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.

Ana Claudia Arias to participate in new $20M AI food systems research institute

EECS Prof. Ana Claudia Arias has been selected to participate in a new food systems research institute funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF),  US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  The award of $20M over five years will aim to improve US food systems to address issues such as pandemic-driven food system security and safety; improving crop yield, quality and nutrition; decreasing energy and water resource consumption; and increasing production and eliminating food waste.  The objective of the new USDA-NIFA Institute for Artificial Intelligence for Next-Generation Food Systems (AIFS) will focus on the creation of digital replicas of complex food systems, so-called “digital twins,” which can be safely manipulated and optimized in a virtual world and deployed in the physical world afterwards, reducing costs of experiments and accelerating development of new technologies.  A team of ten researchers from the UC Berkeley Next Generation Food Systems Center will combine forces with researchers from five other institutions including UC Davis, Cornell, UIUC, UC ANR, and the USDA, to staff the new center.

Michael Jordan and the implications of algorithmic thinking

CS Prof. Michael I. Jordan is featured in This Week in Machine Learning & AI (TWIML AI) Podcast episode #407 titled "What are the Implications of Algorithmic Thinking? with Michael I. Jordan."   He discusses his current exploration into the intersection of economics and AI, and how machine learning systems could be used to create value and empowerment across many industries through “markets.”  The interview also touches on the potential of “interacting learning systems” at scale, the valuation of data, and the commoditization of human knowledge into computational systems.  Jordan's career, and the ways it has been influenced by other fields like philosophy, is also explored.  Jordan received the 2020 IEEE John von Neumann Medal for "outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology" earlier this year.

Dan Garcia in his home studio

Dan Garcia's creative video lessons keep students engaged

CS Teaching Prof. Dan Garcia is featured in NBC Bay Area for his innovative teaching style which keep his students engaged in online learning.  He has "transformed his mancave into a studio," where he films and edits his creative virtual lessons, and then uploads them for students to watch.  Known for rapping his own lyrics to songs from the musical Hamilton in giant lecture halls, Garcia has adapted to using a green screen to film and edit his one hour video lessons, incorporating a variety of voices.  His extra efforts have been lauded by students stuck in their rooms during the fall semester.

Peter Bartlett and Bin Yu to lead $10M NSF/Simons Foundation program to investigate theoretical underpinnings of deep learning

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Simons Foundation Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences are partnering to award $10 million to fund research in the Mathematical and Scientific Foundations of Deep Learning, led by CS Prof. Peter Bartlett and EECS Prof. Bin Yu.  Both professors hold joint appointments in the Department of Statistics.  The researchers hope to gain a better theoretical understanding of deep learning, which is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on artificial neural networks that digest large amounts of raw data inputs and train AI systems with limited human supervision. Most of the research and education activities will be hosted by the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, in the form of structured programs of varying themes.  Other participating institutions will include Stanford, MIT, UCI, UCSD, Toyota Tech in Chicago, EPFL in Switzerland, and the Hebrew University in Israel.

Brian Harvey wins NTLS Education Technology Leadership Award

CS Teaching Prof. Emeritus Brian Harvey has been awarded the National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) Education Technology Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who made a significant impact on the field of educational technology over the course of a lifetime.  The award is NTLS's highest honor.  Harvey wrote the "Computer Science Logo Style" textbook trilogy in the 1980s, which uses the Logo programming language (a subdialect of Lisp which had been created for elementary school children) to teach computer science concepts to more advanced students.   He designed UCBLogo in 1992, a free, open-source programming language that is now the de facto standard for Logo, and won the Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995.  He then collaborated with award co-recipient Jens Möenig to develop the block programming language Snap!, which makes advanced computational concepts accessible to nonprogrammers.  It is used in the highly successful class "Beauty and Joy of Computing," which was developed at Berkeley to introduce more diverse audiences to CS. The class is approved for AP credit and, with support from the NSF, has been provided to more than one thousand high school CS teachers nationwide.  Harvey says “Languages in the Logo family, including Scratch and Snap!, take the position that we’re not in the business of training professional computer programmers. Our mission is to bring programming to the masses.”

