Pieter Abbeel, Sergey Levine & Chelsea Finn (Peter Earl McCollough)

Pieter Abbeel on building A.I. that can build A.I.

Prof. Pieter Abbeel is featured in a New York Times article titled "Building A.I. That Can Build A.I.," about how Google and others, in competition for a small pool of qualified researchers, are looking for automated ways to deal with a shortage of artificial intelligence experts.   The key might be to build algorithms that analyze the development of other algorithms, learning which methods are successful and which are not--leading to  more effective machine learning.  This could help companies build systems with artificial intelligence even if they don’t have extensive expertise in that area.  Abbeel and his team demonstrate techniques that could allow robots to learn new tasks based on what they have learned in the past. “Computers are going to invent the algorithms for us, essentially,” said  Abbeel. “Algorithms invented by computers can solve many, many problems very quickly — at least that is the hope.”

Schematic of a magnetic memory array

EECS-affiliated team develops new, ultrafast method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals

A UC Berkeley/UC Riverside research group that includes Prof. Jeffrey Bokor, Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin, postdoc Charles-Henri Lambert, postdoctoral fellow Jon Gorchon, and EE graduate student Akshay Pattabi have developed a new, ultrafast method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals, a breakthrough that could lead to greatly increased performance and more energy-efficient computer memory and processing technologies.  Their findings are published in both Science Advances (Vol. 3, No. 49, Nov. 3, 2017) under the title Ultrafast magnetization reversal by picosecond electrical pulses and Applied Physics Letters (Vol. III, No. 4, July 24, 2017) under the title Single shot ultrafast all optical magnetization switching of ferromagnetic Co/Pt multilayers.  “The development of a non-volatile memory that is as fast as charge-based random-access memories could dramatically improve performance and energy efficiency of computing devices,” says Bokor. “That motivated us to look for new ways to control magnetism in materials at much higher speeds than in today’s MRAM.”

Pramod Subramanyan and Rohit Sinha

"A Formal Foundation for Secure Remote Execution of Enclaves" wins Best Paper Award at ACM CCS 2017

A paper co-authored by postdoc Pramod Subramanyan, grad student Rohit Sinha, alumnus Ilia Lebedev (B.S. '10), alumnus and MIT Prof. Srinivas Devadas (M.S. '86/Ph.D. '88), and EECS Prof. Sanjit A. Seshia has won Best Paper Award at the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS).  The paper, A Formal Foundation for Secure Remote Execution of Enclaves, introduces a formal modeling and verification methodology for secure remote execution based on the notion of a trusted abstract platform.  CCS is the flagship annual conference of the Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control (SIGSAC) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Three EECS-affiliated papers win Helmholtz Prize at ICCV 2017

Three papers with Berkeley authors received the Helmholtz Prize at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) 2017 in Venice, Italy.  This award honors  papers that have stood the test of time (more than ten years after first publication) and is bestowed by the IEEE technical committee on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI).    Seven papers won this year, among them: "Recognizing action at a distance," by A Efros, A Berg, G Mori and J Malik, ICCV 2003; "Discovering objects and their location in images," by J Sivic, B Russell, A Efros, A Zisserman and W Freeman, ICCV 2005; and "The pyramid match kernel: Discriminative classification with sets of image features," by K Grauman and T Darrell, ICCV 2005."

(photo Tiberio Uricchio)

Caffe team wins Everingham Prize at ICCV 2017

The Caffe team researchers ('13 alumnus and current GSR Yangqing Jia, grad student Evan Shelhamer,  '17 alumnus Jeff Donahue, '15 alumnus Sergey Karayev, grad student Jonathan Long, former postdocs Ross Girshick and Sergio Guadarrama, and Prof. in Residence Trevor Darrell) have been awarded the Mark Everingham Prize at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) 2017.  Caffe is a deep learning framework made with expression, speed, and modularity in mind,  developed by Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) and by community contributors. The Everingham Prize is bestowed by the IEEE technical committee on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) and is given to individuals or groups "who have made a selfless contribution of significant benefit to other members of the computer vision community."  The Caffe team won "for providing an open-source deep learning framework that enabled the community to use, train and share deep convolutional neural networks. Caffe has had a huge impact, both academic and commercial. "
Mattel Kamigami (TechCrunch)

