Michael Chen awarded SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship

Grad student Michael Chen (advisor:  Laura Waller) has been awarded a 2018 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics or related field.  Chen works in the Computational Imaging Lab where he focuses on non-invasive multi-dimensional phase imaging. “Nowadays, computation enables us to truly utilize full capacity of existing imaging system and extract new information from decade-old optical designs. By jointly designing the optical hardware and post processing software, we deliver simple yet powerful computational imaging techniques,” he said.

Ekta Singh-Bushell appointed to board of Datatec

Alumna Ekta Singh-Bushell (M.S. '95), the former Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has been appointed to the board of directors for Datatec, South Africa’s biggest Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed tech firm.  Singh-Bushell will also be a member of Datatec’s audit, risk & compliance committee and on its social & ethics committee.   She previously worked at a senior level for EY (formerly Ersnt & Young) for 17 years, including as US innovation & digital strategy leader, Northeast Advisory people leader and chief information security officer.

Eric Schmidt urges Californians to support UC

1997 CS Distinguished Alumnus Eric Schmidt (M.S. ’79, Ph.D. ‘82), the former executive chairman of Google, has penned an article for the Sacramento Bee titled "You don’t need to be the head of Google to know what needs to be done about the UC."  In it, he describes how public funding for the University of California has shrunk as student enrollment has surged, and why Californians need to support public education.   "Budgets are moral documents – they reveal our true values," he says. "Putting more resources into higher education, sustaining what the state’s founders started, is not only an economic no-brainer – it’s the right thing to do."

PerfFuzz wins ISSTA18 Distinguished Paper Award

"PerfFuzz: Automatically Generating Pathological Inputs," written by graduate students Caroline Lemieux and Rohan Padhye, and Profs. Koushik Sen and Dawn Song, will receive a Distinguished Paper Award from the ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA) 2018 in Amsterdam in July.  PerfFuzz is a method to automatically generate inputs for software programs via feedback-directed mutational fuzzing.  These inputs exercise pathological behavior across program locations, without any domain knowledge.   The authors found that PerfFuzz outperforms prior work by generating inputs that exercise the most-hit program branch 5x to 69x times more, and result in 1.9x to 24.7x longer total execution paths.

The legacy of Margo Seltzer

CS alumna Margo I. Seltzer (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Michael Stonebraker) is the subject of a Harvard Crimson article celebrating her contributions to that institution.  Seltzer, who until this year had been a professor at Harvard and the director of the Center for Research on Computation and Society, is also the president of USENIX and an architect at Oracle.  She is moving to Vancouver to take part in Canada 150, a multi-million dollar federal research program at the University of British Columbia.  Seltzer founded a startup called Sleepycat Software in 1996 to develop and support “Berkeley DB,”  a high-performance software used to generate databases.  Across the arc of her career, Seltzer balanced teaching commitments with founding and running a startup, broke gender barriers while pushing for gender parity, and helped shape the rise of Harvard Computer Science. She was the first woman to serve as conductor of the Harvard University band and the second woman in Harvard history to earn tenure in the CS department.

Raluca Ada Popa and Sanjam Garg awarded Hellman Fellowships

CS Assistant Professors Raluca Ada Popa and Sanjam Garg have been selected to receive Hellman Fellowships.  The Hellman Fellows Fund substantially supports "research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research." Popa's interests include security, systems, and applied cryptography.  She has developed practical systems that protect data confidentiality by computing over encrypted data, as well as designed new encryption schemes that underlie these systems.  Garg's research interests are in cryptography and security, and more broadly in theoretical computer science.  His work on multilinear maps and obfuscation has found extensive applications in cryptography. Other recent EECS faculty recipients of this award include Thomas Courtade, Tapan Parikh, Michael Lustig, and Pieter Abbeel.

Shankar Sastry Awarded Berkeley Citation

Prof. Shankar Sastry was awarded the Berkeley Citation, one of the university's highest honors, at the College of Engineering's 2018 Commencement ceremony on March 15th.  It celebrated Sastry's tenure of more than a decade as the dean of engineering, which is ending this year.  The award, which was kept as a surprise, honors Sastry’s achievements and leadership. As dean, he helped lead the growth of the college’s educational and support programs for students, fostered opportunities for world-class research faculty, and increased Berkeley Engineering’s footprint, through the creation of new buildings, institutes and alliances and partnerships with other university and research partners.  “The last decade has been remarkable,” said Vice Chancellor Oscar Dubón, “thanks in no small part to Shankar’s vision, energy and enthusiasm for Berkeley and its students. With creative new approaches, he met the challenge of preparing our graduates for a changing world, increasing our focus on design, entrepreneurship, hands-on learning, and integrating business or clinical skills with engineering.”

Explainable AI could reduce the impact of biased algorithms

CS Assistant Prof. Joseph Gonzalez is quoted in an article for VentureBeat titled "Explainable AI could reduce the impact of biased algorithms."   The article discusses the ways human bias could potentially be introduced into machine learning-enabled systems and how General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) might help. Collecting data from the past is a common starting point for data science projects — but historical “data is often biased in ways that we don’t want to transfer to the future,” said Gonzalez.  “It is an incredibly hard problem...but by getting very smart people thinking about this problem and trying to codify a better approach or at least state what the approach is, I think that will help make progress.”

Microsoft acquires Semantic Machines

Semantic Machines, an artificial intelligence startup co-founded by Prof. Dan Klein and staffed by a number of EECS alumni, has been acquired by Microsoft to help Cortana hold more natural dialog with users.  The team has built a number of machine learning components which work together for a smarter AI, and move beyond the more basic back-and-forth currently supported by the Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa.

In addition to Klein, the team includes Percy Liang (Ph.D. '11), David Hall (Ph.D. '12), Adam Pauls (Ph.D. '12), David Burkett (Ph.D. '12), Jason Wolfe (Ph.D. '11 adviser: Stuart Russell), Yuchen Zhang (Ph.D. '16), Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick (B.A. '08/Ph.D. '15), Greg Durrett (Ph.D. '16), Alex Nisnevich (M.S. '14), current grad student Jacob Andreas, Charles Chen (B.A. CS/Math '11), Andrew Nguyen (B.A. CS/Linguistics '12), Chuck Wooters (Ph.D. Speech Recognition '93), and consultant Prof. Michael Jordan.

Kevin Wang tackles technology with TEALS program

Alumnus Kevin Wang (B.S. '02) is mentioned in an Observer Reporter article titled "Trinity tackles technology with TEALS program."  Wang, who went on to earn an M.Ed. in Technology, Innovation, and Education (TIE) from Harvard, created a Microsoft Philanthropies program called Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) to showcase technology's influence to students .  TEALS is a grassroots program designed to help high schools teach computer science by recruiting, training, and mentoring teams of high tech professionals who partner with classroom teachers.  It is currently being implemented at Trinity High School in Washington County, Pennsylvania.