News

Compressed light field microscopy helps build a window into the brain

In a project funded by a $21.6M donation from DARPA,  a light field microscope developed by EE Associate Prof. Laura Waller, MCB Assistant Prof. Hillel Adesnik and their lab groups, is being used to create a window into the brain through which researchers — and eventually physicians — can monitor and activate thousands of individual neurons using light.   The microscope is based on CS Assistant Prof. Ren Ng's revolutionary light field camera which captures light through an array of lenses and reconstructs images computationally in any focus. The microscope is the first tier of a two-tier device referred to as a cortical modem:  it "reads" through the surface of the brain to visualize up to a million neurons; the second tier component "writes" by projecting light patterns onto these neurons using 3D holograms, stimulating them in a way that reflects normal brain activity. The goal of the project is to read from a million individual neurons and simultaneously stimulate 1,000 of them with single-cell accuracy.  “By encoding perceptions into the human cortex," MCB Prof. Ehud Isacoff says, "you could allow the blind to see or the paralyzed to feel touch.”

There are 10 faculty involved in this project, 4 of which are from EECS: Laura Waller, Ren Ng, Jose Carmena and Rikky Muller. The project is being led by Ehud Isacoff from the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.

Soumitra Dutta named Chairman of AACSB International Board of Directors

Alumnus Soumitra Dutta (CS M.S. '87/Business M.S. '89/CS Ph.D. '90), who is currently founding Dean of the Cornell College of Business, has been chosen Chairman of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International board of directors.  Dutta previously founded the eLab at the Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD--the European Institute of Business Administration) and subsequently served as dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.  He is a noted authority on the impact of new technology on the business world.

Berkeley team qualifies for Cambridge 2 Cambridge Cybersecurity Challenge

Undergraduates Richard Li (CS), Veeral Patel, Yian Liou (EECS), and Roy Tu (EECS, graduated 2016) have qualified for the 2nd Annual Cambridge 2 Cambridge Cybersecurity Challenge (C2C), which will be held July 24-26, 2017 at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, in England.  Conceived as a way to create a greater cybersecurity collaboration between the US (MIT CSAIL) and UK, the C2C gives students the opportunity to explore creative ways to combat global cyber attacks and acquire and hone crucial skills.  Along with gaining a sense of accomplishment, building friendships overseas, and receiving guidance from mentors in leading security organizations,  top students will earn glory, medals, and a share of $20K in cash prizes.  The competition will be a live three-day showdown with over 100 competitors from 25 universities in the US and UK.

CalSol's Zephyr wins 2017 Formula Sun Grand Prix

Zephyr, the solar vehicle built by UC Berkeley's CalSol team (including sophomore Wen Rui Liau, one of Prof. James Demmel's research students), has won the 2017 Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP).  The FSGP is an annual nationwide solar vehicle race that takes place on closed-loop race tracks. From July 6-8, in Austin, Texas, competing teams tested the limits of their vehicles in handling curves, braking, and acceleration.  The winner, determined by the total number of laps completed--minus penalties--over three days of racing, was Zephyr with 228 laps completed and zero penalties.

The tale of Lester Mackey's pursuit of the Netflix Prize

In October 2006, Netflix announced "The Netflix Prize," a $1M competition where teams of programmers raced to make the Netflix recommendation engine 10% more accurate.  The nail-biting competition is profiled in an article for Thrilllist which prominently features participant and CS alumnus Lester Mackey (Ph.D. '12), then an undergraduate at Princeton.   "It was so much fun," he said. "The contest was structured so well. We had to learn so much to be competitive and I met so many people along the way."  The winners beat the second place team by only 20 minutes.   Mackey is now a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and an adjunct professor of Statistics at Stanford University.

Paul Jacobs is UC Berkeley's 2017 Alumnus of the Year

EECS alumnus Paul E. Jacobs (B.S. '84/M.S. '86/Ph.D. '89) has been named U.C. Berkeley's 2017 Alumnus of the Year.  After graduating from Berkeley, Paul rose up the ranks at Qualcomm, which had been co-founded by his father, and is currently serving as Executive Chairman.  He won the IEEE Weber Managerial Leadershiip Award in 2014 and the Distinguished Industry Leader Award in 2015.  Paul has donated millions of dollars to the College of Engineering and CITRIS, endowed an engineering professorship, served on a number of important University boards, and funded the creation of the eponymous Jacob's Hall.

