Machine Learning to Help Optimize Traffic and Reduce Pollution

CS Prof. Alexandre Bayen, the director of the Institute of Transportation Studies,  is leading a traffic-smoothing project dubbed CIRCLES (Congestion Impact Reduction via CAV-in-the-loop Lagrangian Energy Smoothing) that applies deep reinforcement learning to self-driving cars to smooth traffic, reduce fuel consumption, and improve air quality.  The potential for cities is enormous,” said Bayen. “Experiments have shown that the energy savings with just a small percentage of vehicles on the road being autonomous can be huge. And we can improve it even further with our algorithms.”

Berkeley team is selected for first-ever grid software competition

A team lead by EE Assistant Prof. Somayeh Sojoudi, and IEOR Profs. Shmuel Oren and Javad Lavaei, has been selected for funding to participate in the ARPA-E Grid Optimization (GO) Competition today.  The GO Competition comprises a series of prize challenges to accelerate the development and comprehensive evaluation of new software solutions for tomorrow's electric grid.   It is sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and comes with $4M in prizes.  Challenge 1 will ask competitors to build software solutions to the problem of security constrained optimal power flow (SCOPF), or, more simply, the challenge of routing electricity from the source to the consumer quickly, efficiently, safely, and reliably. 

Robert Pilawa-Podgurski wins 2018 IEEE Education Society Van Valkenburg Award

EE Associate Prof. Robert Pilawa-Podgurski is the 2018 recipient of the IEEE Education Society Mac E. Van Valkenburg Award.  This award is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to teaching unusually early in their professional careers as evidenced by teaching performance, development of new teaching methods, and curricular innovation in fields of interest to the IEEE Education Society. The citation was "for his demonstrated passion for teaching and commitment to individual student growth, and his curriculum innovations in hands-on learning in the area of electric power and energy systems".

Stuart Russell named Honorary Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford

Prof. Stuart Russell has been elected as an Honorary Fellow of Wadham College at Oxford University, his alma mater.  Warden of Wadham College, Ken Macdonald QC praised Russell for his scholarship in the field of Artificial Intelligence, his work with the United Nations and with former US President, Barack Obama.  Russell has devoted his career to the study of AI, including such topics as the interaction of knowledge and machine learning, the unification of logic and probability, and metareasoning (reasoning about reasoning).   Other Wadham Fellows include the late Jeremy Knowles, chemist and former Dean of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, and Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican communion.

Berkeley’s SkyDeck Offers Chip Design Support Worth Millions to Startups

Chip Track, the microchip design innovation segment of Berkeley startup accelerator SkyDeck, is profiled in an Xconomy article titled "Berkeley’s SkyDeck Offers Chip Design Support Worth Millions to Startups."  Unlike software developers, chip inventors need cash up front to produce prototypes to show how they run.  “We’re talking about many millions of dollars,” says SkyDeck's Chong Tang. “Very few investors are willing to give you many millions of dollars just to hit run.”  SkyDeck has enlisted two companies that will give its chip startups access to an array of services that would ordinarily cost customers as much as $2 million.  Advisors to Chip Track's startups include CS Profs. Krste Asanović and David Patterson (emeritus).

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).

Barbara Simons: Making Votes Count

2005 CS Distinguished Alumna Barbara Simons (Ph.D. '81) is the subject of a Berkeley Engineering profile celebrating the 150th anniversary of U.C. Berkeley.  Simons, who is a past president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), has been drawing attention to the pitfalls of electronic voting since 2003.  She's a vocal critic of electronic ballots and is board chair of Verified Voting, a non-partisan organization that advocates for reliable and secure voting practices, as well as the author of a book titled “Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?”   She is also a long-time champion for programs to increase diversity in computer science and engineering.

Dawn Song leads team to develop trusted AI

CS Prof. Dawn Song and her team are part of the new Center for Trustworthy Machine Learning funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF center, led by Pennsylvania State University and announced today, will focus on developing secure systems in the era of machine learning models. The center will receive $10 million over five years.

Laura Waller and Ming Wu named OSA Fellows

EE Prof. Ming Wu and Associate Prof. Laura Waller have been named Fellows of the Optical Society of America (OSA) class of 2019. OSA Fellows are members who have served with distinction in the advancement of optics and photonics. No more than 10 percent of the total OSA membership may be Fellows at any given time, making each year’s honorees a highly selective group.

Berkeley is #1 university open source contributor

UC Berkeley is the top ranked university in the third annual Octoverse Report list of "Open source contributions made by employees of different organizations," with 2700 contributions.  Berkeley is the fourth ranked organization overall--after Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat.  The Octoverse Report is a roundup of GitHub data across global repositories from the last 12 months.  Four other universities made the top ten:  the University of Washington  (6th place with 1800 contributions), MIT (8th place with 1700), UMich and Stanford (tied 9th with 1600 contributions each) .