News

Silvio Micali to speak at AiDecentralized summit

CS alumnus Silvio Micali (Ph.D. '82) will speak at the AiDecentralized summit in Toronto, Canada on May 22.  The first in a series of global summits initiated by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), it aims to bring AI practitioners together with cryptographers.  Micali, who is currently a professor at MIT, is a pioneer in cryptography, zero knowledge, pseudorandom generation, and secure protocols.  He  won  the Turing Award in 2012, the Gödel Prize in 1993, and the RSA Prize in 2004.

Kristin Stephens-Martinez is new assistant professor of practice at Duke

CS alumna Kristin Stephens-Martinez (M.S. '13/Ph.D. '17 advisors: Vern Paxson/Armando Fox) is a new Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Computer Science at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  Her research interests lie at the intersection of education and computer science, focusing on using data available in large classrooms--both local and MOOCs.  She received the Outstanding GSI (OGSI) Award from the UC Berkeley Graduate Division in 2013 and began her career at Duke in the spring  where she co-taught CompSci 101: Introduction to Computer Science.  She was profiled for a Duke Computer Science article titled "New Faculty: Kristin Stephens-Martinez Takes a 'Meaning-full' Approach to Data Science" in March.

Laura Waller on the appeal of working at the intersection of two fields

EE and CS Associate Prof. Laura Waller was interviewed by Computer Vision News in advance of her keynote address to the IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI) in April.  She describes the appeal of working at the intersection of two fields:  design of optical systems and computational algorithms.  She also talks about breakthroughs in computational imaging and industry/academia, and offers advice to conference attendees.

Scott Shenker wins 2017 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award

Prof. Scott Shenker has been named the 2017 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award recipient.   The award honors specific theoretical accomplishments that have had a significant and demonstrable effect on the practice of computing.   Shenker is honored for pioneering contributions to fair queueing in packet-switching networks, which had a major impact on modern practice in computer communication. His work was fundamental to helping the internet grow from a tool used by a small community of researchers to a staple of daily life used by billions.   Previous winners of this award include EECS Chair Prof. James Demmel and Prof. Emeritus Robert Brayton.

Pieter Abbeel, Robert Full, and Ken Goldberg will speak at TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics 2018

Three EECS professors are featured speakers at the upcoming TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics on May 11 at Zellerbach Hall.  The single-day event will focus on the crossroads of the latest AI and robotics technology and the startup ecosystem.  Prof. Pieter Abbeel, who works in machine learning and robotics (and who co-founded  covariant.ai and Gradescope), will talk about "Teaching Robots New Tricks with AI."    Prof. Robert Full, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Integrative Biology (and who founded of CiBER), will talk about "What Robots Can Learn from Nature." Prof. Ken Goldberg, who holds appointments in IEOR, the School of Information, Art Practice, and the UCSF Dept of Radiation Oncology, will talk about "Getting A Grip on Reality: Deep Learning and Robot Grasping."  He is the co-founder of the Center for New Media.  Alumnus Paul Birkmeyer (Ph.D. '13), co-founder of Dishcraft Robotics, is also slated to speak.

Ram Vasudevan receives 2018 ONR Young Investigator Award

EE alumnus Ram Vasudevan (B.S. '06/M.S. '09/Ph.D. '12) is the recipient of a 2018 Young Investigator award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR).  Vasudevan is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan.  He was chosen for the proposal “Real-Time Certified, Safe Control Synthesis for Autonomous Systems.”  The Young Investigator Program (YIP) is one of the nation’s oldest and most selective science and technology based research programs.  Its purpose is to fund early-career academic researchers whose scientific pursuits show outstanding promise for supporting the Department of Defense, while also promoting their professional development.

How Mary Ann Horton invented the email attachment, then revolutionized trans rights

CS alumna Mary Ann Horton (Ph.D. '81) is the subject of a Daily Beast article titled "How Mary Ann Horton Invented the Email Attachment, Then Revolutionized Trans Rights."  As a student, Horton contributed to Berkeley UNIX (BSD), including the vi editor and terminfo database, and created the first email attachment tool, uuencode.  She then became a pioneering transgender activist who, in the 1990s and 2000s, played a key role in encouraging American companies to add the categories of gender identity and gender expression to their non-discrimination policies—and to provide transgender health benefits.  It began when she encouraged her employer, Lucent, to become the first large company in the United States to include gender identity or expression in its non-discrimination policy.  “Getting Lucent to do it was all about me, but once Lucent did it, I thought, this could be for everybody,” Horton remembers. “My vision was to push the snowball, and build up that snowball, and get it bigger and bigger until it would roll down the hill by itself—until I didn’t have to push it any more.”

Editing brain activity with holography

The research of Associate Prof. Laura Waller is highlighted in a Berkeley News article titled "Editing brain activity with holography."  Waller is co-author of a paper published in the journal Nature Neuroscience that describes a holographic brain modulator which can activate up to 50 neurons at once in a three-dimensional chunk of brain containing several thousand neurons, and repeat that up to 300 times a second with different sets of 50 neurons. The goal is to read neural activity constantly and decide, based on the activity, which sets of neurons to activate to simulate the pattern and rhythm of an actual brain response, so as to replace lost sensations after peripheral nerve damage, for example, or control a prosthetic limb. “The major advance is the ability to control neurons precisely in space and time,” said Waller's postdoc Nicolas Pégard, who is a first author of the paper.  “In other words, to shoot the very specific sets of neurons you want to activate and do it at the characteristic scale and the speed at which they normally work.”

Umesh Vazirani and Sanjeev Arora elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Prof. and alumnus Umesh Vazirani (Ph.D. '86) and alumnus Sanjeev Arora (Ph.D. '94) have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).  Membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original scientific research.  Vazirani is the Roger A. Strauch Professor of EECS and the co-director of the Berkeley Quantum Computation Center (BQIC). His research interests lie primarily in quantum computing.  Arora, whose interests include uses of randomness in complexity theory and algorithms,  efficient algorithms for finding approximate solutions to NP-hard problems (or proving that they don't exist), and cryptography, is now the Charles C. Fitzmorris Prof. of Computer Science at Princeton University.

Alex Bayen wins 2018 IEEE TCCPS Mid-Career Award

Prof. Alexandre Bayen has won the 2018 Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Technical Committee on Cyber-Physical Systems (TC-CPS) Mid-Career Award.  This award recognizes a mid-career researcher from either academia or industry who has demonstrated outstanding contributions to the field of cyber-physical system (CPS) in his/her career development. CPS addresses the close interactions and feedback loop between the cyber components such as sensing systems and the physical components such as varying environment and energy systems.   Bayen is the director of the Institute for Transportation Studies and heads the Mobile Sensing Lab, which focuses on applications of control and optimization to problems involving data collected by mobile sensors, in particular onboard phones and connected wearables.  His research project Mobile Millennium includes a pilot traffic-monitoring system that uses the GPS in cellular phones to gather traffic information, process it, and distribute it back to the phones in real time.