Gene Luen Yang wins MacArthur Genius' Grant

EECS alumnus Gene Luen Yang (CS B.A. '95) has been selected for a MacArthur fellowship, one of the most prestigious prizes in the United States.   Awarded for exceptional “originality, insight and potential,” a MacArthur prize comes with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 distributed over five years.  In January, Gene became the first graphic novelist named national ambassador for children’s literature by the Library of Congress.

Berkeley EECS at 2016 ACM Richard Tapia Diversity in Computing Conference

Last week 18 undergraduates, three graduate students, two faculty, and four staff from UC Berkeley’s EECS Department attended the 2016 ACM Richard Tapia Diversity in Computing Conference in Austin, Texas.  In addition to making new connections with diversity leaders in academia and industry, Berkeley EECS participants reconnected with several EECS alumni: Jeffrey Forbes (Associate Dean at Duke University), Beth Trushkowsky (Assistant Professor at Harvey Mudd College), Valerie Taylor (Associate Dean at Texas A & M), and Hakim Weatherspoon (Associate Professor at Cornell). Teaching Professor Dan Garcia co-led a birds-of-a-feather session for Hispanics in Computing, and was a panelist on a session titled “Engaging Students of Color in Computer Science", which reflected on the department's recent efforts to broaden participation in computing.  *Dr. Raquel Romano of Google, and former LBL Postdoc, delivered a Keynote on "Redefining Inclusion: Technology as an Act of Service." *  EECS Director of Diversity Tiffany Reardon presented a poster highlighting the department’s support of women in undergraduate computing.  A highlight of the conference for many of us was seeing David Patterson receive the Richard Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing.  For years Professor Patterson has been an ardent supporter of the Tapia Conference as past Conference Chair, serving on the steering committee and funding large UC Berkeley contingents to attend the event. Well deserved, Dave! Berkeley students and faculty have attended every Tapia conference since the first one, in 2001. 

Matt Au

Matt Au is the new CTO of SideChef

EECS alumni Matt Au (B.A. CS 2002) has been announced as the Chief Technology Officer of the cooking app start-up SideChef. SideChef is an interactive step-by-step cooking app that assists in the kitchen just like a virtual sous chef. With real time recipe navigation that includes hands-free voice commands, detailed photos, how-to videos, and built-in automatic timers, beginners have the tools to learn essential skills to cook with confidence, while intermediate and advanced cooks hone their abilities and contribute to the community with their own recipes.

colleen lewis

Colleen Lewis receives Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award

EECS alumna Colleen Lewis (B.S. EECS '05/M.S. CS '09), who is now Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College has been recognized as the 10th recipient of the Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award at the Grace Hopper Celebration. This award recognizes a junior faculty member who specializes in computer science education. Prof. Lewis is passionate about broadening participation in computer science as one strategy she can use to fight inequity and injustice, and this goal drives her teaching, research, and service at Harvey Mudd College.

Cameron Baradar

Cameron Baradar opens doors to "The House"

Looking at the entrepreneurial aspirations of UC Berkeley’s students in what is often called around campus the “innovation ecosystem”, EECS alumni Cameron Baradar (B.S. ’15) has opened the doors to The House, a startup institute across the street from campus on Bancroft Ave. Currently on campus there are over 40 clubs across engineering, design and entrepreneurship, two entrepreneurship centers, a design institute, a maker space and the world’s largest collegiate hackathon. Under the mentorship of Prof. Scott Shenker, Cameron sees The House as a backbone for the emerging infrastructure providing startup founders with what they need and when they need it to be successful.

MIT TR35 logo

Sergey Levine, Oriol Vinyals and Wei Gao named on MIT TR35

Prof. Sergey Levine, EECS alumni Oriol Vinyals and EECS postdoc Wei Gao (working with Ali Javey) have been named on MIT Technology Review’s 2016 TR35 (Innovators Under 35) who push the edge of science, creating new approaches to tackling technology challenges. In the “Pioneers” category Prof. Levine teaches robots to watch and learn from their own successes, supervising it’s own learning, and Oriol Vinyals is working to create computers that can teach themselves how to play and win complex games by enabling them to learn from experience. In the “Inventors” category, Wei Gao is building sweatbands that monitor your health on a molecular level.

Simit: a brand new language for more efficient simulations

Incoming CS Assistant Professor Jonathan Ragan-Kelley, alumnus Shoaib Kamil (Ph.D. CS 2012 under Profs. Armando Fox and Kathy Yelick) and alumnus Wojciech Matusik (B.S. EECS 1997), along with other researchers at MIT CSAIL, Adobe, U. of Toronto, Texas A&M, and U. of Texas have developed Simit,  a programming language that can speed up computer simulations 200-fold or reduce the code they require by 90 percent.

The language has applications outside simulations, and there are even plans for it to augment machine learning, data analytics, optimization and robotics in addition to a version of Google's PageRank algorithm.

Jacques I. Pankove, discoverer of LEDs, has passed away

EECS Alumnus Jacques I. Pankove (BS EE 1944/MS EE 1948), who received the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus award in 2000 for building the first  gallium nitride light-emitting diode (LED), died on July 12, 2016 at the age of 94.

A refugee of Czarist Russia, Pankove grew up in Marseilles before emigrating to the US after the Nazi invasion of France.  While at Berkeley, Pankove built a Morse code Translator, showing his creativity involving diverse disciplines: software (how to decipher the dot and dash code), electronic circuits, and optics (to make luminous characters appear at a central visual spot).  He  left Berkeley to earn a PhD in Physics from the University of Paris but returned to the EECS Department in 1968 as a visiting McKay Lecturer.   He subsequently took a job working on transistors at RCA Lab where he and Edward Miller demonstrated the first blue electroluminescence from zinc-doped gallium nitride.

In addition to being a prolific inventor with over 90 US patents, Pankove authored a seminal textbook Optical Processes in Semiconductors in 1972 using his class notes as a lecturer at Berkeley.

Women In Technology Roundtable group pictures

EECS Women In Technology take matters into their own hands

The Women in Technology (WIT) Leadership Round Table, started by Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu, EECS grad student Virginia Smith, EECS alumna Gitanjali Swamy and Sheila Humphreys is featured in Medium, an online community of writers, in an article titled “Women in Technology: How a Handful of Leaders in Tech are Taking Matters into Their Own Hands”, written by Virginia Smith.  Aimed at developing sustainable solutions to increase the presence of women in technology, WIT is bringing together technology leaders in academia, industry, and non-profits to spark solutions-oriented discussion among women who can go back to their organizations and immediately make change.

Billy Kluver

How Billy Klüver helped shape modern art

Alumnus Billy Klüver (EE MS 1955/ Ph.D. 1957), who then became an assistant professor in EECS from 1957-58 is featured in a Little Atoms online article titled “How AT&T shaped modern art”. Born in Monaco in 1927, Klüver installed a television antenna on top of the Eiffel tower and developed underwater filming equipment for Jacques Cousteau before coming to Cal.   He eventually joined Bell Telephone Laboratories where he began collaborating with artists  on works incorporating new technology and was co-founder of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.).   Klüver felt artists "helped make technology more human."