News

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.

Jitendra Malik wins IJCAI-18 Award for Research Excellence

Prof. Jitendra Malik has won the 2018 Award for Research Excellence from the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence Organization (IJCAI).  The Research Excellence award is given to a scientist who has carried out a program of research of consistently high quality throughout an entire career yielding several substantial results. The recipients of this honor, including CS Prof. Michael Jordan who won in 2016, are considered among "the most illustrious group of scientists from the field of Artificial Intelligence."  Malik is known for his research in computer vision.  The award will be presented at the 27th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence and the 23rd European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-ECAI 2018) in Stockholm, Sweden, in July.

How David Chaum’s eCash Spawned a Cypherpunk Dream

Alumnus David Chaum (Ph.D. CS/Business Administration '82) is the subject of a Bitcoin Magazine article titled "The Genesis Files: How David Chaum’s eCash Spawned a Cypherpunk Dream." Before most people had heard of the internet, and most homes had personal computers, Chaum was concerned with the future of online privacy.  His 1981 paper, “Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses, and Digital Pseudonyms” laid the groundwork for research into encrypted communication over the internet.   He designed an anonymous payment system for the internet which he outlined in a 1982 paper titled “Blind signatures for untraceable payments.”   The magazine article focuses on the trajectory of Chaum's subsequent creation of a digital money system called eCash and how his work remains relevant today.

A feasible way for devices to send data with light

Researchers, including Prof. Vladimir Stojanović, have developed a method to fabricate silicon chips that can communicate with light and are no more expensive than current chip technology.  Stojanovic initially led the project into a new microchip technology capable of optically transferring data which could solve a severe bottleneck in current devices by speeding data transfer and reducing energy consumption by orders of magnitude.  He and his collaborators, including Milos Popović at Boston University and Rajeev Ram at MIT, recently published a paper in Nature where they present a manufacturing solution by introducing a set of new material layers in the photonic processing portion of a bulk silicon chip. They demonstrate that this change allows optical communication with no impact on electronics.

Dave Patterson's idea was “going to destroy the computing industry”

Prof. David Patterson is interviewed in the podcast Recode Decode for an episode titled "Meet John Hennessy and Dave Patterson, Silicon Valley’s first disruptors."  He and Hennessy won the 2018 Turing Award--the computer science equivalent of the Nobel Prize--in recognition of their development of RISC, a more efficient computer processor found today in billions of devices.   In the episode, hosted by Kara Swisher, they talk about how they overcame resistance from their peers and made RISC a reality.  “This year, there will be 20 billion microprocessors sold,” Patterson said. “And 99 percent of those will be RISC.”

Hany Farid leaves Dartmouth for Berkeley

CS Prof. Hany Farid is leaving Dartmouth, where he taught for 20 years, to take up a faculty position in the EECS department.  Farid specializes in digital forensics and image analysis. Some of his most well-known projects have applied computer science to test whether images have been doctored, using his expertise to tackle issues such as crime prevention, child pornography and scientific integrity.  “There are a lot of opportunities, given the scale of Berkeley, for things that I can do there that I’m really excited about,” he said.  Farid is best known to Dartmouth students as a favorite professor in the introductory computer science course, Computer Science 1: Introduction to Programming and Computation.  He sees teaching as his way of making a lasting impact.  “Do a good job in the classroom, inspire somebody, change the way they think, you’re affecting the next 50 years of their life.”

HäirIÖ: Human Hair as Interactive Material

CS Prof. Eric Paulos and his graduate students in the Hybrid Ecologies Lab, Sarah Sterman, Molly Nicholas, and Christine Dierk, have created a prototype of a wearable color- and shape-changing braid called HäirIÖ.  The hair extension is built from a custom circuit, an Arduino Nano, an Adafruit Bluetooth board, shape memory alloy, and thermochromic pigments.  The bluetooth chip allows devices such as phones and laptops to communicate with the hair, causing it to change shape and color, as well as respond when the hair is touched. Their paper "Human Hair as Interactive Material," was presented at the ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) last week. They have posted a how-to guide and instructable videos which include comprehensive hardware, software, and electronics documentation, as well as information about the design process. "Hair is a unique and little-explored material for new wearable technologies," the guide says.  "Its long history of cultural and individual expression make it a fruitful site for novel interactions."

Introducing the new L&S Data Science Major

A new Data Science major in the College of Letters and Science has been approved, effective Fall 2018. This is part of Berkeley’s active engagement with the burgeoning field of data science, which has the potential to shape numerous fields of study and practice.  The major is designed to equip students to draw sound conclusions from data in context, using knowledge of statistical inference, computational processes, data management strategies, domain knowledge, and theory.  Students will learn to carry out analyses of data through the full cycle of the investigative process in scientific and practical contexts, as well as gain an understanding of the human and ethical implications of data analysis and integrate that knowledge into their work.   The College of Engineering also has plans for a Data Science major, which is currently undergoing design and review.  A minor is also under consideration for students in both colleges. More than 3,000 students enroll in data science courses at Berkeley every year.

Andrea Goldsmith named ACM Athena Lecturer

2018 EE Distinguished Alumna Andrea Goldsmith (B.A. ’86/M.S. ’91/Ph.D. ’94) has been named the 2018-19 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Athena Lecturer for contributions to the theory and practice of adaptive wireless communications, and for the successful transfer of research to commercial technology.  Goldsmith, who is currently the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford,  introduced innovative approaches to the design, analysis and fundamental performance limits of wireless systems and networks. The Athena Lecturer Award, which was initiated by the ACM Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W), celebrates women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science. The award carries a cash prize of $25,000, with financial support provided by Google.