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.

RISC-V grows globally as an alternative to Arm

RISC-V, a royalty-free microprocessor architecture first developed at Berkeley, is emerging as a rival to Arm, the most successful microchip architecture in the world.   The first RISC-V chip was built in 2011 as part of the open source Peer Lab Project by CS Prof. and alumnus Krste Asanović (Ph.D. '98, advisor: John Wawrzynek), CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson, and CS alumni Andrew Waterman (M.S. 11/Ph.D. '16, advisors: David Patterson/Krste Asanović) and Yunsup Lee (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '16, advisor: Krste Asanović).  Asanović, Waterman and Lee went on to found SiFive, "the first fabless semiconductor company to build customized silicon on RISC-V."   Asanović explains that the architecture has gained momentum "not because it's 10% faster. It's because it's a new business model."  Chip designers traditionally have to find a seller to make their microprocessors, but now designers can select RISC-V and "all suppliers compete for your business.  You can add your own extensions without obtaining permission" or paying license fees.

Trevor Darrell joins checkout-free company Grabango

EECS Prof. Trevor Darrell has been appointed chief scientist at Grabango, a provider of checkout-free technology for brick-and-mortar stores.  Darrell is an expert in computer vision, machine learning and perception-based human computer interfaces, and leads the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (BAIR).  He helped develop Convolutional Architecture for Fast Feature Embedding (Caffe), a deep-learning framework used by computer vision researchers around the world.  Grabango announced earlier this year that it had signed four separate agreements with multibillion-dollar retail partners, presiding over a combined 29-million square feet of shopping space.

NTT Research partners with the Simons Institute

NTT Research has announced that it has entered into a three-year Industrial Partnership with the UC Berkeley Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.  The partnership, which will extend from September  2019 through August  2021, will enable NTT Research’s Cryptography and Information Security (CIS) Lab to join all Simons Institute events, invite select Simons program participants and fellows to one-day visits to NTT Research, and hold a dedicated desk in the Calvin Lab.  The Simons Institute brings the world’s top theoretical computer scientists together with the next generation of scholars to explore problems about the nature and limits of computation.

Ming Wu wins 2020 IEEE EDS Robert Bosch MEMS Award

EE Prof. Ming Wu has been named the 2020 recipient of the IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) Robert Bosch Micro and Nano Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) Award.  The award was established in 2014 "to recognize and honor advances in the invention, design, and/or fabrication of micro- or nano- electromechanical systems and/or devices" with the proviso that individual contributions "be innovative and useful for practical applications."  Wu was selected "For pioneering contributions in MEMS optical switches and optoelectronic tweezers.”

Corelight raises $50m for network traffic analysis in the cloud

Corelight, a start-up founded by CS Prof. Vern Paxson, has secured an additional $50 million in Series C financing for its network traffic analysis (NTA) solutions for cybersecurity.  The company has raised a total of $84 million to date, with investment from General Catalyst, Accel, Osage University Partners and Riverbed Technology Co-founder (and former Berkeley CS professor) Steve McCanne. It has more than doubled in size since its Series B in September 2018.  Corelight  is built on an open source framework called Zeek (formerly Bro), which Paxson began developing in 1995.  Zeek is now widely regarded as the gold standard for both network security management (NSM) and NTA, and has been deployed by thousands of organizations around the world.

Pragya Kushwaha wins 2019 IEEE EDS Early Career Award

EECS Postdoctoral researcher Pragya Kushwaha, currently working with Prof. Chenming Hu and Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin in the Berkeley Short-channel IGFET Model (BSIM) group, has won a prestigious 2019 IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) Early Career Award.  This award is presented annually to an IEEE EDS member who has made early career contributions to the field.  Kushwaha develops compact models for emerging electronic devices, now considered the industry standard.  The models are used by circuit designers to predict device behavior (i.e., current, power, and noise) to simulate their circuits during design before fabrication. This honor was previously won by BSAC Postdoc Chen Yang in 2010.

Feng Zhou helping NetEase find new life beyond games

CS alumnus Feng Zhou (Ph.D. '07, advisor: Eric Brewer) is the subject of a Bloomberg article titled "The U.S.-trained coder is helping NetEase find new life beyond games."  To help the company remain competitive, NetEase Youdao CEO Zhou is creating an all-in-one learning platform to tap the lucrative overlap between education and technology.  Addressing the pressure many Chinese families feel to prepare children for college entrance exams starting as early as Kindergarten, Zhou says courses can be taught through high-speed live-streaming, enabling smooth communication between teacher and student. Artificial intelligence-powered tutors can grade homework and use data to evaluate student test results.  “That’s what we have always been good at,” said Zhou. “Almost every industry in China has been transformed by the internet, but that’s not yet the case for education.”

Feisal Jaffer named global head of Hilton’s LXR Hotels and Resorts

EECS alumnus Feisal Jaffer (B.S. '97) is the new global head for Hilton’s luxury LXR Hotels and Resorts brand. He previous held positions as senior vice president of business development for Capella Hotel Group, part of Pontiac Land Group, and Pontiac’s senior vice president for acquisitions and development.  Hilton launched the LXR brand in 2018, which comprises independent hotels in resort locations.

Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley

Berkeley Remix Podcast Season 4, Episode 2, explores the contributions of UC Berkeley Engineering to the rise of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley in the 1960s and 70s.   “Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley”  focuses on the development of SPICE, the first widely used design program for prototyping microchips, which was originally designed by and for students.  The software spread "like lightning" in part because Berkeley, as a public institution, made it available free of charge. The world has not been the same since.  The podcast features audio from interviews with Prof. Emeritus  Paul Gray  and alumnus Laurence Nagel (B.S. '69/M.S. '70/Ph.D. '75, advisor: Donald Pederson), CEO of Omega Enterprises, and former senior manager at Bell Laboratories.

Hany Farid and Alexei Efros team up with Facebook to improve accountability

EECS Profs. Hany Farid and Alexei Efros will be working with Facebook to help develop new methods to improve detection of fake content, fake news and misinformation campaigns. Facebook has launched $7.5 million partnership with three universities, including UC Berkeley, to create the technology.  Farid is a long-time crusader for holding social media companies accountable for removing and preventing harmful content, and Efros specializes in artificial intelligence, graphics and computer vision.  Some immediate steps that can be taken include having the company hire more people to monitor the site, charging a nominal fee to use the service, redefining Facebook and other tech giants as publishers--rather than as platforms, and creating unambiguous rules.