Mattel releases Dash foldable robot bugs

Mattel has launched a line of biologically inspired foldable robot bugs designed in collaboration with Dash Robots, a spin-off of the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab (BML).  The researchers at BML, under the direction of Prof. Ron Fearing, draw inspiration from nature to build more efficient robotics.  The new toys, called  Kamigami, let kids build their own robotic bugs, like mantises, ladybugs and scorpions.  Each $50 kit contains parts of a six-legged robot (with an accelerometer, gyroscope, and IR transmitter/receiver) and foldable plastic origami sheets to transform each robot into a different creature.

UltraSoC appoints Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli as Chairman

EE Prof. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman of UltraSoC, a pioneering semiconductor IP technology start-up based in Cambridge, UK.  The appointment comes as the company drives accelerating adoption of its IP for debug during chip design, and of its embedded intelligent analytics capabilities for monitoring wider system performance on all processor platforms: in particular the open-source RISC-V architecture.  Sangiovanni-Vincentelli helped to found both Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys – the two industry leaders in Electronic Design Automation (EDA).   CEO Rupert Baines says “We are excited to welcome Alberto into the Chairman role and are convinced that his background as a serial entrepreneur and distinguished academic makes him the ideal choice for guiding UltraSoC’s future growth and direction.” UltraSoC’s technology is now enhancing safety, security and power for system design, in applications including automotive, enterprise IT, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Berkeley DeepDrive Releases 36,000 Nexar Videos to Research Community

Berkeley DeepDrive (BDD) and Nexar announced the release of 36,000 high frame-rate videos of driving, in addition to 5,000 pixel-level semantics-segmented labeled images, and invited public and private institution researchers to join the effort to develop accurate automotive perception and motion prediction models.  The BDD Industry Consortium, led by EE Prof. Trevor Darrell , investigates state-of-the-art technologies in computer vision and machine learning for automotive applications. Nexar, as a member of the consortium, contributes video and images captured by its road safety AI camera application deployed in over 100 countries worldwide.  The Nexar driving data will be used for academic research (for activities like training and validating models for real world applications) as well as open crowdsourced research challenges based on parts of the driving data.

Dan Garcia
Dan Garcia

Dan Garcia weighs in on necessary skills for coders

Teaching Prof. Dan Garcia is featured in an EdSurge article titled "Engineers, Recruiters and Professors Weigh In: Future Programmers Need Writing Skills, Too," in which he discusses how career goals should shape a student's skill set.  Although not all successful coders need to be proficient writers, flexibility is important.  “There are careers where someone doesn't need [to write]… but we want students to be able to go to any position. Maybe they want to just be a coder [at first], but later they decide to be an academic or on the documentation side or in management,” says Garcia. “My point is you never know when you need to write.”

In a somewhat related Daily Cal article, undergrad Sanil Rajput ponders the correlation between copy editing and computer science, putting forth a theory that "Copy editors make excellent coders."

A chick embryo with birth defects (Science Signaling)

Chunlei Liu's research may help prevent birth defects linked to fever during early pregnancy

EE Associate Prof. Chunlei Liu has co-authored a study which has identified a specific molecular pathway that links maternal fever early in pregnancy to some congenital heart and cranial facial birth defects.  The findings, which were published in the journal Science Signaling, suggest a portion of congenital birth defects could be prevented if fevers are treated through the judicious use of acetaminophen during the first trimester.  Among their discoveries, the scientists found that neural crest cells—which are critical building blocks for the heart, face and jaw—contain temperature-sensitive properties.  “With electrical magnetic waves coupled with engineered ion channel proteins, we are able to impact specific biological cells remotely without affecting other biochemical environments,” Liu said. “The technique can be applied to study many different cell types and their roles at various developmental stages.”  The research was conducted in collaboration with scientists at Duke Universiy.