News

College of Engineering reports 7% increase in female students admitted for 2018-19

UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering has seen a 7 percent increase in the number of female students admitted for the 2018–19 academic year, according to the college’s admissions statistics.  Multiple strategies have been implemented in recent years to increase the number of female engineering students: reaching out to middle school students, making work more relevant to societal needs, offering hands-on experience, and building community.  Female engineering students have faced difficulty entering the male-dominated college.  In 2017, women constituted 25 percent of freshmen and 19 percent of transfers, this year, women made up 32 percent of incoming freshmen and 26 percent of transfers.

Alisha Menon will study ways to help the brain talk to computers

Incoming graduate student Alisha Menon is featured in a community post on the Beaverton Patch titled "Brilliant Teen Seeks PhD At UC Berkeley With STEM Award."  Menon graduated from Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), a statewide online public high school, at age 16 and took only 3 years to complete her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.  She will attend Berkeley in the fall on an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, studying Control, Intelligent Systems, and Robotics (CIR).  "I see the potential for infinite applications - from prosthetics controlled directly by neural signals to brain-computer interfaces that will eliminate the need for secondary interaction tools like keyboards," Menon said. "There are so many directions (that) technology that interacts with the brain can go. Some of these ideas are currently being developed such as virtual reality/artificial reality interfaces, rehabilitation systems, and deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's. Other ideas are more futuristic such as 'typing' using neural signals. I can't wait to be a part of this field as it grows and develops!"

K. Shankari warns that Google is tracking you

CS graduate student K.Shankari (advisors: Randy Katz and David Culler) is featured in an AP News article titled "AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not."  Shankari, who studies the commuting patterns of volunteers in order to help urban planners,  noticed that her Android phone prompted her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl’s, even though she had turned Location History off.  When Location History is turned off,  iPhones and Androids display pop-ups which say "None of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History" and “places you go with your devices will stop being added to your Location History map," respectively.  However, the Google account web page admits that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.”  “I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle,” said Shankari. “It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated.”

Explore UC Berkeley’s culture of entrepreneurship with Hriday Kemburu

CS alumnus Hriday Kemburu (B.A. '16) is featured in a Daily Cal article about UC Berkeley’s start up ecosystem titled "‘Dream, build and start up’: Exploring UC Berkeley’s culture of entrepreneurship.'   Kemburu is the CEO of Wildfire,  which began as a UC Berkeley-specific safety app during Kemburu's senior year and branched out into a communications platform spanning more than 30 campuses.  Wildfire is used for spreading the word about anything from crimes to celebrity sightings.  Berkeley's network of startup incubators, accelerators, investors and classes have helped launch hundreds of companies.

Some EECS contributions to the history of Berkeley's scientific endeavors

Some of the achievements of members of the EECS department are highlighted in a Daily Cal article titled "From cyclotrons to wetsuits: A brief history of UC Berkeley’s scientific endeavors. The article covers  Unix, which was developed by EE alumnus Kenneth Thompson (B.S.‘65/M.S.‘66) in 1969, and RISC, a project directed by CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson in 1981.  Prof. Randy Katz, who is currently Berkeley's Vice Chancellor for Research, says “The magic of Berkeley is that we are (a) public institution. Our research agenda is about how the work we do impacts society.”

Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye builds VR sharing platform

CS alumnus Hanzhong (Ayden) Ye (M.S. '12, advisor: Björn Hartmann) is profiled in an ejinsight article titled "Former Silicon Valley executives build VR version of YouTube."  In 2016, Ye gave up his lucrative job with Sierra Ventures in Silicon Valley to establish VeeR VR, a Virtual Reality content sharing platform in China.  The platform allows the growing number of content-creating VR enthusiasts to share their work with viewers via the web and mobile devices. In less than two years, the company has grown to 70 employees, while the number of its registered users around the globe has reached more than 20 million.  Customers include corporate users such as travel companies, news agencies, restaurants, and hotels.

Stuart Russell shares his favorite algorithms

CS Prof. Stuart Russell is one of four top experts asked by The Next Web (TNW) "which algorithms they think made the biggest contribution to artificial intelligence and science in general?"  Russell chose Lookahead and Backchaining, which he described as "fundamental modes of decision making.”  Other experts chose Gradient Descent, Convolutional Networks, and Forward-backward.

Ken Okuhara named new CTO of Stockton

EECS alumnus Ken Okuhara (B.S. '84) is the new chief technology officer for the city of Stockton, California.  Okuhara started his IT career with the state in 2000, specializing in project management, and served various roles with the state Department of Education, the Office of Technology Services, and the California Department of Technology. His responsibilities with the city will include oversight of app development, the project management office, the city data center and IT networks.

Blockchain’s Energy Web Foundation names Hervé Touati as first CEO

CS alumnus Hervé Touati (Ph.D. '90, advisor: Robert Brayton) has been named the first CEO of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a global nonprofit focused on "unleashing blockchain’s potential to accelerate the transition to a decentralized, democratized, decarbonized, and resilient energy system."  EWF, the world's largest energy blockchain consortium (with a  network of more than 70 affiliates), is building the shared, digital infrastructure—an open-source, scalable blockchain platform—specifically designed for the energy sector’s regulatory, operational, and market needs.  Touati, who comes to the EWF from Shell, is an energy industry veteran with more than two decades of executive-level experience.

Joe Hellerstein on the must-haves of a modern data prep platform

CS Prof. Joseph Hellerstein is the subject of a feature in InsideBigData titled "The Must-Haves of a Modern Data Prep Platform."  Hellerstein is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Trifacta, a company that develops data wrangling software for data exploration and self-service data preparation for analysis.  he discusses how the challenge of data preparation sits squarely between the growth of BI and visualization tools and the specific data needed to fuel them.  Efficient data preparation is key to alleviating new demand from business users. The article offers three key requirements that a data preparation platform should have.  Hellerstein's career in research and industry has focused on data-centric systems and the way they drive computing. Fortune Magazine included him in their list of 50 smartest people in technology , and MIT’s Technology Review magazine included his work on th eir TR10 list of the 10 technologies “most likely to change our world.”