Women in Data Science will take the challenge to make a difference

The 2nd Annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) 2019 Datathon will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019 in Soda Hall.  The challenge will be to create a model that can detect oil palm plantations in high-resolution satellite imagery to help build awareness about deforestation and oil palm plantations.  The Datathon is a chance for women to meet other participants, form teams, learn the basics of participating in Kaggle competitions, and get a jump start on Datathon submissions with the help of technical mentors and domain experts.  Mentors who have some knowledge about deforestation, data science, image analysis, or have experience with technical project management, Kaggle competitions, or hackathons in general are welcome.  Tickets required.

Michael Stonebraker to deliver opening keynote at Data Summit

ACM A.M. Turing Award Laureate and database technology pioneer Prof. Emeritus Michael Stonebraker will deliver the opening keynote at Data Summit 2019, titled “Big Data, Technological Disruption, and the 800-Pound Gorilla in the Corner.”  Stonebraker was the main architect of the INGRES relational DBMS, and the object-relational DBMS, POSTGRES, developed at U.C. Berkeley. The Data Summit brings together corporations, government agencies, and public institutions to learn about the leading technologies and strategies for succeeding in this increasingly data-driven world.

Alexandre Bayen joins Mobility panel at World Economic Forum

EE Prof. Alexandre Bayen will be part of a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, today titled "Meeting the Challenges of the New Mobility."  Bayen, who is the director of the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), will discuss the societal impacts of the New Mobility, the massive ongoing transformation in how the world moves people, things, and data. The panel is hosted by the Oliver Wyman Forum.

HP Names Yoky Matsuoka to Board of Directors

2014 CS Distinguished Alumna, Yoky Matsuoka (B.S. '93), has been appointed to the Board of Directors of HP Inc.  Matsuoka was the founder of Google[x], the company's innovative research and development lab, before serving as CTO of Google Alphabet's Nest business.  She was also a senior executive at Apple and an endowed professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington.  The HP Board of Directors is said to be one of the most diverse of any technology company in the U.S.

The shutdown and Berkeley: Q&A with Vice Chancellor Randy Katz

EE Prof. Randy Katz, now the Vice Chancellor for Research at Berkeley, answers questions  about how the standoff over President Trump’s border wall is affecting UC Berkeley’s research enterprise so far, and what will happen if the shutdown continues much longer.  "If people decide to leave the field, the scientific brain trust, we will sacrifice our ability to be in the forefront of science and scholarship. Once we cede leadership in science, we will handicap our nation’s ability to stay ahead," he said.

Students take another step toward an autonomous future

A team of Berkeley undergraduates that includes CS major Gan Tu,  EECS majors Philipp Wu (EE/ME), Malhar Patel, and Bradley Qu, and EECS minor Travis Brashears (Engineering Physics major), are building autonomous backpack-sized mobile robots for a project called Autonomous Motion at Cal (AMAC).  Their aim is to create autonomous vehicles that will be able to navigate the densely populated UC Berkeley campus.

Lydia Liu wins inaugural Ada Lovelace Fellowship

CS grad student Lydia Liu (advisers: Michael Jordan and Moritz Hardt) has won the inaugural Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship.  The new three-year fellowship is for PhD students at North American universities who are members of groups underrepresented in computing and pursuing research aligned to the topics carried out by Microsoft Research.  Liu's research aims to establish theoretical foundations for machine learning algorithms to achieve reliable and robust performance. The fellowship comes with a $42K stipend, tuition for three years, and an invitation to the PhD Summit, a two-day workshop where fellows will meet with Microsoft researchers and other top students to share their research.

Clever clumsiness: A self-taught walking robot

A group of researchers at UC Berkeley (including EE Prof. Sergey Levine, grad student Tuomas Haarnoja and undergraduate researcher Aurick Zhou) and Google Brain have used maximum-entropy reinforcement learning to make a quadrupedal robot teach itself to walk.   It taught iself through trial and error in a mere two hours before researchers introduced the machine to new environments, like inclines and obstacles, where it adapted with ease.

'Ambidextrous' robots could dramatically speed e-commerce

CS Prof. Ken Goldberg and members of the AUTOLAB including postdoc Jeffrey Mahler (Ph.D. '18), grad students Matthew Matl and Michael Danielczuk, and undergraduate researcher Vishal Satish, have published a paper in Science Robotics which presents new algorithms to compute robust robot pick points, enabling robot grasping of a diverse range of products without training.  They trained reward functions for a parallel-jaw gripper and a suction cup gripper on a two-armed robot, and found that their system cleared bins with up to 25 previously unseen objects at a rate of over 300 picks per hour with 95 percent reliability.

Rikky Muller named 2019-2020 IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Distinguished Lecturer

EE Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has been named an IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (SSCS) Distinguished Lecturer (DL) for the two year term of 2019-2020.  SSCS DLs are experts in current integrated circuit technologies who are chosen to speak at chapter meetings and regional seminars because of their skills as deeply knowledgeable and excellent communicators.  Muller co-directs the Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC) with Prof. Elad Alon, who is currently serving the second year of his term as a 2018-2019 SSCS DL.  Muller will be a featured speaker at the Berkeley EECS Annual Research Symposium (BEARS) on February 14, 2019