News

Nolan Pokpongkiat wins third place David L. Kirp Prize

Third-year Computer Science undergraduate Nolan Pokpongkiat is the third place winner of the KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize, funded by the U.C. Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues.  The prize recognizes "students who have developed innovative strategies to increase opportunities for children and youth, as well as students who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the future of children and youth."  Pokpongkiat co-founded Helix, a non-profit organization with the goal of diversifying the healthcare field by empowering young people to pursue futures in medicine. As Managing Director, Nolan brought together a team to design a month-long summer program where high school students spend a week living at UC Berkeley training in basic clinical skills, getting CPR-certified, and learning about possible healthcare careers. Then, through partnerships with UCSF Health, John Muir Health, and Kaiser Permanente, along with a network of over 160 medical professionals, students rotate through shadowing placements in the hospital, on the ambulance, and in community clinics for the remainder of the month.

EECS department mourns the loss of Jean Paul Jacob and Elwyn Berlekamp

The EECS department lost two beloved faculty emeriti this month:  Jean Paul Jacob on April 7 and Elwyn Berlekamp on April 9.  Jacob was born in Brazil and spent a number of years working in industry before attending Berkeley (MS '65/PhD '66, advisor: Elijah Polak).  He was a world expert on Informatics and had a career at IBM that spanned over 40 years.  He returned to Berkeley as Faculty-in-Residence in 1971 where he actively promoted diversity initiatives and helped found the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) in 2001.  Jacob won the EE Distinguished Alumni award in 1992.  Berlekamp was known for his work in coding theory and was one of the founders of combinatorial game theory.  He co-invented  the Berlekamp-Welch algorithm (which finds the shortest linear feedback shift register for a given binary output sequence) and the Berlekamp-Massey algorithm (which is used to implement Reed–Solomon error correction).  He bought out the controlling interest in Axcom Trading Advisors in 1989 and vastly increased the returns after rewriting the trading algorithms: returns to all investors in 1990 exceeded 55%, net of all trading costs and performance fees. He sold his interest in Axcom in December 1990.

EECS department honored with NCWIT Transformation (NEXT) Award for increasing women’s participation in computing

The L&S CS Major in the EECS Department has won the second place 2019 NCWIT Extension Services Transformation (NEXT) Award for Excellence in Promoting Women in Undergraduate Computing.  The team includes Director of Undergraduate Instruction Christopher Hunn, Director of Diversity Audrey Sillers, and CS Scholars Program Associate Director Charlene Hughes. The award comes with a prize of $50K to be used for diversity efforts.  NEXT awards are given to ES client organizations (department, departments, or college) that demonstrate a strong commitment to and proven results in recruiting and retaining women into undergraduate computing programs.  Between 2013 and spring 2018, the number of female Berkeley CS majors grew from 103 to 452. L&S CS produces more female CS graduates than all but three other universities in the nation, and the L&S CS major ranks 15th in the nation in terms of proportion of women in the major.  The award will be presented at the NCWIT Summit in May.

A Salute to Early Women in STEM at UC Berkeley

In celebration of Women's History Month, Sheila Humphreys, the EECS Emerita Director of Diversity, has published an essay in the EECS Newsletter titled "A Salute to Early Women in STEM at UC Berkeley."  This essay is the first part of a series of writings about the history of diversity in engineering at UC Berkeley, seen primarily through the lens of  Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.  It covers the first women researchers, faculty, and grad students in STEM at UC Berkeley including Agnes Morgan, Marian Diamond, Susan Graham, Avideh Zakhor, Lillian Gilbreth, and Kawthar Zaki.

Celebrate EECS Women's History Month in March!

The EECS department is celebrating Women’s History Month (WHM) this March by recognizing and sharing stories about women, both past and present, in the fields of electrical engineering and computer science. The goal of Berkeley EECS WHM, a student-led department-backed initiative created by 4th year EECS major Olivia Hsu, is to facilitate the conversation about diversity and inclusion in the field through a series of events and newsletters.  A kickoff event will take place on Friday, March 1st at 9:30 am in the Woz.

Black History in EECS: Joseph Thomas Gier

Meet EE Prof. Joseph Gier (1910-1961), the first tenured black professor in the U. C. system and the first tenured black faculty member in a STEM field—and the second in any field—at a top-ranked, predominantly white university in the country.  He was also a world expert in the field of thermal and luminous radiation, particularly infrared measurement, and was considered by many at the time to be the “best laboratory instructor ever to teach in electrical engineering at Berkeley.”

Women in Data Science will take the challenge to make a difference

The 2nd Annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) 2019 Datathon will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019 in Soda Hall.  The challenge will be to create a model that can detect oil palm plantations in high-resolution satellite imagery to help build awareness about deforestation and oil palm plantations.  The Datathon is a chance for women to meet other participants, form teams, learn the basics of participating in Kaggle competitions, and get a jump start on Datathon submissions with the help of technical mentors and domain experts.  Mentors who have some knowledge about deforestation, data science, image analysis, or have experience with technical project management, Kaggle competitions, or hackathons in general are welcome.  Tickets required.

Q+A with Dean Tsu-Jae King Liu

EE Prof. and Dean of Engineering Tsu-Jae King Liu is the subject of an interview in the Berkeley Engineer.  She is the first female dean in the College of Engineering's 150-year history and a pioneer in semiconductor devices and technology.  King Liu talks about her background and near-term goals, diversity in education, and some of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in engineering education at Berkeley.

Barbara Simons to be awarded Athena Lifetime Achievement Award

2005 CS Distinguished Alumna Barbara Simons (Ph.D. '81) will be receiving the Athena Lifetime Achievement Award at the CITRIS Women in Tech Symposium on Friday, 11/16.  Simons, who is a past president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), is board chair of Verified Voting, a non-partisan organization that advocates for reliable and secure voting practices.  She is the author of “Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?” and is a long-time champion for programs to increase diversity in computer science and engineering.  She will not be able to attend the conference but will make an appearance in a short video.

EECS grad students, faculty, and alumni to participate in 2018 Rising Stars

CS graduate students Sarah Chasins (advisor: Ras Bodik), Orianna DeMasi (BIDS), Sandy Huang (advisors: Anca Dragan/Pieter Abbeel), and postdoc Angjoo Kanazawa (advisors: Jitendra Malik/Alyosha Efros/Trevor Darrell) will be participating in the Rising Stars career-building workshop for women in EECS, which will be held from Oct. 28-30, 2018 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachussetts.    Chasin's topic is “Helena: A Web Automation Language for End Users,” DeMasi's is " Developing a Dialog System to Augment SMS Helpline Counselor Training,” Huang's is “Enabling Robot Transparency with Informative Actions,” and Kanazawa's is “Perceiving Deformable Shapes: Humans, Animals, and Birds.”  Speakers include EECS Profs. Laura Waller and Katherine Yelick, as well as postdoc Farnaz Niroui and alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. '90/Ph.D. '94).