News

David Wagner, Eric Brewer, Ian Goldberg, and Randi Thomas win 2019 USENIX Test of Time Award

CS Profs. and alumni David Wagner (Ph.D. '00) and Eric Brewer (B.S. '89), and alumni Ian Goldberg (Ph.D. '00) and Randi Thomas (M.S.) have won the 2019 USENIX Test of Time Award for their 1996 paper titled "A Secure Environment for Untrusted Helper Applications."  The paper, which introduced a fundamental and crucial technique for confining untrusted applications in computer systems, and which made a significant contribution to the computer security field, was written by Wagner, Goldberg and Thomas when they were Brewer's graduate students.  “Beyond its strong academic impact — cited by 890 papers," said award committe member Dan Boneh, "the technique is now used to confine web pages in the Chrome browser, and to confine applications running on Android."

A map of the brain can tell what you’re reading about

A group of researchers currently or formerly working in the lab of CS Affiliate Prof. Jack Gallant, have developed interactive semantic maps that can predict where different categories of words activate the brain. The researchers used functional MRI to scan the brains of subjects who were listening to or reading stories.  The results were viewed in an interactive, 3D, color-coded map, where words are presented as scribbles of color on a flattened brain cortex.  When the researchers compared the listening-versus-reading brain activity data, they found the maps they created from both datasets were virtually identical. The maps may one day inform interventions for dyslexia, strokes, epilepsy, brain injuries, and auditory processing disorders.

Wearable sensors detect what’s in your sweat

A paper co-authored by EE Prof. Ali Javey, describes a new sweat sensor design that can be rapidly manufactured using a “roll-to-roll” processing technique that essentially prints the sensors onto a sheet of plastic like words on a newspaper.  The sensors monitor sweat rate and the electrolytes and metabolites in sweat.  “The goal of the project is not just to make the sensors but start to do many subject studies and see what sweat tells us — I always say ‘decoding’ sweat composition,” said Javey.  “For that we need sensors that are reliable, reproducible, and that we can fabricate to scale so that we can put multiple sensors in different spots of the body and put them on many subjects."

Tsu-Jae Liu wins 2019 AAEOY Asian American Distinguished Science and Technology Award

EE Prof. and Dean of Engineering Tsu-Jae King Liu has won a 2019 Asian American Distinguished Science and Technology Award  for "contributions to nanometer-scale field-effect transistor and micro-electro-mechanical relay technology for digital computation and memory applications.”   The award is part of the annual DiscoverE National Engineers Week program hosted by CIE/USA, and was presented at the 2019 Asian American Engineer of the Year  Award and Conference (AAEOY) on August 16th.

Prof. Raluca Ada Popa

Raluca Ada Popa named Bakar Fellow

EECS Prof. Raluca Ada Popa has been selected for the Bakar Fellows Program, which supports faculty working to apply scientific discoveries to real-world issues in the fields of engineering, computer science, chemistry, and biological and physical sciences. With her Bakar Fellows Spark Award, Prof. Popa will design and build a data encryption platform that will enable collaborative machine learning studies by performing these multi-party computations under encryption.

Simons Institute announces Richard M. Karp Distinguished Lecture Series

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing has announced the creation of the Richard M. Karp Distinguished Lectures, named in honor of CS Prof. Emeritus Richard Karp, the Institute’s Founding Director. The series will feature talks by leading researchers in the foundations of computing including Sanjeev Arora (Ph.D. '94, advisor: Umesh Vazirani), Faith Ellen (Ph.D. '82, advisor: Richard Karp), Dan Gusfield (B.S. '73/Ph.D. '80, advisor: Richard Karp), Mike Luby (Ph.D. '83, advisor: Richard Karp), Antony P.-C. Ng (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Richard Brayton), Prabhakar Raghavan (Ph.D. '86, advisor: Clark Thompson), CS Prof. Scott Shenker, Vijay Vazirani (Ph.D. '84, advisor: Manuel Blum), and Karp, himself.  The lecture series will be launched in the Fall.

GauGAN AI art tool wins two major awards at SIGGRAPH 2019 Real-Time Live Competition

A viral real-time AI art application, co-created by three current and former graduate students of CS Prof. Alexei Efros, has won two coveted awards--Best in Show and Audience Choice--at the SIGGRAPH 2019 Real-Time Live Competition.  The interactive application, called GauGAN, was co-created by Ph.D. candidate Taesung Park during a summer internship at NVIDIA, along with alumni and NVIDIA researchers Jun-Yan Zhu (Ph.D. '17,  ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Doctoral Disseration winner) and Ting-Chun Wang (Ph.D. '17), as well as NVIDIAs Ming-Yu Liu.  GauGAN is the first semantic image synthesis model that can turn rough sketches into stunning, photorealistic landscape scenes.

You can’t squash this roach-inspired robot

Research co-authored by grad student Justin Yim and EE Profs. Ron Fearing and Robert Full, among others, has resulted in the creation of a small cockroach-inspired robot so hardy that it can survive being crushed underfoot.  The robot, which is about the size of a large postage stamp, is made of a thin sheet of a piezoelectric material called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF).  Applying electric voltage to PVDF causes it to expand or contract, creating oscillations that propel the device forward.  The robot can sail along the ground at a speed of 20 body lengths per second, said to be the fastest pace among insect-scale robots.  Their paper was published in the journal Science Robotics.

Bill Kramer to Lead Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

CS alumnus Bill Kramer (Ph.D. 2008, advisors: David Culler and James Demmel) has been selected as the next director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), a joint research center of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.  Kramer, currently project director and PI of the Blue Waters Project and the senior associate director for  NCSA @Scale Science and Technology at Urbana-Champaign, begins his role in  fall 2019.  Kramer has also held leadership rolls at LBNL, NASA Ames, and NERSC.

Kathy Yelick looks back and ahead

Kathy Yelick has announced that she will be stepping down as Associate Laboratory Director of the Computing Sciences organization at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), a position she has held for nine years. Yelick, who was also the Director of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) from 2008 to 2012, is the subject of an HPC interview where she talks about her time at LBNL and what the future holds.