News

Campus Shutdown Notice

In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we have decided to close our administrative offices starting Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice.  Cory and Soda Hall are closed.  Classes are being held remotely.  All events in Cory and Soda Halls will either be cancelled or held remotely, and staff will be working remotely during this time.

Finding a better way to measure progress in semiconductors

EECS Professors Chenming Hu, Tsu-Jae King Liu, Jeffrey Bokor and Sayeef Salahuddin are featured in an IEEE Spectrum article about efforts to better track and showcase the exponential pace of progress in semiconductor technology – the foundation of computing and communication devices, networks and systems. For many decades, Moore's Law has been used to gauge this trend with the number of transistors on the most advanced microprocessor chip doubling every two years, thanks to advances that allow for further miniaturization of the transistor. But what happens as physical limits such as the finite size of atoms and the speed of light are approached? Does progress in semiconductor technology cease? As co-inventors of the “FinFET” that enabled the industry to shrink transistors to below 10 nanometers in physical dimension, Hu, Liu and Bokor have the gravitas to advocate for a better industry metric to show that progress in semiconductor technology is limited only by human creativity and ingenuity – as it always has been. In June 2019 they met together with Salahuddin, a pioneer in the development of ferroelectric devices, and colleagues from Stanford University, and came up with a metric they dubbed “LMC” (logic, memory, connection). This new metric takes a more holistic view of technology advancement to enable computing performance to improve at an exponential pace through increases in the densities of logic (computing) devices, memory (information storage) cells, and the density of connections (wiring) between logic and memory devices on a chip. Liu sees the LMC metric as the driver of a new era of innovation in semiconductors.

prof. david wagner

David Wagner testifies about remote voting security before Congress

Prof. David Wagner, whose area of expertise includes computer security and the security of electronic voting, testified before Congress at a hearing of the House Administration Committee on Friday, July 15, 2020. The hearing was called to investigate options for lawmakers in Congress to vote remotely during Covid-19. Wagner explained that while it is technologically feasible for the House to conduct roll-call votes remotely, it will come with some manageable risk.  He recommended securing the vote using "a combination of people, process, and technology," including making all votes public immediately, having the House establish policies to govern the process--including contingencies for technology failures, and specifically selecting technology to support cybersecurity. 

Stuart Russell answers 3+ questions in wake of Turing Lecture

In May 2020, CS Prof. Stuart Russell delivered the most highly attended Turing Lecture yet,  to a virtual audience of over 700 people from around the world, on the subject of provably beneficial AI.  In a follow-up article, "Three (plus) questions with Turing Lecturer Stuart Russell," he answers some of the many questions not covered during the live Q&A.  In his talk, Russell argues that "it is useful to imbue systems with explicit uncertainty concerning the true objectives of the humans they are designed to help. This uncertainty causes machine and human behaviour to be inextricably (and game-theoretically) linked, while opening up many new avenues for research."  The top three questions address how AI should make immediate choices, how to address changing preferences as society evolves, and how AI can be controlled to minimize bias.  The ideas discussed are explored in his most recent book, "Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control" (Viking/Penguin, 2019).  The Turing Lectures are hosted by The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, and should not be confused with the Turing Talks sponsored by BCS and IET.

Murat Arcak, Kameshwar Poolla and Claire Tomlin named 2020 IFAC Fellows

EECS Profs. Murat Arcak, Kameshwar Poolla, and Claire Tomlin (also alumna, PhD '1998) have been named 2020 Fellows of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).  The IFAC Fellow Award is given to "persons who have made outstanding and extraordinary contributions in the field of interest of IFAC, in the role as an Engineer/Scientist, Technical Leader, or Educator."  Arcak was cited "for contributions to nonlinear systems, control of networks and applications," Poolla was cited "for contributions to system identification and robust control with applications to manufacturing and energy," and Tomlin was cited "for contributions to cyber-physical and hybrid systems with application to safety in autonomy and learning."  The awards will be presented at the 2020 IFAC World Congress this week.

Murat Arcak and John Maidens win IFAC Automatica Paper Prize

EECS alumnus John Maidens (PhD 2017) and his advisor EECS Prof. Murat Arcak have won the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Automatica Paper Prize for “Symmetry Reduction for Dynamic Programming,” co-authored by Axel Barrau and Silvère Bonnabel (Automatica vol. 97, pp. 367-375, 2018).  This journal award recognizes "outstanding contributions to the theory and/or practice of control engineering or control science, documented in a paper published in the IFAC Journal Automatica," and will be presented this week at the triennial IFAC World Congress during the virtual closing ceremony.  Maidens is now a data scientist at Eko where he builds AI to automatically assess heart health.

