David Wang and Samantha Wathugala named 2019 Siebel Scholars

CS graduate students David Wang and Samantha Wathugala have been named to the Siebel Scholars Foundation’s 2019 class.  The Siebel Scholars program recognizes top students at the world’s leading graduate schools of bioengineering, business, computer science and energy science, and comes with a $35,000 award.  Wathugala applies state-of-the-art deep learning techniques to object detection, grasping and manipulation in an unstructured domain, using a toy-collecting robot.  Wang uses deep learning to build accurate, reliable systems for precision irrigation and autonomous driving.

Constance Chang-Hasnain wins prestigious Okawa Prize

Alumna and EE Prof. Constance Chang-Hasnain (M.S. '84/Ph.D. '87) has won the 2018 Okawa Prize "for pioneering and outstanding research of VCSEL photonics through the development of their novel functions for optical communications and optical sensing."  The Okawa Prize recognizes "persons who have made outstanding contributions to research, technological development and business in the information and telecommunications fields, internationally."  Chang-Hasnain is Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances in the College of Engineering, Co-director of theTsinghua-UC Berkeley Shenzhen Institute, and the Chair of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Graduate Group.  Her research interests range from semiconductor optoelectronic devices to materials and physics, with current foci on nano-photonic materials and devices for chip-scale integrated optics.

Audrey Sillers wins Wil Zeilinger Staff Excellence Award

Director of Student Diversity and EECS Undergraduate Affairs, Audrey Sillers, is the recipient of the 2018 EECS/ERSO Wil Zeilinger Staff Excellence Award.  The Zeilinger Award is the most prestigious staff honor in the EECS department and is presented annually to the staff member who best embodies "a spririt of service cheerfully given for the general good."  Over the course of Audrey's 12 year career in EECS, she has worked her way up through 5 positions,  sharing her calm, focus, warmth and dedication with everyone she has encountered.  Among her many achievements is the creation of the EECS Wellness Committee, designed to find ways to help people feel more welcome, comfortable, and supported in the department. 

Gary May claims another rare engineering distinction

EECS alumnus Gary May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), currently serving as the Chancellor of UC Davis, is one of the subjects of a Philadelphia Tribune article titled "ACROSS AMERICA: Three African-Americans Claim Rare Engineering Accomplishment."   May, along with two other African-Americans, was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) class of 2018.  NAE membership counts among the highest professional distinctions in engineering.  May was inducted "for contributions to semiconductor manufacturing research and for innovations in educational programs for underrepresented groups in engineering." “We need more diversity in engineering so that we solve problems that take into account all experiences and perspectives," he said. "I encourage young people who are interested in engineering to seek mentors who can help them get on a path that works for them."

Ken Okuhara named new CTO of Stockton

EECS alumnus Ken Okuhara (B.S. '84) is the new chief technology officer for the city of Stockton, California.  Okuhara started his IT career with the state in 2000, specializing in project management, and served various roles with the state Department of Education, the Office of Technology Services, and the California Department of Technology. His responsibilities with the city will include oversight of app development, the project management office, the city data center and IT networks.

Blockchain’s Energy Web Foundation names Hervé Touati as first CEO

CS alumnus Hervé Touati (Ph.D. '90, advisor: Robert Brayton) has been named the first CEO of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a global nonprofit focused on "unleashing blockchain’s potential to accelerate the transition to a decentralized, democratized, decarbonized, and resilient energy system."  EWF, the world's largest energy blockchain consortium (with a  network of more than 70 affiliates), is building the shared, digital infrastructure—an open-source, scalable blockchain platform—specifically designed for the energy sector’s regulatory, operational, and market needs.  Touati, who comes to the EWF from Shell, is an energy industry veteran with more than two decades of executive-level experience.

Jun-Yan Zhu wins ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

CS alumnus Jun-Yan Zhu (Ph.D. '17, advisor: Alexei Efros) has won the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Zhu is a pioneer in the use of modern machine learning in computer graphics. His dissertation is arguably the first to systematically attack the problem of natural image synthesis using deep neural networks. As such, his work has already had an enormous impact on the field, with several of his contributions, most notably CycleGAN, becoming widely-used tools not just for researchers in computer graphics and beyond, but also for visual artists.

Constantinos Daskalakis wins Rolf Nevanlinna Prize

CS alumnus Constantinos Daskalakis (Ph.D. '08, advisor: Christos Papadimitriou) has won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize at the International Congress of Mathematicians, one of the highest awards in theoretical computer science.  Daskalakis, who is currently a professor at MIT,  was cited for his work on game theory and machine learning.  He is profiled in a Quanta Magazine article titled "A Poet of Computation Who Uncovers Distant Truths," that describes his fruitful time at Berkeley with Papadimitriou.

Valerie Taylor Named CEO and President of CMD-IT

EE alumna Valerie Taylor (M.S. '86/Ph.D. '91) has been promoted to the position of CEO and President of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT).  CMD-IT is a national center comprised of corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits, that is focused on engaging under-represented groups in computing and information technologies. Taylor is currently the Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory and a Senior Scientist in the Center for Research Collaborations at the University of Chicago.  "Valerie has provided exceptional leadership of CMD-IT since its founding.  Her dedication has enabled CMD-IT to expand its impact on diversity in academia, industry and government as well as assist with the success of many individuals," said Stuart Feldman, Board Chair, CMD-IT. 

Ming Wu and Steven Conolly named Bakar Fellows

EECS Profs. Ming Wu and Steven Conolly been selected for the Bakar Fellows Program, which supports faculty working to apply scientific discoveries to real-world issues in the fields of engineering, computer science, chemistry and biological and physical sciences.  Wu's fellowship support will be used accelerate commercialization of his invention: a high-performing silicon photonic switch for data center networks.  Conolly's laboratory is developing a high-resolution three-dimensional imaging method, Magnetic Particle Imaging, which does not use any radiation and has unprecedented sensitivity.