Matthias Vallentin and Vern Paxson take a “VAST” Step Forward in Cyber Security

Postdoctoral researcher Matthias Vallentin is developing VAST,  a  forensic analysis tool  designed to help prioritize the investigation of computer security breaches.  It complements Bro, a security tool  devised by Prof. Vern Paxson when he was a graduate student 22 years ago and which is now used worldwide, to instantly collect huge volumes of log data that a hack might compromise.  “Maybe the external machine also appeared in a phishing email, which contained a PDF attachment. Not only that, but the PDF also includes a malicious payload, which upon opening, sends sensitive information from the employee’s computer to a cyber criminal.  VAST supports this iterative process to reconstruct the complete picture and presents it on a platter” explains Vallentin.  The function, development, and industrial potential of these tools are discussed in a Berkeley Research article.

Baiyu Chen awarded top prize at Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge

CS graduate student Baiyu Chen (advisor: Alexei Efros) and Anthony Barrs were awarded top prize and $50,000 for their design at the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge.  Their idea, profiled in an article for Fortune, was to construct a "Hyperlane," or a single platform the size of four interstate lanes that would run parallel to pre-existing highways in order for self-driving cars to travel at high speeds with no chance of getting into a jam.

Tomás Vega rises to a disability challenge

Tomás Vega, a senior computer science and cognitive science major, was part of a team that participated in the first collegiate Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) event and which was profiled in a Jewish News article titled "Cal students pull a marathon to engineer disability solutions."  His team, led by Berkeley alumnus Pierluigi Mantovani, designed a special pair of gloves to help a Berkeley filmmaker with very limited use of his hands navigate a computer screen.  The filmmaker, who had to use a joystick with his lower lip to navigate, can now perform the same task by just slightly moving his wrists.  The gloves use electromyography, which detects signals from his muscles.   “When someone tells you, ‘Thank you for changing my life, for improving the quality of my life,’ there’s nothing like that,” Vega said.

Eli Yablonovitch to receive IEEE William R. Cherry Award

Prof. Eli Yablonovitch has been awarded the IEEE William R. Cherry Award, which is the highest IEEE Award for solar cells. This award recognizes an individual engineer or scientist who has devoted a part of their professional life to the advancement of the science and technology of photovoltaic energy conversion. The nominee must have made significant contributions to the science and/or technology of PV energy conversion, with dissemination by substantial publications and presentations. Prof. Yablonovitch is receiving this award for his contributions to research, engineering and entrepreneurship realizing photovoltaic technologies capturing the "ins and outs" of photons and application of these technologies in silicon and III-V solar cells.

Raghav Chandra's UrbanClap dominates India's on-demand services ecosystem

Alumnus Raghav Chandra (EECS B.S. '11) and his second start-up, UrbanClap, are the subject of a Live Mint article describing the formation and rise of the most funded start-up in the still nascent hyperlocal segment of the on-demand services sector in India.  UrbanClap, which aggregates 107 local services and 65,000 providers, and enables customers to request services online through its website or mobile application, raised $36.6M in funding during the first 2 years after its inception.  Raghav, who was active in GamesCrafters as a student, became a software engineer at Yelp and Twitter, and founded the startup Buggi, before meeting his current partners to co-found UrbanClap.

Jan Rabaey to receive two honorary doctorates

Prof. Jan Rabaey will be receiving two honorary doctorates. The first one is for scientific merit from the University of Antwerp in Belgium on March 30, 2017.  The second one will follow on May 20 from the Tampere University of Technology. The title of Honorary Doctor is the highest recognition that a university can award. In the early 1990s, Prof. Rabaey developed the ‘infopad’, the forerunner of the iPad and tablet computers. He is currently conducting research into the human intranet, which involves connecting the human body to sensors and devices that communicate with the human brain.

Dan Garcia's research group GameCrafters featured in PBS Newshour article

Prof. Dan Garcia was interviewed in a PBS Newshour article titled “This Pi Day, use math to beat your friends at classic toy games”. To celebrate Pi Day, mathematicians and physicists explored three classic toys, hula hoops, yo-yo’s and Connect Four on ways to be the most successful with each toy. To count how many possible ways a real game of Connect Four could end, Prof. Garcia’s  research group called GamesCrafters created a program to simulate all the moves. GamesCrafters “strongly solved” the game and found 4,531,985,219,092, or 4.53 trillion combinations to Connect Four are possible.

Student startup culture is in The House

A number of EECS alumni and faculty have been invited to guest lecture for a DeCal course called "Build the Future" (CS 198), designed in collaboration with startup institute The House, to get undergraduate students engaged with the Berkeley entrepreneurial ecosystem and to use their time on campus creatively.  CS majors Jimmy Liu and Zuhayeer Musa (who run a company called Bash) helped develop the course, CS Prof. Scott Shenker is the faculty advisor, and Cameron Baradar (B.S.’15 EECS) is executive director of The House.  Speakers will include CS Prof. Joe Hellerstein, EE Prof. Kurt Keutzer, co-founder of Oculus Jack McCauley (B.S.’86, EECS), and founder of inDinero Jessica Mah (B.S.’10 EECS).

Björn Hartmann is countering extremism with technology

Designing Technology to Counter Violent Extremism,” a course co-taught by CS Associate Prof. Björn Hartmann at the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, is designed to develop technology-based solutions to ideologically motivated violence in the United States.  In the class, students seek to understand the roots of violent extremism and conceive of technological antidotes. “The Internet — from viral videos to hijacked hashtags to bot networks — has emerged as a key arena in which violent extremists engage with the public,” the course description reads. “But technology is also a key tool in the fight against extremism.”

Jose Carmena wants to use brain implants to tune the mind

EE Prof.  and co-director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses Jose Carmena participated in a discussion with the Kavli Foundation about technologies that might be used to treat mental illness or enhance memory. Prof. Carmena, who has co-developed brain-machine interfaces and implantable microsensors, says "we have learned a lot about how to target different areas in the brain.  The aim of these devices is to help people who are paralyzed by injury or disease move again by creating an artificial pathway between the areas of the brain that control motion and the muscles. Essentially, they are devices that use electrodes implanted in the brain to translate thoughts into the action of prosthetics."