Two EECS projects awarded Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants

CS Prof. Eric Paulos and Associate Prof. Bjoern Hartmann have both won 2020 Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants to support projects involving "transformative ideas with real applications that benefit the Berkeley campus."  Paulos's project is Lucid Learning, a suite of tools to help students in disciplines like architecture, art practice, theater, dance and performance studies, to incorporate augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into their iterative processes of collaboration, design and feedback.  There are currently online tools that can help assess work in quantitative courses but few available for more open-ended, studio-based teamwork courses.  Hartmann's project, VRTutor, aims to both allow students to interact with an instructional 3D video pre-recorded by their professor in VR, and also allow instructors to view a live feed of students working in VR to give them guidance.  Tutorial feedback can be offered by drawing on the student's video feed on a tablet, then re-projecting the drawings into the student’s VR scene in 3D.

Two projects led by EECS faculty win funding to combat COVID-19

Projects led by CS Prof. Jennifer Listgarten and EE Prof. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli have been awarded funding from the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute to harness the power of AI to combat the spread of COVID-19 and other emerging diseases.  Listgarten's project will draw upon techniques such as reinforcement learning, robust uncertainty estimation and probabilistic modeling to develop new and trustworthy methods for therapeutic drug discovery for COVID-19.  Sangiovanni-Vincentelli's project will develop algorithms for AI that will help health care institutions better detect and contain emerging diseases.  These projects are two of six awarded to UC Berkeley, and among 26 projects world-wide, which will share $5.4M to accelerate AI research for COVID-19 mitigation through advances in medicine, urban planning and public policy.

Payam Delgosha wins 2020 IEEE Jack Keil Wolf ISIT Student Paper Award

EECS grad student Payam Delgosha is a winner of the IEEE Jack Keil Wolf ISIT Student Paper Award at the 2020 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT), which was held as a Zoomference on June 21 -26, 2020. Payam won the award for his paper "A universal low complexity algorithm for sparse marked graphs" co-authored with his research advisor Venkat Anantharam.  This award recognizes outstanding papers on information theory for which a student is the principal author and presenter. Delgosha earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Sharif University of Technology, Iran.  He plans to join the  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a research assistant professor of computer science in Fall 2020.

Introducing the world’s thinnest, most efficient, broadest band, flat lens

EECS Assoc. Prof. Boubacar Kanté, his graduate students Liyi Hsu, Jeongho Ha and Jun-Hee Park, postdoctoral researcher Abdoulaye Ndao, and Prof. Connie Chang-Hasnain, have demonstrated a revolutionary, ultrathin and compact, flat optical lens that spans wavelengths from the visible to the infrared with record-breaking efficiencies.  Their paper, “Octave bandwidth photonic fishnet-achromatic-metalens,” published in Nature Communications, is the first time a photonic system with the entire rainbow has been proposed and demonstrated with efficiencies larger than 70% in the visible-infrared region of the spectrum.  Attempts to make traditional lenses flatter and thinner, so that they can be deployed in increasingly smaller applications, have been hampered by the way that lens curvature and thickness are used to direct light.  The Fishnet-Achromatic-Metalens (FAM) utilizes a complex “fishnet” of tiny, connected waveguides with a gradient in dimensions, which focuses light on a single point on the other side of the lens, regardless of the incident wavelength.  As the world’s thinnest, most efficient, and broadest band, flat lens, its use in applications like solar energy, medical imaging, and virtual reality, is just the beginning.  As Kanté explains, “We have overcome what was regarded as a fundamental roadblock.”  One idea for a possible implementation would be to integrate the miniature lens into microrobots being developed at the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC).

Margo Seltzer, Keith Bostic and Mike Olson

BerkeleyDB wins 2020 SIGMOD Systems Award

The creators of BerkeleyDB (BDB) have won the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) Systems Award for their "seminal work in embodying simplicity, quality, and elegance in a high-performance key-value store that has impacted many systems and applications over the last 25 years."   BDB is a software library that originated as an effort to free up the user space utilities in BSD, UC Berkeley's free version of the Unix operating system.  It used revolutionarily simple function-call APIs for data access and management, which allowed developers to create custom solutions at a fraction of the usual cost.  Keith Bostic, a member of Berkeley's Computer Science Research Group (CSRG), and his wife, graduate student Margo Seltzer (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Michael Stonebraker), co-founded Sleepycat Software, Inc. to provide commercial support for BDB.  Seltzer served as CTO, Bostic as VP Eng and Product Architect, and former Berkeley student and BDB co-developer Mike Olson (who later co-founded Cloudera) was the first full-time employee and later served as CEO.  Seltzer, Bostic, and Olson are among the 16 developers cited for the award. BDB ships in every copy of Linux and BSD; drove most LDAP servers, and powered a large portion of the Web 1.0.