EECS Faculty to explore implications of ChatGPT in new AI lecture series

EECS Faculty will headline a new AI lecture series to explore the “paradigm shift” that ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) have catalyzed. CS Professors Jitendra Malik, Stuart Russell and Michael Jordan are among the seven speakers scheduled this spring to address the sensation that is ChatGPT and other related LLMs. CS Professor Ken Goldberg, who organized the lecture series on behalf of Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR), said, “Something changed very dramatically with the performance of ChatGPT, compared with previous large language models, and everyone, including experts, is asking, ‘What does it mean? Where do we go from here?’” The series will also feature John Schulman (Ph.D. ‘16; advisor: Pieter Abbeel), a co-founder of OpenAI and the primary architect of ChatGPT. “Everyone wants to hear from the experts,” Goldberg said. “There are so many misconceptions out there. In the series, we’ll hear from those who have been working in the field for many years who can provide valuable perspectives on the importance of ChatGPT.”

(Photo by by Keegan Houser)

Joshua Hug wins 2023 UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor Joshua Hug has won the University of California, Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award. Presented by the Academic Senate, the Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA) is considered UC Berkeley’s most prestigious award for teaching. The DTA recognizes individual faculty “for sustained excellence in teaching.” Recipients are among the brightest teaching stars on campus, widely recognized for their inspiring and transformational teaching. The highly selective, multi-phase nomination process seeks teachers who incite intellectual curiosity and whose teaching has a life-long impact. Only 223 faculty have received the award since its inception in 1959, including several from Berkeley EECS. Hug is known for teaching CS 61B, an introductory computer science course on data structures that regularly enrolls over 1500 students each spring. DTA  winners are frequently called upon by the campus community to provide a voice on issues related to teaching. They serve on forums, panels, and committees involving teaching issues, and they are advocates for excellence in teaching at Berkeley.


University College Dublin names EECS alumna as president

EECS alumna Orla Feely is the first woman to be named President of University College Dublin (UCD). Feely (M.S. ’90, Ph.D. ‘92 EECS, advisor: Leon O. Chua ) will lead UCD for a ten-year term beginning in May. Feely, a Professor of Electronic Engineering, is currently the Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact at UCD. At Berkeley, her Ph.D. thesis won the David J. Sakrison Memorial Prize for outstanding and innovative research, and she also received the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. Feely’s research interests are in nonlinear circuits and systems. She is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Engineers Ireland, the Irish Academy of Engineering, and an IEEE Fellow.


Bin Yu wins 2023 COPSS Distinguished Achievement Award and Lectureship

The Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) has selected Bin Yu, Professor of EECS and Statistics, for the 2023 Distinguished Achievement Award and Lectureship (DAAL). Formerly known as the R. A. Fisher Award and Lectureship, the DAAL recognizes meritorious achievement and scholarship in statistical science and recognizes the highly significant impact of statistical methods on scientific investigations. She will deliver the DAAL Lecture at JSM in 2023 on veridical data science. Yu’s research focuses on practice, algorithm, and theory of statistical machine learning, interpretable machine learning, and causal inference. Her group is engaged in interdisciplinary research with scientists from genomics, neuroscience, and precision medicine. She and her group have developed the predictability, computability, and stability (PCS) framework for veridical data science toward responsible, reliable, and transparent data analysis and decision-making.


Jessy Lin and Abhishek Shetty win 2023 Apple Scholars in AI/ML PhD fellowships

Two EECS graduate students, Jessy Lin (advisors: Anca Dragan and Dan Klein) and Abhishek Shetty (advisor: Nika Haghtalab) have been named 2023 recipients of the Apple Scholars in AI/ML PhD fellowship. This fellowship recognizes graduate and postgraduate students in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Apple Scholars are selected based on “innovative research, record as thought leaders and collaborators, and commitment to advancing their respective fields.” Jessy Lin’s research is focused on using language as a medium to build agents that can collaborate and interact with humans. Abhishek Shetty’s research is broadly interested in theoretical computer science and machine learning, understanding how learning theory, complexity theory, and probability interact with each other. Apple Scholars receive funding to support their research, and mentorship with an Apple researcher in their field.


