News

Ben Recht wins NIPS Test of Time Award

Prof. Ben Recht has won the Neural Information Processing System (NIPS) 2017 Test of Time Award for a paper he co-wrote with Ali Rahimi in 2007 titled "Random Features for Large-Scale Kernel Machines."   Deep learning, which involves stacking many neural networks on top of one another to learn the features of giant databases and develop clever algorithms, is being used to carry out more and more tasks in an expanding number of areas.  In their acceptance speech at the NIPS conference, Recht and Rahimi posited that more theory is needed to understand the state-of-the-art empirical performance of deep learning, and called for simple theorems and simple, easily reproducible experiments.  "We are building systems that govern healthcare and mediate our civic dialogue, we influence elections," said Rahimi. "I would like to live in a society where systems are built on top of verifiable, rigorous thorough knowledge and not alchemy."

Arcak and Coogan

Murat Arcak and Sam Coogan win the 2017 IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems Outstanding Paper Award

Prof. Murat Arcak, alumnus Samuel Coogan (M.S. '12/Ph.D. '15), and their co-authors on the paper titled “Traffic network control from temporal logic specifications,” have won the 2017 IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems Outstanding Paper Award.  The award is presented annually by the IEEE Control Systems Society to recognize an outstanding paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.  Judging is based on originality, potential impact on the foundations of network systems, importance and practical significance in applications, and clarity.  Coogan, who is now an assistant professor at UCLA, received the EECS Eli Jury Award in 2016 for "outstanding achievement in the area of systems, communications, control, or signal processing," and the 2014 Leon O. Chua Award for "outstanding achievement in an area of nonlinear science."

C. L. Hoang publishes "Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees"

A  new book, Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees, by EE alumnus C. L. Hoang (M.S. '82), is set to be released by Willow Stream Publishing tomorrow.  Hoang was born and raised in Vietnam during the war and came to the US in the 1970s.  He wrote this travelogue about his experiences returning to his ancestral homeland for the first time, in 2016, after a decades-long absence.   He still makes his living as an engineer--he holds 11 patents--and says that his engineering training helped him hone his organizational skills and develop an analytical eye for details as well as a love for research.  His first book, Once upon a Mulberry Field, is a historical novel set in Vietnam during the height of the war.

Schematic of a magnetic memory array

EECS-affiliated team develops new, ultrafast method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals

A UC Berkeley/UC Riverside research group that includes Prof. Jeffrey Bokor, Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin, postdoc Charles-Henri Lambert, postdoctoral fellow Jon Gorchon, and EE graduate student Akshay Pattabi have developed a new, ultrafast method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals, a breakthrough that could lead to greatly increased performance and more energy-efficient computer memory and processing technologies.  Their findings are published in both Science Advances (Vol. 3, No. 49, Nov. 3, 2017) under the title Ultrafast magnetization reversal by picosecond electrical pulses and Applied Physics Letters (Vol. III, No. 4, July 24, 2017) under the title Single shot ultrafast all optical magnetization switching of ferromagnetic Co/Pt multilayers.  “The development of a non-volatile memory that is as fast as charge-based random-access memories could dramatically improve performance and energy efficiency of computing devices,” says Bokor. “That motivated us to look for new ways to control magnetism in materials at much higher speeds than in today’s MRAM.”

Pramod Subramanyan and Rohit Sinha

"A Formal Foundation for Secure Remote Execution of Enclaves" wins Best Paper Award at ACM CCS 2017

A paper co-authored by postdoc Pramod Subramanyan, grad student Rohit Sinha, alumnus Ilia Lebedev (B.S. '10), alumnus and MIT Prof. Srinivas Devadas (M.S. '86/Ph.D. '88), and EECS Prof. Sanjit A. Seshia has won Best Paper Award at the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS).  The paper, A Formal Foundation for Secure Remote Execution of Enclaves, introduces a formal modeling and verification methodology for secure remote execution based on the notion of a trusted abstract platform.  CCS is the flagship annual conference of the Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control (SIGSAC) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Three EECS-affiliated papers win Helmholtz Prize at ICCV 2017

