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.

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. 

EECS 150W: Sheila Humphreys and WiCSE

In celebration of 150 Years of Women at Berkeley, the EECS Director Emerita of Diversity (and Berkeley 150W History Project co-chair) Sheila Humphreys tells the story of  Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (WiCSE), the first student group at an American university created to support and increase the number of women in those fields.   WiCSE was born when the political foment of 1970s Berkeley met the burgeoning field of computer science in Evans Hall.  Humphreys charts WiCSE's path from the formation of the first women's clubs at Berkeley one hundred years before, to its 40th reunion in 2018.  WICSE has established itself as a permanent force in EECS: a powerful voice for women students, a model of peer engagement and support, and a pipeline for women into the fields of EE and CS.  Humphreys' life-long mission to diversify the global population of computer scientists and engineers is the subject of July's Notable Women of EECS profile.

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.

Tijana Zrnic wins Apple PhD fellowship in AI/ML

Graduate student Tijana Zrnic (advisors:  Moritz Hardt and Michael Jordan) has won an Apple PhD fellowship in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML).  Scholars from invited institutions are selected for this program based on their "innovative research, record as thought leaders and collaborators in their fields, and unique commitment to take risks and push the envelope in machine learning and AI."  Zrnic, who is affiliated with BAIR, the Statistical AI Learning group, and RISELab, was selected for "Fundamentals of Machine Learning."  Winners receive financial support for their research and academic travel for two years, internship opportunities, and a two-year mentorship with an Apple researcher in their field.   Apple says these scholars are "advancing the field of machine learning and AI to push the boundaries of what’s possible, and Apple is committed to supporting the academic research community and their invaluable contributions to the world."

Barbara Simons Receives 2019 ACM Policy Award

CS alumna Barbara Simons (PhD 1981, advisor: Richard Karp) has won the 2019 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Policy Award for long-standing, high-impact leadership.  The award recognizes "an individual or small group that had a significant positive impact on the formation or execution of public policy affecting computing or the computing community."  Over several decades, Simons has advanced technology policy by founding and leading organizations, authoring influential publications, and effecting change through lobbying and public education.  She was president of ACM from 1998-2008 and the founding Chair of ACM's US Public Policy Committee (USACM, now USTPC), which was envisioned "to provide cogent advice and analysis to legislators and policymakers about a wide range of issues including cryptography, computer security, privacy, and intellectual property."  She is internationally known as an expert on voting technology and reform, and is a key player in persuading election officials to shift to paper-based voting systems.  Simons currently chairs the Board of Directors of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that advocates for legislation and regulation of elections to improve accuracy, transparency and verifiability.

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.