Dick White has passed away

Prof. Richard M. White, age 90, passed away this week from complications after a fall.  Born in Colorado and educated at Harvard, White joined the EECS department in 1962 after a stint doing research at General Electric.  He was a prolific researcher, publisher and inventor, who authored or co‐authored more than 90 research papers and two books. His research on micro‐sensors and actuators making use of Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) effects, earned him the UFFC Rayleigh Ultrasonics Award in 2003.  He founded the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC) with Richard Muller in 1986, which led the creation of the field of Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS), one of the key innovations pioneered in the EECS department.  BSAC currently hosts 12 faculty and more than 100 graduate students.  White and Muller earned the James Clerk Maxwell Award for their contributions to MEMS in 2013. Full of energy and ideas, White was also a passionate instructor whose forte was introducing students to electronics (he created and taught the introductory course EE 1 for many years).  He was also one of the founders of the Graduate Group in Science and Mathematics Education (SESAME), which was later absorbed into the School of Education. Just before his death, White was actively engaged in the creation of a new sensor to detect COVID-19. He leaves behind two sons, Rollie and Brendan.

Ava Tan wins DRC 2020 Best Paper Award

EECS graduate student Ava Jiang Tan (advisor: Sayeef Salahuddin) has won the 2020 Best Paper Award at the 78th Device Research Conference (DRC) for "Reliability of Ferroelectric HfO2-based Memories: From MOS Capacitor to FeFET."  The paper, co-authored by Profs. Salahuddin and Chenming Hu, grad student Yu-Hung Liao, postdoc Jong-Ho Bae, and Li-Chen Wang of MSE, introduces nonvolatile ferroelectric field-effect transistors (FeFETs) which boast impressive programmability and a strong potential for further scalability.  The paper also demonstrates for the first time a systematic, reliable, and rapid method to qualitatively predict the FE endurance of prospective gate stack designs prior to running a full FeFET fabrication process.  Tan works in the Laboratory for Emerging and Exploratory Devices (LEED), and is particularly interested in the architectural potential of nonvolatile ferroelectric CMOS-compatible memories for realizing brain-inspired computing paradigms and energy-efficient hardware for deep learning. The DRC, which is the longest-running device research meeting in the world,  was held in June.

Umesh Vazirani to help lead $25 million quantum computing center

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded UC Berkeley $25 million over five years to help lead the establishment of a multi-university institute focused on advancing quantum science and engineering.  EECS Prof. Umesh Vazirani, who is co-director of the Berkeley Quantum Computation Center (BQIC) and leads the quantum computing effort at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing (SITC), will serve as co-director of the new institute.  Other participants from EECS will include Prof. Ming Wu, Prof. Shafi Goldwasser, Prof. John Kubiatowicz, and Associate Prof. Boubacar Kanté. The center will be one of three Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes (QLCI) designed as part of the federal government's effort to accelerate the development of quantum computers, train a future workforce to build and use them, and position them to be as ubiquitous as smart phones.  The new institute for Present and Future Quantum Computation will connect Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, USC, Caltech, UT Austin, MIT, and UW, to combine the talents of top experimental and theoretical scientists in the fields of computer science, chemistry, physics, materials science, engineering and mathematics, to solve problems and devise strategies around this currently rudimentary technology.   Attaining a better understanding of its computational capabilities will require a major increase in the number of computer scientists involved in asking and answering questions.  “Realizing the full power of quantum computation requires development of efficient schemes for correction of errors during operation of quantum machines, as well as protocols for testing and benchmarking," said Vazirani. “Translating this remarkable ability of quantum computers into actually solving a computational problem is very challenging and requires a completely new way of thinking about algorithms.”

Rikky Muller named 2020 N2 Women Rising Star in Computer Networking and Communications

Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has been selected as one of ten Rising Stars in Computer Networking and Communications in 2020 by N2 Women (Networking Networking Women), a discipline-specific community of researchers in the fields of networking and communications.  Muller was nominated "for her impressive achievements in development of wirelessly connected and wirelessly powered implants--important components for the medicine of the future. Besides academic achievements she has proven her abilities as entrepreneur being co-founder and CTO of a successful company bringing some of her ideas to the level of real product. She can literally 'infect' people with her ideas and enthusiasm, which makes her a greater motivator and supervisor of students."  N² "Rising Stars" have less than ten years of professional experience after completing their Ph.D.s ("Stars" have ten years or more of professional experience).  Prof. Sylvia Ratnasamy was named a Rising Star in 2016 and a Star in 2019.

Rikky Muller wins 2020 McKnight Technology Award

Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has won a 2020 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award from the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience (MEFN).  These awards recognize groundbreaking projects that have the potential "to fundamentally change the way neuroscience research is conducted."  Muller is designing and building a high-speed holographic projector that can stream 3D light into the brain at neural speeds, many times faster than current projectors, and so manipulate and test thousands of optogenetically-controlled neurons with pinpoint accuracy.  She will receive a total of $200k over the next two years to support her groundbreaking research.