Three papers with Berkeley authors received the Helmholtz Prize at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) 2017 in Venice, Italy.  This award honors  papers that have stood the test of time (more than ten years after first publication) and is bestowed by the IEEE technical committee on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI).    Seven papers won this year, among them: "Recognizing action at a distance," by A Efros, A Berg, G Mori and J Malik, ICCV 2003; "Discovering objects and their location in images," by J Sivic, B Russell, A Efros, A Zisserman and W Freeman, ICCV 2005; and "The pyramid match kernel: Discriminative classification with sets of image features," by K Grauman and T Darrell, ICCV 2005."

A chick embryo with birth defects (Science Signaling)

Chunlei Liu's research may help prevent birth defects linked to fever during early pregnancy

EE Associate Prof. Chunlei Liu has co-authored a study which has identified a specific molecular pathway that links maternal fever early in pregnancy to some congenital heart and cranial facial birth defects.  The findings, which were published in the journal Science Signaling, suggest a portion of congenital birth defects could be prevented if fevers are treated through the judicious use of acetaminophen during the first trimester.  Among their discoveries, the scientists found that neural crest cells—which are critical building blocks for the heart, face and jaw—contain temperature-sensitive properties.  “With electrical magnetic waves coupled with engineered ion channel proteins, we are able to impact specific biological cells remotely without affecting other biochemical environments,” Liu said. “The technique can be applied to study many different cell types and their roles at various developmental stages.”  The research was conducted in collaboration with scientists at Duke Universiy.

RISELab researchers investigate how to build more secure, faster AI systems

Computer Science faculty in the Real-Time Intelligent Secure Execution Lab (RISELab) have outlined challenges in systems, security and architecture that may impede the progress of Artificial Intelligence, and propose new research directions to address them.  The paper, A Berkeley View of Systems Challenges for AI, was authored by Profs. Stoica, Song, Popa, Patterson, Katz, Joseph, Jordan, Hellerstein, Gonzalez, Goldberg, Ghodsi, Culler and Abbeel, as well as Michael  Mahoney in Statistics/ICSI. Some of the challenges outlined include AI systems that make timely and safe decisions in unpredictable environments, that are robust against sophisticated adversaries, and that can process ever increasing amounts of data across organizations and individuals without compromising confidentiality.

Edward A. Lee publishes new book, "Plato and the Nerd"

EE Prof. Edward A. Lee has published his first book for a general audience, Plato and the Nerd: The Creative Partnership of Humans and Technology  (MIT Press, 2017).  In it, Lee observes that engineering is a deeply intellectual and fundamentally inventive process and that the producers of digital technology have an unsurpassed medium for creativity.   Janos Sztipanovits writes in his review "Lee's book is a brilliant articulation of the unique and increasingly important role technology plays in the evolution of mankind. He offers a deeply optimistic perspective with clarity and intellectual rigor without ever losing accessibility."  Lee has previously coauthored several textbooks on topics including digital communication, signal processing, embedded systems, and software modeling.

Aviad Rubinstein helps show that game players won’t necessarily find a Nash equilibrium

CS graduate student Aviad Rubinstein (advisor: Christos Papadimitriou)  is featured in a Quanta Magazine article titled "In Game Theory, No Clear Path to Equilibrium," which describes the results of his paper on game theory proving that no method of adapting strategies in response to previous games will converge efficiently to even an approximate Nash equilibrium for every possible game. The paper, titled Communication complexity of approximate Nash equilibria, was co-authored by Yakov Babichenko and published last September.  Economists often use Nash equilibrium analyses to justify proposed economic reforms, but the new results suggest that economists can’t assume that game players will get to a Nash equilibrium, unless they can justify what is special about the particular game in question.