Anca Dragan and Raluca Popa

Anca Dragan and Raluca Popa win Sloan Research Fellowships

Assistant Profs. Anca Dragan and Raluca Ada Popa have been awarded 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships.  They are among 126 early-career scholars who represent the most promising scientific researchers working today. Their achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada. Winners receive $65,000, which may be spent over a two-year term on any expense supportive of their research.  Popa and Dragan were both selected in the Compter Science category.   Popa is a co-founder of the RISELab where she is trying to develop a learning and analytics framework that can run on encrypted data.  Dragan runs the InterACT lab and is a PI for the Center for Human-Compatible AI.  Her goal is to enable robots to work with, around and in support of people, autonomously generating behavior in a way that formally accounts for their interactions with humans. “The Sloan Research Fellows represent the very best science has to offer,” said foundation president Adam Falk. “The brightest minds, tackling the hardest problems, and succeeding brilliantly – fellows are quite literally the future of 21st century science.”

Computer Vision to Protect Patients — and Budgets

Prof. Alexandre Bayen and PhD student Pulkit Agrawal developed a computer vision-based system to help memory care centers monitor patient falls and to reduce them where possible.  State regulations require an MRI of the head any time a patient suffers an unwitnessed fall, and about a fourth of all Alzheimer’s-related hospital visits are triggered by a fall. With five million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s, the task of preventing, tracking and treating fall-related injuries has become daunting and costly, with more than a $5 billion annual cost to medicare--and the number of people with Alzheimer’s is expected to double in the next 15 years.   A system capable of detecting falls by autonomously monitoring patients and sending therapists video clips could improve the monitoring process immensely  “There are no effective drugs yet to treat Alzheimer’s,” Agarwal says. “Until we have them, we have to help patients where they are. Developing computer vision systems to detect falls and fall vulnerability seemed like a good way to improve healthcare for a growing patient population.”

Edward Lee awarded Berkeley Citation

Prof. Edward Lee is a 2018 recipient of the Berkeley Citation, which was awarded at the 2018 Berkeley Annual Research Symposium (BEARS).  The Berkeley Citation is awarded to distinguished individuals whose contributions to UC Berkeley go beyond the call of duty and whose achievements exceed the standards of excellence in their fields.  Lee, who is the Robert S. Pepper Distinguished Professor in EECS, has been on the faculty since 1986.  He was the EE division and EECS department Chair from 2005-2008, the director of the nine-university TerraSwarm Research Center, a director of the Berkeley Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems Research Center, and the director of the Berkeley Ptolemy project.  He recently published Plato and the Nerd - The Creative Partnership of Humans and Technology (MIT Press, 2017).

Constance Chang-Hasnain and David Tse elected members of the National Academy of Engineering

Prof. Constance Chang-Hasnain and Adjunct Prof. David Tse have been elected members of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).   Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.  Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."  Chang-Hasnain was elected "for contributions to wavelength tunable diode lasers and multiwavelength laser arrays."  Tse was elected "for contributions to wireless network information theory."    37 of the 2,293 current U.S. members are EECS faculty.

Laura Waller wins 2018 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award

Associate Prof. Laura Waller has won the 2018 Early Career Achievement Award--Academic focus--from the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). The award, which is paired with an industry-focused award, is presented annually in recognition of significant and innovative technical contributions in the engineering or scientific fields of relevance to SPIE.  Waller, who heads the Computational Imagaing Lab, was recognized for "her contributions to biomedical and industrial science through development of computational imaging hardware and software for phase retrieval, 3D imaging and partially coherent systems."  The award was presented at the Opto Symposium, co-chaired by colleague Prof. Connie Chang-Hasnain, on January 29th,

Avideh Zakhor named Electronic Imaging Scientist of the Year

Prof. Avideh Zakhor has been named 2018 Electronic Imaging Scientist of the Year by the Society for Imaging Science and Technology.  She was cited “for her significant contributions to signal processing, including 3D image processing & computer vision, 3D reality capture systems,  3D modeling, mapping and positioning,  image and video compression and communication.”  Zakhor and her team drove a truck loaded with sensors around Berkeley, and flew in a helicopter overhead, to gather imagery, and map part of the city in three dimensions. She eventually sold her research to Google, which built her innovations into Google Earth and Street View, used it to advance Google Maps, and is pushing it forward into a future of self-driving cars.  This award is given annually at the EI Symposium to a member of the electronic imaging community who who has demonstrated excellence and commanded the respect of his/her peers by making significant and substantial contributions to the field of electronic imaging via research, publications, or service.

Alex Bayen on why traffic apps make congestion worse

Prof. Alexandre Bayen, director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies, is working on smarter traffic apps that will talk to one another to prevent clogged freeways and city streets.  When Bayen spoke at the Cal Future Forum in 2017, he described how UC Berkeley transportation researchers are developing the science and technology to “enable collaboration both at the commuter level — you and me — and the city level.”  Since “we can’t build our way out of congestion,” he says, the only way this will work is if the apps collaborate and steer different people along different routes to prevent congestion.

Dawn Song participates in 'first US-China' Blockchain conference

CS Prof. Dawn Song participated in a panel discussion at the Blockchain Connect conference in San Francisco last week, an event designed to unite the U.S. and China Blockchain communities. Song leads the BitBlaze: Binary Analysis for Computer Security project, an analysis platform that will incorporate various AI and Blockchain applications, including in healthcare and smart building with IoT technologies.  She is also teaching CS 294-144. Blockchain, CryptoEconomics, and the Future Directions of Technology, Business, and Law, a “first of its kind” interdisciplinary course on Blockchain. "It’s extremely popular, " she said.  "We’re limited by room capacity, so it’s 70+ students. But it’s a 4:1 ratio, so basically for every four students applying, we can only select one."

Dutta, Niknejad, and Salahuddin lead new research centers to help usher in future of microelectronics

Associate Prof. Prabal Dutta, Prof. Ali Niknejad, and Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin are leading partners in three new multi-university research centers that aim to jump-start the future technologies for the microelectronics industry, with a particular focus on energy-efficient computing as well as communications and sensing.  Dutta is the associate director of Computing on Network Infrastructure for Pervasive Perception, Cognition and Action (CONIX), an SRC center that will also involve Profs David Culler, Jan Rabaey, Claire Tomlin and John Wawrzynek.  Niknejad will be associate director of the Center for Converged TeraHertz Communications and Sensing (ComSenTer), a $27.5 million SRC center that will also involve Profs. Elad Alon, Borivoje Nikolic and Vladimir Stojanovic. Salahuddin will serve as associate director of ASCENT, which focuses on next-generation, energy-efficient computing that overcomes bottlenecks in data transfer.  Prof. Jeffrey Bokor will also participate in ASCENT.

AI@The House built to support AI-related startups

Profs. Dawn Song, Ion Stoica, Kurt Keutzer, Michael Jordan, Pieter Abbeel, and Trevor Darrell have teamed up with EECS alumnus Cameron Baradar (B.S. '15) and startup institute The House to run a new "global center-of-gravity of AI activity" called AI@The House. The new program will offer technical guidance, mentorship, free graphic processing units and financial support, among other resources, to startups focused on AI.  Their first core initiative is an accelerator for startups who are leveraging AI to build industry-defining products.