News

CS faculty and alumni participate in Turing Award 50th Anniversary

The Turing Award 50th Anniversary celebration was held at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco on June 23-24, 2017.   CS Professors Stuart Russell and Michael Jordan participated on a panel discussion about advances in deep neural networks, Prof. Umesh Vazirani moderated a panel on quantum computing.  Prof. Emeritus and Turing winner Michael Stonebraker discussed the legal ramifications of collecting data from a growing number of devices with different encoding formats, and alumnus and Turing winner Butler Lampson (Ph.D. '67) participated on a panel about the end of Moore's Law.

The ACM A.M. Turing Award is considered the "Nobel prize of computing," and comes with a $1 million prize for contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the computing field.   EECS faculty have won four:  Richard Karp for theory and efficiency of algorithms (NP-completeness) in 1985, William Kahan for numerical analysis (floating-point) in 1989, Manuel Blum for computational complexity theory and cryptography in 1995, and Michael Stonebraker for modern database systems in 2014.  EECS alumni have won seven: Ken Thompson (B.S. '65/M.S. '66) for operating systems theory (UNIX) in 1983, Niklaus Wirth (Ph.D. '63) for computer languages (EULER/Pascal, etc.) in 1984, Butler Lampson (Ph.D. '67) for distributed, personal computing (workstations, networks, etc.) in 1992, Douglas Englebart (MS. '53/Ph.D. '55) for interactive computing in 1997, Leonard Adleman (Ph.D. '76) for public-key cryptography in 2002, and Shafi Goldwasser (M.S. '81/Ph.D. '84) with Silvio Micali (Ph.D. '82) for cryptography and complexity theory in 2012.

Edgar Solomonik wins Householder Prize for best dissertation in numerical linear algebra

Alumnus Edgar Solomonik (CS Ph.D. '14,  adviser: James Demmel) has won the Alston S. Householder Prize XX (2017)  for the best dissertation in numerical linear algebra.  The Householder prize, which is presented once every three years at a Symposium held in cooperation with the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and the SIAM Activity Group on Linear Algebra, has two winners this year.  Edgar's dissertation,  titled "Provably Efficient Algorithms for Numerical Tensor Algebra," also won the EECS Department's David J. Sakrison Memorial Prize for truly outstanding research. Edgar is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dawn Tilbury named head of NSF Engineering Directorate

EECS alumna Dawn Tilbury (M.S.'92, Ph.D.'94) will lead investments in fundamental engineering research and education as the newly appointed head of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Engineering (ENG).  ENG supports engineering research and education critical to the nation's future and fosters innovations that benefit society.   It provides about 32 percent of the federal funding for fundamental research in engineering at academic institutions.  Dawn has been a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, focusing in the area of control systems, with a courtesy appointment in the EECS department.  She also formerly served as associate dean for research in UMich's College of Engineering.  "I welcome the opportunity to work with the engineering and scientific community to address the big challenges that face the nation and world today," she says.

Anantha Chandrakasan named dean of MIT's School of Engineering

Alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. '90/Ph.D. '94), the Vannevar Bush Professor and head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Techhnology (MIT), has been named dean of MIT's School of Engineering.  Anantha joined the MIT faculty in 1994 and has produced a significant body of research focused largely on making electronic circuits more energy efficient. His early work on low-power chips for portable computers helped make possible the development of today’s smartphones and other mobile devices.  While Chair, he initiated a number of student programs including Rising Stars, for graduate and postdoc women.

Aaron Wagner selected winner of the IEEE 2017 James L. Massey Research and Teaching award.

EECS alumni Aaron Wagner has been selected as the winner of the 2017 James L. Massey Research and Teaching award for young scholars of the IEEE Information Theory Society. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in research and teaching by Society members under 40 years of age in the Information Theory community. Currently he is an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences in 2005 (advisor was Prof. Venkatachalam Anantharam). His current research interests are at the intersection of information theory and other fields including networking, statistics, queueing theory, security, computational linguistics, and learning. He is particularly interested in network information theory, distributed compression and its application to peer-to-peer networks, secure communication over timing and photonic channels, and communication and classification in learning-limited environments.

Warren Hoburg selected by Nasa for 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class

EECS alumni Warren Hoburg has been selected by NASA to be one of 12 people to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. Hoburg received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences in 2015 (advisor Associate Prof. Pieter Abbeel). Currently he is a Boeing Assistant Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Center for Computational Engineering Operations Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research focuses on efficient methods for design of engineering systems. His group produced and maintains the open-source software tool GPkit, which is a Python package for geometric programming. His group's tools were used to design a five-day endurance UAV currently under development for the US Air Force.

Armando Solar-Lezama: Academic success despite an inauspicious start

Alumnus and Mexican immigrant Armando Solar-Lezama (CS Ph.D. '08) is the subject of an MIT News article describing some of the academic obstacles he had to overcome on his path to becoming a tenured professor at MIT.  Armando's creative  approaches to his class assignments were discouraged in Mexico and despite self-educating to narrow the gap, he experienced systematic repression in high school when he moved to Texas with his family in 1997.  After he graduated from Texas A&M, he was welcomed into the Berkeley EECS graduate program.  Under the mentorship of Prof. Ras Bodik, Armando discovered the nascent area of "program synethesis," which has since blossomed into a popular field of research.  Read about Armando's challenging and inspiring journey.

UC Berkeley alumni are 2017's most wanted tech employees

According to an analysis by online recruiting company HiringSolved, UC Berkeley has the most undergraduate and graduate alumni hired by the 25 biggest Silicon Valley employers in 2017.  Using data from more than 10,000 public profiles for tech workers hired or promoted into new positions in 2016 and the first two months of 2017, the company determined that Berkeley alumni were hired more frequently than any other, followed by Stanford, CMU, and USC.  A Quartz Media article attributes some of that success to the close relationships our faculty and administrators have with Bay Area tech firms.  HiringSolved also determined which skills were the best indicators for getting entry-level jobs and the most likely job titles for new graduate applicants.

Two EECS alums on panel discussing challenges of female innovators

2017 EE Distinguished Alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. 90/Ph.D. 94) and EECS alumna Gitanjali Swamy (Ph.D. '97) are both participating in a TiE-Boston and  IIT AGNE panel discussion on the "unique strengths of and challenges for female innovators and the ecosystem that supports them."  Anantha is the Vannevar Bush Professor of EECS at MIT and the recipient of the IEEE Donald O. Pederson Award in Solid-State Circuits.  Gitanjali is a managing partner at IoTask, an “Innovation of Things” (IoT) company, and founder/advisory board member of the U.C. Berkeley Women in Technology Center.  The panel will be hosted at MIT on May 24, 2017.

Sanjay Mehrotra is Micron's new President and CEO

Alumnus Sanjay Mehrotra (EECS B.S. '78/M.S. '80) has been named Micron's new President and CEO.  Mehrotra co-founded SanDisk in 1988 and led the company through several strategic acquisitions (including SMART Storage Systems, Fusion-io, Schooner, and FlashSoft, that helped transform the company from a component supplier into a systems provider) until WD purchased it for $19 billion in early 2015.  He  joined WD's board after the acquisition to help lead the integration of the two companies until he stepped down in February 2017.   He holds 70 patents in non-volatile memory design and flash memory systems.