth of BI and visualization tools and the specific data needed to fuel them.  Efficient data preparation is key to alleviating new demand from business users. The article offers three key requirements that a data preparation platform should have.  Hellerstein's career in research and industry has focused on data-centric systems and the way they drive computing. Fortune Magazine included him in their list of 50 smartest people in technology , and MIT’s Technology Review magazine included his work on th eir TR10 list of the 10 technologies “most likely to change our world.”

Jun-Yan Zhu wins ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

CS alumnus Jun-Yan Zhu (Ph.D. '17, advisor: Alexei Efros) has won the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Zhu is a pioneer in the use of modern machine learning in computer graphics. His dissertation is arguably the first to systematically attack the problem of natural image synthesis using deep neural networks. As such, his work has already had an enormous impact on the field, with several of his contributions, most notably CycleGAN, becoming widely-used tools not just for researchers in computer graphics and beyond, but also for visual artists.

Constantinos Daskalakis wins Rolf Nevanlinna Prize

CS alumnus Constantinos Daskalakis (Ph.D. '08, advisor: Christos Papadimitriou) has won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize at the International Congress of Mathematicians, one of the highest awards in theoretical computer science.  Daskalakis, who is currently a professor at MIT,  was cited for his work on game theory and machine learning.  He is profiled in a Quanta Magazine article titled "A Poet of Computation Who Uncovers Distant Truths," that describes his fruitful time at Berkeley with Papadimitriou.

How Robot Hands Are Evolving to Do What Ours Can

The New York Times has published a front page article featuring research being done in the EECS department.  "How Robot Hands Are
Evolving to Do What Ours Can" details how robotic hands could once only do what vast teams of engineers programmed them to do but--thanks to research being done at places like Berkeley--can now learn more complex tasks on their own.  The article breaks tasks down into 5 categories, 4 of which are illustrated by work being done in Prof. Ken Goldberg's AUTOLAB:  gripping, picking, bed-making, and pushing.    Although these tasks are limited, the machine learning methods that drive these systems point to continued progress in the years to come.

Pieter Abbeel stresses cooperation key to advancing AI application

CS. Prof. Pieter Abbeel is the subject of a China Daily article titled "Professor stresses cooperation key to advancing AI application."  Abbeel attended the China-US Entrepreneur and Investment Summit  in Santa Clara where he discussed recent advances and trends in artificial intelligence (AI) and applications in robotic automation, calling for more collaboration worldwide in order to make robots ultimately serve the people.  "The articles of our research findings are in archives," he said.  "Anyone can read it. There are also three important global deep-learning conferences so you can present your work and meet people in the AI field worldwide."