News

Laura Waller and Ming Wu named OSA Fellows

EE Prof. Ming Wu and Associate Prof. Laura Waller have been named Fellows of the Optical Society of America (OSA) class of 2019. OSA Fellows are members who have served with distinction in the advancement of optics and photonics. No more than 10 percent of the total OSA membership may be Fellows at any given time, making each year’s honorees a highly selective group.

New controller means fancier footwork for Salto-IP

Salto-IP, UC Berkeley's one-legged jumping robot, has been outfitted with an upgraded controller which improves precision on landing.  The robot is featured in a TechXplore article titled "UC Berkeley team gives jumping robot higher goals than bouncy-bouncy."   It describes a paper presented earlier this month at IROS 2018 in Madrid by Prof. Ronald Fearing and graduate researcher Justin Yim titled "Precision Jumping Limits from Flight-phase Control in Salto-1P."  The researchers have come up with a new control algorithm "that can land Salto-1P's foot at particular spots on the ground like jumping on stepping stones or playing one-leg hopscotch."  

Randy Katz reflects on Berkeley's Nobelists

EE Prof. Randy Katz, the current U.C. Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research, reflects on how the use-inspired research of Berkeley Nobel Prize winners exemplifies the importance of that approach to scientific inquiry.   He illustrates the strength of use-inspired research by comparing it to basic (curiosity-driven) and applied (goal-driven) research, defining it as the "search for fundamental knowledge" with selected "questions and methods based on their relevance to real-world issues."  "One of our great aims is to bring together a broad set of the world’s brightest minds to work on the pressing problems of the day," he says.

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."

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.

Lecture series with Turing laureates celebrates Berkeley’s ‘golden age’ of CS research

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of computer science at UC Berkeley and the university’s sesquicentennial, the EECS Department is launching a special series of lectures by winners of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, considered the field’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize.  The Turing laureates all have ties to UC Berkeley either as current or past faculty members or as alumni. They include David Patterson, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of computer science, who, along with former Stanford president John Hennessy, earned a Turing this past March for influential work on computer architecture design. “The 1970s and 1980s represented a golden age of computer science research at Berkeley,” said Patterson. “A remarkable seven research projects that began here went on to earn Turing awards.”

John Ousterhout, professor of computer science at Stanford University, adds: “If you use Turing Awards as the metric, you could make the case that the greatest team of computer researchers ever assembled at one place and time was at UC Berkeley in the 1970s and 1980s.” The lecture series, which is open to the public, will kick off at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, with a talk by Shafi Goldwasser, director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley. Every Wednesday through Nov. 14 will feature a Turing award laureate speaking in Banatao Auditorium in Sutardja Dai Hall.  In addition to their technical talk, the lecturers will reflect on their time at UC Berkeley and look toward the future of research and technological development in their fields. In anticipation of full attendance, these lectures will also stream live on YouTube via CITRIS.

Connie Chang-Hasnain elected Vice-President of Optical Society of America

EE alumna and Prof. Connie Chang-Hasnain (Ph.D. '87) has been elected 2019 Vice-President of the Optical Society of America (OSA).   Since 1916, OSA has been the world’s leading champion for optics and photonics, uniting and educating scientists, engineers, educators, technicians and business leaders worldwide to foster and promote technical and professional development. Chang-Hasnain currently serves as Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances in the College of Engineering,  The position of OSA vice-president requires a four-year commitment to OSA's Board of Directors: one year each as vice president in 2019, president-elect in 2020, president in 2021, and past-president in 2022. “Connie’s international and strategic experience is a perfect fit for the OSA’s officer position,” said Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of  OSA.  “Her numerous and effective volunteer roles reflect her strong connection with the photonics industry.”