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.

Alexandra von Meier

Alexandra von Meier explains why locally sourced power may be the solution to California's vulnerable energy grid

EE Adjunct Prof. Alexandra von Meier, who is the director of the CITRIS California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE)’s Electric Grid program, is the subject of a Berkeley News interview titled "Our energy grid is vulnerable. Locally sourced power may be the answer."   In light of last week's massive PG&E power outage, Von Meier discusses why the current power grid is a fire hazard, why solar power is not a practical alternative during a power outage, and ways to make the grid safer.  She also explains how one of CIEE's research projects, EcoBlock, which is looking into stand-alone microgrids of electrical generation and storage that could be shared among multiple households on a city block, might offer a possible solution.

Ren Ng weighs in on why your photos are about to get a lot better

CS Prof. Ren Ng is quoted in a New York Times article titled "The Reason Your Photos Are About to Get a Lot Better."  The article describes how computational photography is driving the future of phone cameras.  “Most photos you take these days are not a photo where you click the photo and get one shot,” said Ng. “These days it takes a burst of images and computes all of that data into a final photograph.”  He and his students are researching new techniques in computational photography, like applying portrait-mode effects to videos.  One type of effect could be to set the recorded footage to automatically focus on whomever is speaking.  “These are examples of capabilities that are completely new and emerging in research that could completely change what we think of that’s possible,” said Ng.

How to Stop Superhuman A.I. Before It Stops Us

EECS Prof. Stuart Russell has penned a New York Times Op-Ed titled "How to Stop Superhuman A.I. Before It Stops Us," in which he explains why we need to design artificial intelligence that is beneficial, not just smart.  "Instead of building machines that exist to achieve their objectives," he writes, we need to build "machines that have our objectives as their only guiding principle..."   This will make them "necessarily uncertain about what these objectives are, because they are in us — all eight billion of us, in all our glorious variety, and in generations yet unborn — not in the machines."  Russell has just published a book titled "Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control" (Viking , October 8, 2019).

Pragya Kushwaha wins 2019 IEEE EDS Early Career Award

EECS Postdoctoral researcher Pragya Kushwaha, currently working with Prof. Chenming Hu and Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin in the Berkeley Short-channel IGFET Model (BSIM) group, has won a prestigious 2019 IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) Early Career Award.  This award is presented annually to an IEEE EDS member who has made early career contributions to the field.  Kushwaha develops compact models for emerging electronic devices, now considered the industry standard.  The models are used by circuit designers to predict device behavior (i.e., current, power, and noise) to simulate their circuits during design before fabrication. This honor was previously won by BSAC Postdoc Chen Yang in 2010.

Rod Brooks' EECS Colloquium lecture makes IEEE Spectrum Video Friday

A video of the lecture that MIT Prof. Emeritus Rodney Brooks gave at last week's EECS Joint Colloquium has made IEEE Spectrum's Video Friday,  a weekly selection of "awesome robot videos."  Brooks' talk,  titled "Steps Toward Super Intelligence and the Search for a New Path," examines what we might need to do over the next (few) hundred years  to give AI human level--or even super--intelligence.  He questions the assumptions on which the AI field has been built, and whether both AI and neuroscience will need a fundamental reboot in order to make real progress.  Brooks is known for giving "some of the best video talks ever."

Alvin Kao and Titan Yuan honored as Siebel Scholars

5th Year CS Master's students Alvin Kao (B.S. '19)  and Titan Yuan (B.S. '19) have been named to the Siebel Scholars Foundation’s 2020 class.  Kao is working on problems in the autonomous vehicle setting, like predicting the behavior of other agents and trajectory planning.  Yuan is working with the Swarm Lab on embedded software for some of the world’s tiniest wireless devices, so that they can be used as miniature temperature sensors and Bluetooth beacons.

Srinivasan Keshav named IIT Delhi 2019 Distinguished Alumnus

CS alumnus Srinivasan Keshav (Ph.D. '91, advisor: Domenico Ferrari) has won a 2019 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi Distinguished Alumni Award.  Keshav is a Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is known for his cutting-edge research in the areas of computer networking and energy informatics and currently focuses on research on blockchains for transactive energy.  His work has been cited more than 16,000 times and he holds 73 patents worldwide. He has been the co-director of the Information Systems and Science for Energy (ISS4E) Laboratory at the University of Waterloo since 2010.

Leslie Field addresses UN on climate Ice911 Research

EE alumna Leslie Field (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Richard White) gave an insightful and inspirational presentation on Ice911 Research at the inaugural Global Climate Restoration Forum held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York yesterday.  Field is the Founder and CEO of Ice911 Research, a non-profit focused on developing a technique to preserve and rebuild polar and glacial ice and polar habitat using a localized and ecologically respectful material, like floating sand, to reflect sunlight and stave off one of the effects of global warming.

Paper by Vasily Volkov and James Demmel wins SC19 Test of Time Award

A paper by alumnus Vasily Volkov (Ph.D. '16), now at Nvidia, and his advisor Prof. James Demmel has won the 2019 ACM/IEEE Supercomputing Conference (SC19) Test of Time Award.   The paper, "Benchmarking GPUs to Tune Dense Linear Algebra," which won the SC08 Best Student Paper Award when it was published, describes a first-of-its-kind vision of GPU architectures as a vector machine. The authors defined techniques to achieve greater efficiency and performance, detailing an optimization pattern that is found today in many high-performance GPU codes.  The paper has been cited almost a thousand times and has had a tremendous impact on the field.  The award, which recognizes an outstanding paper that has deeply influenced the HPC discipline, is one of the most prestigious in the SC conference series and will be presented at the 2019 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis in Colorado in November.

Sergey Levine, Francis Bach, and Pieter Abbeel are top 3 most prolific NeurIPS 2019 authors

Two EECS faculty and one alumnus are the authors with the most number of papers accepted to the upcoming 2019 Thirty-third Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), one of the most popular and influential AI conferences in the world.  CS Prof. Sergey Levine took the top spot with 12 papers, alumnus Francis Bach (Ph.D. '05, advisor: Michael Jordan) was the second most prolific contributor with 10 papers, and Prof. Pieter Abbeel placed third with nine.  Only one in five of the 6,743 papers submitted to the conference this year were accepted.  Registration to be one of the 8,000 attendees at  last year's NeurIPS (formerly NIPS) conference sold out in 12 minutes.  A lottery has been implemented for this year's conference, which will take place in December.