News

Paper by Vasily Volkov and James Demmel wins SC19 Test of Time Award

A paper by alumnus Vasily Volkov (Ph.D. '16), now at Nvidia, and his advisor Prof. James Demmel has won the 2019 ACM/IEEE Supercomputing Conference (SC19) Test of Time Award.   The paper, "Benchmarking GPUs to Tune Dense Linear Algebra," which won the SC08 Best Student Paper Award when it was published, describes a first-of-its-kind vision of GPU architectures as a vector machine. The authors defined techniques to achieve greater efficiency and performance, detailing an optimization pattern that is found today in many high-performance GPU codes.  The paper has been cited almost a thousand times and has had a tremendous impact on the field.  The award, which recognizes an outstanding paper that has deeply influenced the HPC discipline, is one of the most prestigious in the SC conference series and will be presented at the 2019 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis in Colorado in November.

Sergey Levine, Francis Bach, and Pieter Abbeel are top 3 most prolific NeurIPS 2019 authors

Two EECS faculty and one alumnus are the authors with the most number of papers accepted to the upcoming 2019 Thirty-third Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), one of the most popular and influential AI conferences in the world.  CS Prof. Sergey Levine took the top spot with 12 papers, alumnus Francis Bach (Ph.D. '05, advisor: Michael Jordan) was the second most prolific contributor with 10 papers, and Prof. Pieter Abbeel placed third with nine.  Only one in five of the 6,743 papers submitted to the conference this year were accepted.  Registration to be one of the 8,000 attendees at  last year's NeurIPS (formerly NIPS) conference sold out in 12 minutes.  A lottery has been implemented for this year's conference, which will take place in December.

Campus Memorial to honor six from EECS community

The Berkeley Campus Memorial, which will be held on Tuesday, September 10, from 12 noon to 1 pm, will honor 6 members of the EECS community who died this year:  alumna and ICSI member Sally Floyd (M.S. '87/Ph.D. '89, advisor: Richard Karp),  alumnus and EECS faculty-in-residence/advisor to CITRIS Jean Paul Jacob (MS '65/PhD '66, advisor: Elijah Polak),  EECS and Mathematics Prof. Emeritus Elwyn Berlekamp, EECS and Biophysics Prof. Emeritus Jerome Singer, BWRC staff Tom Boot, and CS undergraduate student Daniel Leahy.  The memorial gathering will be held at the flagpole west of California Hall.

Carlos Biaou wins Sather Gate Young Volunteer Award

EECS graduate student Carlos Biaou (M.S. '18, advisor: Vivek Subramanian) has won a UC Berkeley Sather Gate Young Volunteer Award.  Berkeley volunteer awards are given to "people who give generously of their time and expertise to serve the Berkeley community."   Biaou was the president of the Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students association (BGESS) from 2017 to 2019.  He won the Pillar of the Community Award from the Latino/a Association for Graduate Students in Engineering and Science at Berkeley (LAGSES) earlier this year "For his commitment to building community across organizations on campus."  Biaou is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow studying various degradation processes in perovskite solar cells. 

Bruce Hajek named ECE Illinois department head

EECS alumnus Bruce Hajek (Ph.D. '79, advisor: Eugene Wong), who has been on the faculty of the Grainger College of Engineering, and a researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 40 years, has been named head of UIUC's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).  Hajek is an internationally renowned expert in the field of communications networks and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, and as President of the IEEE Information Theory Society.

Sally Floyd, an inventor of Random Early Detection, has died

CS alumna Sally Floyd (M.S. '87/Ph.D. '89, advisor: Richard Karp), best known as one of the inventors of Random Early Detection (RED), an active queue management scheme widely credited with saving the internet from collapse in the 1990s, has died at age 69.  Floyd graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology in 1971 and, after taking a two-year course in electronics at Meritt College, spent the next decade working as a computer systems engineer at BART.  She returned to Berkeley as a graduate student in 1984 and was known as an outstanding advisor to members of the CS Reentry Program, a department project which prepared  "older" women and minorities, who had bachelor's degrees in non-technical fields, for competitive admission to graduate STEM programs.  The creation of the RED algorithm, which was built on work started by Van Jacobson in the 1980s,  founded the field of Active Queue Management (AQM).  Floyd and Jacobson's 1993 paper describing how RED could control congestion on the internet continues to play a vital role in its stability and has been cited in more than 9,100 articles. “That’s truly huge,” said Prof. Vern Paxson, who had been mentored by Floyd as a graduate student, “up there with the most fundamental papers in computer networking.”

Richard Din innovates unique course to help students connect more deeply with entrepreneurs

EECS alumnus Richard Din (B.S. EECS/B.A. Econ '08),  the co-founder of revolutionary food-delivery app Caviar, has imagined and helped to create a small, select, new course being offerred fall semester through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET).  The course, which cannot be documented or attended by visitors, will host diverse and unique speakers from the tech industry who will share personal stories about their startups, including sensitive details about “co-founder fights, investor drama, and running out of money.”  “When it’s off the record," said Din, "then you can be more candid about finer details and tell more interesting stories.” Students interested in taking the course must be nominated by a professor. Professors can send nominations to Jennifer Nice at jennifernice@berkeley.edu.

Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley

Berkeley Remix Podcast Season 4, Episode 2, explores the contributions of UC Berkeley Engineering to the rise of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley in the 1960s and 70s.   “Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley”  focuses on the development of SPICE, the first widely used design program for prototyping microchips, which was originally designed by and for students.  The software spread "like lightning" in part because Berkeley, as a public institution, made it available free of charge. The world has not been the same since.  The podcast features audio from interviews with Prof. Emeritus  Paul Gray  and alumnus Laurence Nagel (B.S. '69/M.S. '70/Ph.D. '75, advisor: Donald Pederson), CEO of Omega Enterprises, and former senior manager at Bell Laboratories.

EECS students, postdocs, alumni and faculty make strong showing at 2019 USENIX Security Symposium

EECS students, postdocs, alumni, and faculty were front and center at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium in Santa Clara last week.  In addition to the Test of Time and Distinguished Paper Awards (see below), Keynote Speaker Alex Stamos (B.S. '01), previously the Chief Security Officer of Facebook, highlighted the threat model work of current ICSI postdoc Alisa Frik (advisor: Serge Egelman).  Alumnus Nicholas Carlini (Ph.D. '18, advisor: David Wagner) gave a talk on his neural networks research which was co-authored by CS Prof. Dawn Song and postdoc Chang Liu.  ICSI researchers Primal Wijesekera and Serge Egelman, and former ICSI postdoc Joel Reardon, were awarded a Distinguished Paper Award for "50 Ways to Leak Your Data: An Exploration of Apps' Circumvention of the Android Permissions System." Grad students Frank Li (advisor: Vern Paxson) and Nathan Malkin (advisors: Serge Egelman and David Wagner), received a Distinguished Paper award at the SOUPS '19 technical session for "Keepers of the Machines: Examining How System Administrators Manage Software Updates For Multiple Machines." The Zip Bomb research of alumnus David Fifield (Ph.D. '17, advisor: Doug Tygar) was also awarded a Best Paper award at the WOOT '19 technical session.

Two CS grad students, co-advised by David Culler and Raluca Popa, also made presentations.  Sam Kumar presented "JEDI: Many-to-Many End-to-End Encryption and Key Delegation for IoT" and Michael P. Andersen presented "WAVE: A Decentralized Authorization Framework with Transitive Delegation."

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."