Allen J. Lichtenberg has died

EECS Prof. Emeritus Allen Joseph Lichtenberg passed away on February 21, 2023, at age 92. Lichtenberg’s research is associated with high-temperature plasma, nonlinear dynamics, and energy utilization. He had been a part of this research since the inception of these fields,  publishing over 150 articles in the area. His monograph, “Phase Space Dynamics of Particles,” was published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in 1969 and was later translated into Russian. His second book, “Regular and Stochastic Motion,” co-authored by Michael Lieberman, was published by Springer-Verlag in 1983 and was also translated into Russian. A second edition was published in 2005, with translations into Chinese and Japanese. Lichtenberg received his A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1952, and his M.S. degree from MIT in 1954. In September 1957 he joined the Department of Electrical Engineering (pre-EECS) as an Acting Assistant Professor. He left in 1959 to obtain his Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics from Oxford University. He returned to the Berkeley campus in 1961. From 1965-1966 he was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow and studied radiation from high-temperature plasmas and phase-space concepts in particle dynamics. He held a Miller Research Professorship during 1968-1969, and he chaired the newly formed campus Energy and Resources Graduate Group from 1974-1978.


Hari Balakrishnan wins 2023 Marconi Prize

2021 Distinguished CS Alumnus Hari Balakrishnan (Ph.D. 1998, advisor: Randy Katz) has won the 2023 Marconi Prize “for his fundamental contributions to mobile sensing, networking, and distributed systems.” The Marconi Prize, which is the highest honor of the Marconi Society, is given each year to innovators who have made significant contributions to increasing inclusivity through the advancement of information and communications technology. Balakrishnan is the Fujitsu Professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He is also the Founder, CTO, and Chairman of Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT). His graduate work at Berkeley won the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award in 1998. He was inducted to the National Academy of Engineering in 2015 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017; he received the Infosys Prize in 2020 and the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Award for Computers and Communication in 2021 for his important contributions to networks, mobile systems, and telematics. He is also a Fellow of both the ACM and IEEE.


Rikky Muller and Jaijeet Roychowdhury win 2023 Bakar Prize

EE Profs. Rikky Muller and Jaijeed Roychowdhury have been named winners of the 2023 Bakar Prize. Given annually, the Bakar Prize is designed to give a boost to former fellows as they translate their research into real-world applications, providing additional resources to help transition their work to applications in industry. Muller’s group developed EarEEG, which uses lightweight in-ear earbuds to detect the brain’s electrical activity in a non-invasive way. Roychowdhury’s group invented an Oscillator Ising Machine (OIM), which addresses the scale and expense of “Quantum Annealing” in Quantum computing.

BESSA board members Bridget Agyare, Farhiya Ali, Jesus Wilkins, Mialy Rasetarinera, Megane Tchatchouang, and Laila Walker at the anniversary event.
BESSA board members Bridget Agyare, Farhiya Ali, Jesus Wilkins, Mialy Rasetarinera, Megane Tchatchouang, and Laila Walker. (Photo: Rhett Jones Jr. Photography)

BESSA, BGESS celebrate milestone anniversaries

The Black Engineering and Science Student Association (BESSA), and Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students (BGESS), celebrated their 55th and 35th anniversaries, respectively. The anniversary celebration and community building event, which took place on February 11, 2023, was hosted by the Black Engineering and Science Alumni Club (BESAC), and began with a daytime speaker series, followed by a reception at Alumni House. Several EECS alumni were in attendance, such as UC Davis Chancellor and EECS distinguished alumni Gary May (M.S.’88, Ph.D. ’91 EECS) and Valerie Taylor (Ph.D. ’91 EECS), director of the mathematics and computer science division at Argonne National Lab. Other notable alumni who were present include Marie-Ange Eyoum Tagne (M.S. ’03, Ph.D. ’06 EECS), head of product at Yahoo! and Omoju Miller (Ph.D. ‘16 CS Education), CEO and founder of Fimio; Hakim Weatherspoon (Ph.D. ‘06 CS), now a professor of computer science at Cornell, participated in a Black faculty panel. The celebration also marked the 5th anniversary of BESAC. “Being with my fellow BESSA peers and hearing the inspirational stories of BESSA alumni was a very emotional experience for me,” said Bridget Agyare, who is an undergraduate EECS major and BESSA board member. “These successful and distinguished alumni were just like us– they invested time and effort into BESSA’s legacy, they were passionate about STEM, and they were leaders in their community– and seeing what they have achieved reassures me that one day our hard work will pay off and we will succeed as well."


Angjoo Kanazawa wins 2023 Sloan Research Fellowship

CS Assistant Prof. Angjoo Kanazawa has been selected as a 2023 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Computer Science. Awarded annually since 1955, the Sloan fellowships honor "the most promising scientific researchers working today...extraordinary U.S. and Canadian researchers whose creativity, innovation, and research accomplishments make them stand out as the next generation of scientific leaders."  Kanazawa's research lies at the intersection of computer vision, computer graphics, and machine learning. She is focused on building systems that can capture, perceive, and understand the complex ways that people and animals interact dynamically with the 3-D world–and can use that information to correctly identify the content of 2-D photos and video portraying scenes from everyday life. Sloan Fellows receive $75,000, which may be spent over a two-year term on any expense supportive of their research.