Sanjay Mehrotra named Vice Chair of SIA

Alumnus Sanjay Mehrotra (EECS B.S. '78/M.S. '80) has been named the 2018 Vice Chair of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).  The SIA is a trade association and lobbying group positioned as "the voice of the U.S. semiconductor industry."  Mehrotra, who is currently CEO of Micron, led the growth of SanDisk Corporation from start-up in 1988 to Fortune 500 company in 2016.  He holds 70 patents and has published articles on nonvolatile memory design and flash memory systems.

Stampede2 (Sean Cunningham / TACC)

EECS-affiliated team break record for fastest deep learning training

Grad student Yang You, Prof. James Demmel and Prof. Kurt Keutzer, along with Prof. Cho-Jui Hsieh of UC Davis and Dr. Zhao Zhang of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), have created, in collaboration with researchers at NVIDIA, a new algorithm which enables them to harness the power of supercomputers to train a deep neural network (DNN) for image recognition at record speed. Deep learning researchers currently use trial-and-error to design new models, requiring them to run training processes tens or even hundreds of times for each model.  The team's effort efficiently used 1024 Skylake processors on the Stampede2 supercomputer at TACC to complete a 100-epoch ImageNet training with AlexNet in 11 minutes - the fastest time recorded to date.  Also, using 1600 Skylake processors, they bested Facebook's prior results by finishing a 90-epoch ImageNet training with ResNet-50 in 32 minutes and, for batch sizes above 20,000, their accuracy was much higher than Facebook's.   The group's breakthrough involved the development of the Layer-Wise Adaptive Rate Scaling (LARS) algorithm that is capable of distributing data efficiently to many processors to compute simultaneously using a larger-than-ever batch size (up to 32,000 items). The LARS algorithm was jointly developed with Nvidia. The findings show an alternative to the trend of using specialized hardware - either GPUs, Tensor Flow chips, FPGAs or other emerging architectures—for deep learning. The team wrote the code based on Caffe and utilized Intel-Caffe, which supports multi-node training. The results are published in Arxiv.

(photo: L. Brian Stauffer)

Andreas Cangellaris named UI provost

EE alumnus Andreas Cangellaris (Ph.D. '85) will be the next provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the first person to hold the job on a permanent basis in more than two years.  Cangellaris joined the UI engineering faculty in 1997 and has been Dean of the College of Engineering since 2013, administering a college with more than 7,500 undergraduate, 3,000 graduate students, and an annual budget of $265 million. During his tenure as dean, the number of women and traditionally underrepresented undergraduate students increased by more than 55 percent.  "The potential is tremendous, the promise is great. I think overall the campus is ready to take a leadership role in public higher education in the 21st century, and to have the opporunity to be in a leadership position at that level is an honor," he said.  Cangellaris will start his new job on Jan. 16, pending approval by UI trustees on Thursday.

Diane Greene shares insight at Dreamforce conference

CS alumna Diane Greene (M.S. '88) sat down with Ginni Rometty and Marc Benioff at the Dreamforce conference last week to talk about women leaders in tech.  Greene, who is currently the CEO of Google Cloud, started out designing offshore oil structures and systems before becoming a software engineer.  She founded several successful companies, most notably VMware, which created the market for virtualization.  She and Rometty, who is the CEO of IBM, stand among the ranks of the tech giants of industry--almost all of whom are men.   They discussed their careers, leadership philosophies, and how they approach their responsibilites as women in power.

Slaughterbots video shows why we should ban lethal autonomous weapons

Prof. Stuart Russell teamed up with to create a provocative video called Slaughterbots, which shows what can go wrong when autonomous weapons are designed to target humans.  "This short film is more than just speculation" Russell says. "It shows the results of integrating and miniaturizing technology that we already have."

New Master of Cybersecurity degree now accepting applications

The School of Information (I School) is now accepting applications for its new, online Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS) program, also known as cybersecurity@berkeley.  MICS is an accredited program designed to train students with professional experience for a career in cybersecurity. Delivered online, MICS provides the technical skills and contextual knowledge students need to assume leadership positions in private sector technology companies as well as government and military organizations.  The program was developed in partnership with the College of Engineering and in collaboration with the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC).  A number of EECS faculty are involved with the CLTC, which seeks to create effective dialogue among industry, academia, policy makers, and practitioners around a future-oriented conceptualization of cybersecurity — what it could imply and mean for human beings, machines, and the societies that will depend on both.  The first application deadline is January 30, 2018, and the first cohort of students will begin classes in May 2018.

Wu-Fu Chen elected to Crown Bioscience Board of Directors

CS alumnus Wu-Fu Chen (Ph.D. '77) has been elected to the Board of Directors of Crown Bioscience Inc., a global drug discovery and development company.  Chen is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Acorn Campus Ventures and Partner Emeritus at Mobility Ventures LLC.  He started more than a dozen companies, including Cascade Communications (IPO in Nasdaq, $10B) and Xinwei Telecom (IPO in China, near $30B).  Forbes Magazine ranked Chen as one of the Top 100 Venture Investors in the U.S. and he was recognized by Red Herring magazine as one of the “Top Ten Entrepreneurs of 2000”.   He has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and was once called the “Most Influential Person” in optical networking by Light Reading magazine.

UC Berkeley ranks #3 in 2017 U.S. and global CSRankings

UC Berkeley is ranked #3 overall in the U.S. and global computer science rankings (CSRankings) for 2017.  CSRankings is designed as a more meaningful and transparent alternative to the US News and World Report computer science ranking system--which is entirely reputation-based and relies on surveys sent to department heads and directors of graduate studies.  The CSRankings system is entirely metrics-based: it weighs departments by their presence at the most prestigious publication venues.    Berkeley ranked in the top 10 in all 4 fields:  Theory (1), Artificial Intelligence (3), Systems (6) and Interdisciplinary Areas (6).  And of the 26 areas ranked, Berkeley made the top 10 in 11 of them: computer vision(2), robotics(2), machine learning and data mining(3), computer security(3), cryptography(3), design automation(3), operating systems(4), natural language processing(5), software engineering(6), algorithms & complexity(7), computer networks(8).

Chancellor Gary May (Jesse Steshenko / Aggie)

Gary May confirmed as UC Davis chancellor

The Investiture of EECS alumnus Gary May (M.S. ’88 and Ph.D. ’92) as the seventh chancellor of UC Davis took place on Oct. 27 in the Mondavi Center, the first event in UC Davis’ annual Homecoming weekend.  May was presented with the Chancellor’s Medal by UC President Janet Napolitano, officially inaugurating him into his new position.  One of May's plans will be to develop Aggie Square — a technology and innovation hub in Sacramento.  “With diversity comes a wider and more interesting range of experiences, ideas, opinions and perceptions,” he said. “The greater the mix, the more likely we will make discoveries and solve problems — the hallmark of academic excellence.”

Embodied Intelligence raises $7M in seed round

Start-up Embodied Intelligence,  founded by Prof. Pieter Abbeel and his grad students Peter Chen, Rocky Duan, and Tianhao Zhang, raised $7M in a seed round yesterday led by venture capital firm Amplify Partners.  VC firms Lux Capital, SV Angels, FreeS, 11.2 Capital, and A. Capital also supplied capital.  Embodied Intelligence is building AI software to enable robots to learn tasks performed by the user via a virtual reality headset.  It claims existing robots will be compatible with the "robot brain," which would supplant coding scripts tailored to each task.  Embodied will use the seed capital to write its first robotics applications.