Anca Dragan awarded 2017 Okawa Foundation Research Grant

CS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan has been selected to receive a 2017 Okawa Foundation Research Grant.  This award recognizes promising young faculty members in the fields of information and telecommunications, and comes with a $10K prize.  The presentaton ceremony will be held on September 20th in San Francisco.

ESPIRiT paper is the most-cited Magnetic Resonance in Medicine article from 2014

The paper titled "ESPIRiT—an eigenvalue approach to autocalibrating parallel MRI: Where SENSE meets GRAPPA" co-written by Associate Prof. Michael Lustig,  his graduate student Pat Virtue, and alumnus Mark J. Murphy (Ph.D. '11 advisor: Kurt Keutzer) has been named the most-cited Magnetic Resonance in Medicine article from 2014.    The article bridges the gap between the two main approaches for parallel imaging (SENSE and GRAPPA) allowing the reconstruction of images from undersampled multicoil data.  It presents a new autocalibration technique combining the extended reconstruction of SENSE with GRAPPA-like robustness to errors.

Authors of the paper are listed as Martin Uecker, Peng Lai, Mark J. Murphy, Patrick Virtue, Michael Elad, John M. Pauly, Shreyas S. Vasanawala, and Michael Lustig.

CS Assistant Teaching Prof. Josh Hug

Thank you, Josh Hug

In an article for the Daily Cal, undergraduate Taylor Choe thanks CS Assistant Teaching Prof. Josh Hug for helping her overcome her negative first impression of Berkeley and discover what makes it so special.   "My mindset going into CS 61B was definitely not a positive one. I struggled with 61A and felt discouraged, making me really come to dislike computer science." she wrote.  But Dr. Hug made her fall in love with computer science and helped her find faith in the public school system.   "You could tell that he wanted to be at lecture and wasn’t thinking about being somewhere else. His projects, homeworks and labs were entertaining and engaging, displaying the time and thought that went into each of them. He constantly emphasized the importance of being an honest person in addition to being an honest programmer. He was somehow able to make a 1,400-person class feel a little smaller. And I don’t think there is anything more you can ask of a professor, especially at a school as large as UC Berkeley."

CS faculty and alumni participate in Turing Award 50th Anniversary

The Turing Award 50th Anniversary celebration was held at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco on June 23-24, 2017.   CS Professors Stuart Russell and Michael Jordan participated on a panel discussion about advances in deep neural networks, Prof. Umesh Vazirani moderated a panel on quantum computing.  Prof. Emeritus and Turing winner Michael Stonebraker discussed the legal ramifications of collecting data from a growing number of devices with different encoding formats, and alumnus and Turing winner Butler Lampson (Ph.D. '67) participated on a panel about the end of Moore's Law.

The ACM A.M. Turing Award is considered the "Nobel prize of computing," and comes with a $1 million prize for contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the computing field.   EECS faculty have won four:  Richard Karp for theory and efficiency of algorithms (NP-completeness) in 1985, William Kahan for numerical analysis (floating-point) in 1989, Manuel Blum for computational complexity theory and cryptography in 1995, and Michael Stonebraker for modern database systems in 2014.  EECS alumni have won seven: Ken Thompson (B.S. '65/M.S. '66) for operating systems theory (UNIX) in 1983, Niklaus Wirth (Ph.D. '63) for computer languages (EULER/Pascal, etc.) in 1984, Butler Lampson (Ph.D. '67) for distributed, personal computing (workstations, networks, etc.) in 1992, Douglas Englebart (MS. '53/Ph.D. '55) for interactive computing in 1997, Leonard Adleman (Ph.D. '76) for public-key cryptography in 2002, and Shafi Goldwasser (M.S. '81/Ph.D. '84) with Silvio Micali (Ph.D. '82) for cryptography and complexity theory in 2012.