News

Jose Carmena and Michel Maharbiz win 2017 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award

Professors Jose Carmena and Michel Maharbiz have won a 2017 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award for "Neural Dust: an ultrasonic, low power, extreme miniature technology for completely wireless and untethered neural recordings in the brain."  These annual awards come with a $200K prize and are aimed at advancing the range of tools neuroscientists have to map, monitor, and model brain function.  The award will allow Carmena and Maharbiz to apply neural dust technology to the central nervous system, which has the potential to allow the brain to be trained or treated to restore normal functionality following injury or the onset of neuropsychological illness.

Compressed light field microscopy helps build a window into the brain

In a project funded by a $21.6M donation from DARPA,  a light field microscope developed by EE Associate Prof. Laura Waller, MCB Assistant Prof. Hillel Adesnik and their lab groups, is being used to create a window into the brain through which researchers — and eventually physicians — can monitor and activate thousands of individual neurons using light.   The microscope is based on CS Assistant Prof. Ren Ng's revolutionary light field camera which captures light through an array of lenses and reconstructs images computationally in any focus. The microscope is the first tier of a two-tier device referred to as a cortical modem:  it "reads" through the surface of the brain to visualize up to a million neurons; the second tier component "writes" by projecting light patterns onto these neurons using 3D holograms, stimulating them in a way that reflects normal brain activity. The goal of the project is to read from a million individual neurons and simultaneously stimulate 1,000 of them with single-cell accuracy.  “By encoding perceptions into the human cortex," MCB Prof. Ehud Isacoff says, "you could allow the blind to see or the paralyzed to feel touch.”

There are 10 faculty involved in this project, 4 of which are from EECS: Laura Waller, Ren Ng, Jose Carmena and Rikky Muller. The project is being led by Ehud Isacoff from the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.

The tale of Lester Mackey's pursuit of the Netflix Prize

In October 2006, Netflix announced "The Netflix Prize," a $1M competition where teams of programmers raced to make the Netflix recommendation engine 10% more accurate.  The nail-biting competition is profiled in an article for Thrilllist which prominently features participant and CS alumnus Lester Mackey (Ph.D. '12), then an undergraduate at Princeton.   "It was so much fun," he said. "The contest was structured so well. We had to learn so much to be competitive and I met so many people along the way."  The winners beat the second place team by only 20 minutes.   Mackey is now a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and an adjunct professor of Statistics at Stanford University.

Anca Dragan awarded 2017 Okawa Foundation Research Grant

CS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan has been selected to receive a 2017 Okawa Foundation Research Grant.  This award recognizes promising young faculty members in the fields of information and telecommunications, and comes with a $10K prize.  The presentaton ceremony will be held on September 20th in San Francisco.

ESPIRiT paper is the most-cited Magnetic Resonance in Medicine article from 2014

The paper titled "ESPIRiT—an eigenvalue approach to autocalibrating parallel MRI: Where SENSE meets GRAPPA" co-written by Associate Prof. Michael Lustig,  his graduate student Pat Virtue, and alumnus Mark J. Murphy (Ph.D. '11 advisor: Kurt Keutzer) has been named the most-cited Magnetic Resonance in Medicine article from 2014.    The article bridges the gap between the two main approaches for parallel imaging (SENSE and GRAPPA) allowing the reconstruction of images from undersampled multicoil data.  It presents a new autocalibration technique combining the extended reconstruction of SENSE with GRAPPA-like robustness to errors.

Authors of the paper are listed as Martin Uecker, Peng Lai, Mark J. Murphy, Patrick Virtue, Michael Elad, John M. Pauly, Shreyas S. Vasanawala, and Michael Lustig.

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.

Paper co-authored by Sanjit Seshia and Alexandre Donze receives 2017 IEEE Transactions on CAD Donald O. Pederson Best Paper Award

A paper co-authored by Prof. Sanjit A. Seshia and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Alexandre Donze, along with researchers from Toyota, has been selected for the 2017 IEEE Transactions on CAD Donald O. Pederson Best Paper Award. This award recognizes the best paper published in the Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems publication. Donald O. Pederson was a professor of electrical engineering in EECS and one of the designers of SPICE, the canonical integrated circuit simulator. The paper, entitled "Mining Requirements from Closed-Loop Control Models", received this recognition at the 54th Design Automation Conference.

Vasuki Narasimha Swamy and César Torres win Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants

EE graduate student Vasuki Narasimha Swamy (adviser: Anant Sahai) and CS graduate student César Torres (adviser: Eric Paulos) have won inaugural Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants.  These grants offer financial support to selected doctoral students from groups that are under-represented in the field of computing.  Of the 200 applicants, only 12 were chosen.  Vasuki's research topic is “Real-time Ultra-reliable Wireless Communication” and César's is “Hybrid Aesthetics – A New Media Framework for the Computational Design of Creative Materials, Tools, and Practices within Digital Fabrication.”

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.