New open-source platform helps speed up the development of interactive 3D scenes

A team led by CS Assistant Professor Anjoo Kanazawa has created Nerfstudio, an open-source platform to help speed up the development of Neural Radiance Fields (NeRFs). NeRFs are a type of 3D imaging technology that can be used to create photorealistic 3D models of objects and scenes from a series of images. The plug-and-play framework, called Nerfstudio, makes it easier for researchers to create and train NeRFs, allowing users to run NeRFs on real-world data. “Advancements in NeRF have contributed to its growing popularity and use in applications such as computer vision, robotics, visual effects and gaming. But support for development has been lagging,” said Kanazawa. “The Nerfstudio framework is intended to simplify the development of custom NeRF methods, the processing of real-world data and interacting with reconstructions.”


U.S. Senate Hearing: Stuart Russell testifies on AI regulation

CS Professor Stuart Russell testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation about the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI). In the July 25 hearing, Russell argued that AI is a powerful technology that has the potential to do great good or great harm, and he urged the Senate to take a proactive approach to regulating AI. Russell's testimony focused on three key areas of AI regulation: transparency, accountability, and safety. “My research over the last decade has focused on the problem of control: how do we maintain power, forever, over entities that will eventually become more powerful than us? How do we ensure that AI systems are safe and beneficial for humans? These are not purely technological questions. In both the short term and the long term, regulation has a huge role to play in answering them,” said Russell.


Venkat Anantharam and Cheuk-Ting Li win 2023 IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award

EE Professor Venkat Anantharam and Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Professor Cheuk-Ting Li have won the 2023 IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award. The award is given annually “for an outstanding publication in the fields of interest to the Society appearing anywhere during the preceding four calendar years.” The paper “A unified framework for one-shot achievability via the Poisson matching lemma,” by Li and Anantharam, appeared in the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory in February 2021, when Li was a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley EECS. Li is now an assistant professor at the CUHK. Anantharam, who is an IEEE Fellow, received this award once before in 2008 for the paper “Bits Through Queues.”

Alyosha Efros wins the Thomas S. Huang Memorial Prize

CS Professor Alyosha Efros has won the Thomas S. Huang Memorial Prize. The Huang Memorial Prize was established in 2020 by IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI). The prize, which is awarded annually at the IEEE / CVF Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference (CVPR), recognizes exemplary research, teaching, mentoring, and service to the computer vision community. Thomas S. Huang was a pioneering scholar “who left deep impressions in multiple fields including computer vision and image processing, and a role model who contributed to the growth and well-being of several generations of researchers in the community.” The award includes a cash prize of $3,000 and a commemorative plaque.


Shafi Goldwasser wins Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing

A team led by CS Professor Shafi Goldwasser has won the 2023 Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing. The 1988 paper, "Completeness Theorems for Non-Cryptographic Fault-Tolerant Distributed Computation," by Michael Ben-Or, Shafi Goldwasser, and Avi Wigderson was among the three papers to receive the award. Awarded annually, the Dijkstra Prize, which is jointly sponsored by the ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC) and the EATCS Symposium on Distributed Computing (DISC), recognizes papers whose significance and impact on the theory and practice of distributed computing has been evident for at least 10 years. The prize includes an award of $2,000. Shafi Goldwasser is the director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received the Turing Award in 2012.

Dan Garcia joins CRA-WP board

CS Teaching Professor Dan Garcia has joined the board of directors of The Computing Research Association’s Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP). The CRA-WP was established in 1991 with the goal of increasing the participation of women in computing research, though its current mission broadly supports underrepresented populations to improve access, opportunities, and experiences of those in computing research and higher education.


Sophia Shao and Nika Hagthalab win Google Research Scholar Awards

CS Assistant Professors Sophia Shao and Nika Haghtalab have won Google Research Scholar Awards. The Google Research Scholar Program provides financial support for world-class research conducted by professors in the early stage of their academic careers. Shao’s research interests include computer architecture, focusing on specialized accelerators, heterogeneous architecture, and agile VLSI design methodology. Haghtalab’s research interests include machine learning, algorithms, economics, and society, contributing to an emerging mathematical foundation for learning and decision-making systems in the presence of economic and societal forces.

Photo of Vivek Nair, left, and photo of Dawn Song, right.

EECS researchers explore unprecedented privacy risks of VR

An article produced by the College of Computing, Data Science, and Society highlighted the increasingly frought landscape of user privacy in the emerging world of Virtual Reality (VR) devices. The article cites two papers published by faculty, students, and visitors affiliated with the Berkeley Center for Responsible, Decentralized Intelligence. Led by CS Ph.D student Vivek Nair and Professor Dawn Song, the research showed that users of such devices can be identified using just minutes of their head and hand movements. Movement data, which is collected and shared with companies and other players to fuel these worlds, can be used to infer dozens of details from age to disability status. One paper demonstrates that body movements are as singular and reliable an identifier as fingerprints, which was accepted for publication at the USENIX Security Symposium. Another found that use of headset data could accurately identify or infer more than 25 characteristics, including location, age and height, which will be published for the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium. “We've done an extensive job of proving that there is a privacy risk here and that it is a different kind of privacy risk than what we have seen on the web,” Nair said. “These kinds of approaches for how to either transform the data or control who has access to it, that's going to be our main focus moving forward." Berkeley RDI is a multi-disciplinary initiative aimed at advancing the science, technology and education of decentralization and empowering a responsible digital economy. This work is part of the center’s Metaverse security and privacy research effort.

Two photos, side-by-side. Photo of Professor Arias left, Professor Pister right.

Novel agriculture-tech platform developed by Ana Arias and Kristofer Pister featured in Berkeley Engineer

Professors Ana Arias and Kristofer Pister were featured in the Spring 2023 issue of Berkeley Engineer, showcasing their recent development of a tracking system for agricultural land which uses a novel printed sensor array and a wireless communications platform. The technology, dubbed the SmartStake system, uses stake-mounted sensors to provide an inexpensive alternative to cavity ring-down spectroscopy, a state-of-the-art but far more costly method for measuring gases like nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that plays a role in climate change. They hope their system, co-developed with Whendee Silver, Professor of Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry, may someday transform biofuel agriculture by enabling farmers to fine-tune agricultural practices to lower nitrous oxide emissions, while also optimizing fertilizer and irrigation usage. Berkeley Engineer is published twice yearly by Berkeley Engineering’s Office of Marketing & Communications and distributed to more than 50,000 alumni, faculty, donors and friends, highlighting the excellence of faculty, alumni and students and bringing their work to life through news and research stories.

Photo of Professor Hellerstein

Joseph Hellerstein wins SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award

Professor Joseph Hellerstein was awarded the 2023 SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award, citing innovative contributions in extensible query processing, interactive data analytics, and declarative approaches to networking and distributed computing. The award is given for innovative and highly significant contributions of enduring value to the development, understanding, or use of database systems and databases. Until 2003, this award was known as the “SIGMOD Innovations Award.” In 2004, SIGMOD, with the unanimous approval of ACM Council, decided to rename the award to honor Dr. E.F. (Ted) Codd (1923 – 2003) who invented the relational data model and was responsible for the significant development of the database field as a scientific discipline. SIGMOD, otherwise known as the the ACM Special Interest Group on Management of Data, is concerned with the principles, techniques and applications of database management systems and data management technology. Its members include software developers, academic and industrial researchers, practitioners, users, and students. SIGMOD sponsors the annual SIGMOD/PODS conference, one of the most important and selective in the field.