News

Berkeley to host Art + Nature Symposium this weekend

Design Innovation from Nature, a new collaboration among the Colleges of Environmental Design, Letters & Science, and Engineering at Berkeley, will be holding an Art + Nature Symposium co-hosted by the University of Tokyo this weekend, November 9-10, 2019.   The symposium will explore how biological models stimulate the curiosity of today’s designers and researchers, and will bring together various lectures by experts from the fields of art, architecture, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, robotics, and biology.  Two of the lectures will by EECS Profs. Ron Fearing and Robert Full.

New Course Takes Data Science to the Next Level

A data science course introduced this semester gives students the chance to delve into concepts and research that are rarely, if ever, offered at the undergraduate level. Data 102, which is being taught by CS Prof. Michael Jordan and Statistics Prof. Fernando Perez, builds on earlier data science courses by not only teaching students the “how to” of Data 100 and the “finding patterns” of Data 8, but also the applications, specifically in relation to decision making in the context of other decision makers and sequences of decisions. Students learn to use data to make decisions even when faced with uncertainty.  “There is no other class that brings statistics, computing, and real world problems together in such an embrace” Jordan said.

Anca Dragan to deliver keynote speech at Ada Lovelace Day celebration

EECS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Ada Lovelace Day Celebration of Women in Robotics on Tuesday, October 8, in Sutardja Dai Hall.   The celebration is sponsored by the Women in Tech Initiative (WITI), a joint program of Berkeley Engineering, CITRIS & the Banatao Institute, and CITRIS People & Robotics (CPAR).  It plans to offer "a deep dive into robotic applications for good " and will show participants how "to enter the robotics field with networking, mentoring opportunities, and demos from impressive student groups and supportive community organizations including Women in Robotics/SVR."   Panels will feature leaders from robotics startups, like Tessa Lau (Dusty Robotics), Nicole Kernbaum (Seismic), Jasmine Lawrence (EDEN BodyWorks) and Mai Nguyen (Optoceutics).  Robohub’s selection of the Top 25 Women in Robotics will also be revealed

Feng Zhou helping NetEase find new life beyond games

CS alumnus Feng Zhou (Ph.D. '07, advisor: Eric Brewer) is the subject of a Bloomberg article titled "The U.S.-trained coder is helping NetEase find new life beyond games."  To help the company remain competitive, NetEase Youdao CEO Zhou is creating an all-in-one learning platform to tap the lucrative overlap between education and technology.  Addressing the pressure many Chinese families feel to prepare children for college entrance exams starting as early as Kindergarten, Zhou says courses can be taught through high-speed live-streaming, enabling smooth communication between teacher and student. Artificial intelligence-powered tutors can grade homework and use data to evaluate student test results.  “That’s what we have always been good at,” said Zhou. “Almost every industry in China has been transformed by the internet, but that’s not yet the case for education.”

EE and CS place 2nd and 3rd in 2020 US News undergraduate engineering rankings

The US News and World Report has ranked both the EE and CS engineering programs among the top 3 undergraduate programs in the country for 2020.  Berkeley once again took the #2 spot in the Electrical/Electronic/Communications (EEC) category, while moving up one spot to #3 from its 2019 ranking in the Computer engineering category.   Berkeley EECS ranks just behind MIT in the EEC category and behind MIT and CMU in the Computer category.   Berkeley Engineering programs were ranked #3 overall in the country.

Richard Din innovates unique course to help students connect more deeply with entrepreneurs

EECS alumnus Richard Din (B.S. EECS/B.A. Econ '08),  the co-founder of revolutionary food-delivery app Caviar, has imagined and helped to create a small, select, new course being offerred fall semester through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET).  The course, which cannot be documented or attended by visitors, will host diverse and unique speakers from the tech industry who will share personal stories about their startups, including sensitive details about “co-founder fights, investor drama, and running out of money.”  “When it’s off the record," said Din, "then you can be more candid about finer details and tell more interesting stories.” Students interested in taking the course must be nominated by a professor. Professors can send nominations to Jennifer Nice at jennifernice@berkeley.edu.

Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley

Berkeley Remix Podcast Season 4, Episode 2, explores the contributions of UC Berkeley Engineering to the rise of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley in the 1960s and 70s.   “Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley”  focuses on the development of SPICE, the first widely used design program for prototyping microchips, which was originally designed by and for students.  The software spread "like lightning" in part because Berkeley, as a public institution, made it available free of charge. The world has not been the same since.  The podcast features audio from interviews with Prof. Emeritus  Paul Gray  and alumnus Laurence Nagel (B.S. '69/M.S. '70/Ph.D. '75, advisor: Donald Pederson), CEO of Omega Enterprises, and former senior manager at Bell Laboratories.

Bill Kramer to Lead Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

CS alumnus Bill Kramer (Ph.D. 2008, advisors: David Culler and James Demmel) has been selected as the next director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), a joint research center of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.  Kramer, currently project director and PI of the Blue Waters Project and the senior associate director for  NCSA @Scale Science and Technology at Urbana-Champaign, begins his role in  fall 2019.  Kramer has also held leadership rolls at LBNL, NASA Ames, and NERSC.

Berkeley distinguished by number of graduating startup founders

According to Crunchbase News,  UC Berkeley graduated 108 startup founders--not including business school graduates --who raised $1M or more after May 1, 2018.   This makes Berkeley the top-ranked public university, and the third-ranked university of any kind after Stanford and MIT, in founding graduates.  In the Crunchbase tally of all funded founders graduating from public universities (including those with business school degrees), Berkeley (with 240) had more than three times the number of funded founders than second-ranked UCLA (with 85).  Berkeley News notes that you would have to combine the second- through fifth-ranked schools (UCLA, Michigan, Illinois and Washington)  to get to Berkeley’s level. “Berkeley is the original question-the-status-quo, do-disruptive-thinking place,” says Caroline Winnet of Berkeley SkyDeck. “I like to say that we don’t just think outside the box. There is no box.”

Alexei Efros, Ren Ng and Kameshwar Poolla win EECS outstanding teaching awards

The winners of the 2019 EECS teaching awards have been announced:  Alexei Efros has won the Diane S. McEntyre Award for Excellence in Teaching Computer Science "for captivating lectures and engaging teaching in computer vision courses;"  Ren Ng has won the Jim and Donna Gray Faculty Award for Undergraduate Teaching "for exceptionally inspiring and engaging teaching in computer graphics courses;" and Kameshwar Poolla has won the Electrical Engineering Award for Outstanding Teaching "for outstanding lectures and inspiring mentorship of undergraduates and graduate students."  We are fortunate to have such dedicated and talented faculty to define the character of the EECS department and guide the future of their fields.