News

Urmila Mahadev Solves Quantum Verification Problem

CS postdoctoral researcher Urmila Mahadev (advisor: Umesh Vazirani) has come up with an interactive protocol by which users with no quantum powers of their own can employ cryptography to put a harness on a quantum computer and drive it wherever they want, with the certainty that the quantum computer is following their orders.  Her work, which addressed the question "How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?" was awarded the “best paper” and “best student paper” prizes when it was presented at the Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science this month.  CIT computer scientistThomas Vidick calls her result “one of the most outstanding ideas to have emerged at the interface of quantum computing and theoretical computer science in recent years.”

Celebrating Women in STEM: Video Game Designer Carol Shaw

EECS alumna Carol Shaw (EE B.S. '77/CS M.S. '78), one of the first female industrial video grame designers, is the subject of a University of Missouri, Kansas City News article celebrating women in STEM.   Shaw, who was always drawn to engineering and math, used punch cards and Fortran for her first programming class at Cal.  She became one of the first professional female video game developers when she joined Atari after graduating 1978.  in 1980, Shaw’s “Tic-Tac-Toe” became the first commercially released video game designed by a woman. She developed a scrolling format for her second game, "River Raid," while working at Activision.   It won several awards, including Inforworld’s Best Action Game and Best Atari 8-bit Game of the Year, when it was released in 1982.  Vintage Computing and Gaming magazine said that River Raid is "almost universally regarded as a masterpiece of game design."

Today's Entrepreneur: Allen Tsai

EECS alumnus Allen Tsai (B.S. '00), the founder of startup Pani,  is profiled in the "Today's Entrepreneur" column for startup and investor network, Vator.   Pani is a smart-home company that builds products to help consumers and utilities measure, monitor, and recycle water.  It recently raised $1 million in seed  funding which it will use to "acquire talent and drive product development."   Prior to Pani, Tsai co-founded Azul Mobile and Ekata Systems.  One of the top lessons he learned as an entreprenur is "It is all about the people. Hire people who are smarter than you and empower them to do their best work. If you are the smartest person in the room, there's a problem."

Deborah Estrin receives MacArthur ‘genius’ award

2008 Distinguished CS Alumna Deborah Estrin (B.S. EECS  '80) has been awarded a 2018 'genius' grant from the the MacArthur Foundation.  Winners are chosen for "solving long-standing scientific and mathematical problems, pushing art forms into new and emerging territories, and addressing the urgent needs of under-resourced communities."  Estrin completed her graduate work at MIT before becoming a professor at USC, UCLA, and eventually Cornell Tech in New York, where she is currently Associate Dean.  She designs "open-source platforms that leverage mobile devices and data to address socio-technological challenges such as personal health management."  She was among the first to ascertain the potential of using the digital traces of people's daily lives for participatory mobile health.

Turnitin Acquires Gradescope

Turnitin, a leading provider of academic integrity and writing solutions, has acquired Gradescope, a class grading platform co-founded by CS Prof. Pieter Abbeel and alumni Arjun Singh (B.S. EECS '10/Ph.D. CS '16), Sergey Karayev (CS Ph.D. '15), and Ibrahim Awwal (EECS B.S. '12/M.S. '15).   The platform reduces the time associated with grading in college courses via an optimized online workflow and clever application of artificial intelligence. Developed at Cal when the alumni were teaching assistants, Gradescope is now used in most CS, Math, and Chemistry classes at Berkeley, and has quickly been adopted at many top higher-ed institutions, including half of all Ivy League schools, as well as at over twenty-five leading R1 universities. “Bringing Gradescope into the Turnitin family allows us to realize our mission across more subjects, with more instructors and students than ever before. Gradescope represents Turnitin’s first formal foray into STEM education, an area of increasing importance, that must also be held to high standards of academic integrity," said Turnitin CEO Chris Caren.

Corelight wins 2018 Network Security Innovation Award

Corelight, a cybersecurity startup co-founded by CS Prof. Vern Paxson, has won the 2018 Network Security Innovation Award from CyberSecurity Breakthrough, an independent organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global information security market.  Corelight delivers "network visibility solutions for cybersecurity" by merging the power of an open source framework called Bro with a suite of enterprise features to create a line of sensors.  These sensors make Bro dramatically easier to deploy in physical and virtual enterprise environments.  The CyberSecurity Breakthrough Awards recognize "the world's best information security companies, products and people."

UC Berkeley named #2 Blockchain University by CoinDesk

UC Berkeley is ranked #2 on CoinDesk's list of Top 10 Blockchain Universities.  Berkeley boasts "one of the most vibrant on-campus communities in the country. The student organization Blockchain@Berkeley both educates and builds products, performing paid consulting work for major companies like Airbus and Qualcomm. Berkeley's law and business schools also boast their own blockchain related clubs."   Berkeley also offers interdisciplinary courses like "Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law," which is taught by faculty from different disciplines.  CoinDesk says this course"further cements Berkeley’s reputation as a leading educator." As the only public university on the list, Berkeley "demonstrates that universities can stay at forefront of emerging technologies without charging sky-high tuitions." 

Joint UC Berkeley-UP Diliman mobile network project wins ISIF Asia Community Networks Award

A  low-cost community cellular networks project, run jointly by UC Berkeley (PI: CS Prof. Eric Brewer) and the University of Philippines-Diliman (UP-D), won the 2018 Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia) Community Networks Award.  “Village Base Station-Connecting Communities through Mobile Networks” (VBTS-CoCoMoNets) establishes community cellular networks (CCNs) in rural sites in the Philippines. CCNs are low-power, low-cost 2G base stations that enable users to make basic calls and text in areas that traditional commercial cellular networks cannot reach. The ISIF awards support creative internet solutions to development needs in the Asia Pacific in an effort to promote positive social and economic development.

Jeffrey Bokor awarded $1M to explore quantum technology

EE Professor Jeffrey Bokor, along with co-PI's in Physics and Chemistry, were awarded a $1 million grant to explore a completely new qubit system composed of graphene nanoribbins (GNR), which have the potential for transformative quantum behavior that has never been tested. The project also has a significant educational component and could result in new quantum scientists being trained in how to combine chemistry, material science, and engineering in new interdisciplinary ways.  "The quantum revolution is about expanding the definition of what’s possible for the technology of tomorrow," said NSF Director France Córdova. “NSF-supported researchers are working to deepen our understanding of quantum mechanics and apply that knowledge to create world-changing applications. These new investments will position the U.S. to be a global leader in quantum research and development and help train the next generation of quantum researchers.”

The grant is a part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) award of $31 million for fundamental quantum research that will enable the United States to lead a newquantum technology revolution. The awards were announced as NSF joins other federal agencies (most notably with the DoE and Berkeley Lab) and private partners at a White House summit on quantum information science on Sept. 24th.

Ruzena Bajcsy celebrated with bobblehead at 2018 Grace Hopper Conference

The life and career of EECS Prof. Ruzena Bajcsy were celebrated with a commemorative bobblehead doll in her image at the 2018 Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in Houston, Texas, last week.  Bajcsy was recognized alongside Engineering and CS legends Grace Hopper, Annie Easley, and Mae Jemison by GHC sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance.  Bajcsy is renowned for her innovations in robotics and computer vision, specifically the development of improved robotic perception and the creation of better methods to analyze medical images.  In addition to founding the General Robotics and Active Sensory Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at UPenn, she headed the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate from 1999–2001, with authority over a $500 million budget.