Natacha Crooks is an assistant professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. (Photo/ Natacha Crooks)

Berkeley EECS team wins $5M to advance blockchain research and education

A team of UC Berkeley researchers led by Assistant Prof. Natacha Crooks has won $5M to advance blockchain research and education programs. The team, which includes CS Profs. Sanjam Garg, Dawn Song, and Shafi Goldwasser, along with members of Berkeley Haas, Berkeley Law, and Imperial College London will launch a new center that advances decentralization technology. The international, interdisciplinary center aims to help democratize access to data and ensure that data remains secure. “Decentralization technology facilitates the egalitarian exchange of data between people who don’t trust each other," said Prof. Crooks. “We have to build decentralized technology that is truly scalable, private and secure.” The funding is provided by the Algorand Foundation as part of the Algorand Centres of Excellence (ACEs) Program, which has awarded a total of $50M to 10 universities from around the world.

EECS alum Paul E. Debevec

Paul Debevec to receive Emmy for Lifetime Achievement

EECS alumnus Paul Debevec (Ph.D. ‘96, advisor: Jitendra Malik) will receive the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award at the Television Academy’s 74th Engineering, Science & Technology Emmy Awards. The award recognizes Debevec for his pioneering work on high dynamic range imaging, image-based lighting, and photogrammetry–techniques that are now standard within the VFX industry for computer-rendered images and graphics. Debevec is also recognized for his work with LED lighting, which “further laid the groundwork” for its use in virtual production, and “has seen a rapid growth as a tool for lighting actors on virtual stages," according to the Television Academy. Debevec is currently the director of research, creative algorithms, and technology at Netflix, and is an adjunct research professor at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. He received ACM SIGGRAPH's first Significant New Researcher Award in 2001, a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award in 2010, and the SMPTE Progress Medal in 2017. Debevec co-authored the 2005 book, "High Dynamic Range Imaging," chaired the SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Animation Festival, served as Vice President of ACM SIGGRAPH, as well as co-chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sci-Tech Council. 

CS Grad Xin Lyu

Xin Lyu wins CCC 2022 Best Student Paper Award

CS graduate student Xin Lyu (advisors: Jelani Nelson and Avishay Tal) has won the Best Student Paper Award at the Computational Complexity Conference (CCC) 2022. The solo-authored paper titled “Improve Pseudorandom Generators for AC^0 Circuits” was one of two co-winners of the Best Student Paper Award at CCC, which is an annual conference on the inherent difficulty of computational problems in terms of the resources they require. Organized by the Computational Complexity Foundation, CCC is the premier specialized publication venue for research in complexity theory.

Berkeley EECS paper wins 2022 ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Paper Award

A paper co-authored by CS Prof. Alvin Cheung has won the ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Paper at the 43rd Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI) 2022. The paper titled, “Synthesizing Analytical SQL queries from Computation Demonstration,” introduces a tool called Sickle, a new end-user specification, programming by computation demonstration, for greater efficiency in analytical SQL queries. PLDI is the premier forum in the field of programming languages and programming systems research, covering the areas of design, implementation, theory, applications, and performance.

EECS alumnus Gary May, Chancellor of U.C. Davis

Gary May and Sheila Humphreys interviewed for Inside Higher Ed

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, is the focus of an Inside Higher Ed story highlighting the unique bond between three Black Berkeley Engineering alumni in the 1980s, all of whom have gone on to lead top research institutions. Reggie DesRoches has become the president of Rice University, and Darryll Pines is the president of the University of Maryland, College Park. The three met at Berkeley where they studied different fields of engineering. The article describes the unique landscape of diversity in the era before Proposition 209, and interviewed EECS staff emerita, Sheila Humphreys for the story, who was then the EECS director of diversity, as well as Dean Liu who said this past academic year (2021-22) “is the first year that we ended up with a higher percentage [of undergraduate underrepresented minorities] then even before Prop 209.” In fostering the minority engineering programs (MEP) of the 1980s, Sheila attributes the "unwavering administrative support" of the late Dean Pister, and a "comprehensive, whole-student approach."

Ion Stoica wins 2023 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award

CS Prof. Ion Stoica has won the 2023 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award. Presented annually, the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award was established by the IEEE Board of Directors in 1986 for outstanding contributions to the integration of computers and communications. The award is named in honor of Dr. Koji Kobayashi, who has been a leading force in advancing the integrated use of computers and communications. Stoica was cited “for contributions to the design of cloud and computer network services.” Stoica’s research is focused on cloud computing and networked computer systems. He is the Executive Chairman and co-founder of Databricks and an ACM Fellow. Previous winners of this award include Profs. Kannan Ramchandran and Jean Walrand, and the late Prof. Emeritus Elwyn Berlekamp.

Jennifer Chayes elected as honorary member of the London Mathematical Society

CS Prof. Jennifer Chayes, the Associate Provost of the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), and the Dean of the School of Information has been elected to become an Honorary Member of the London Mathematical Society (LMS). Each year, the Council of the LMS considers the election of Honorary Members of the Society amongst distinguished mathematicians who are not normally resident within the United Kingdom. Chayes was cited for “fundamental contributions to many of the most prominent topics in the mathematics, computation, and application of network science, data science, and allied areas,” and credited for co-inventing “the field of graphons.”

CS Prof-Led proposal wins California Education Learning Lab award of up to $650,000

A CS Prof.-led proposal has been selected to receive a California Education Learning Lab award of up to $650,000. The proposal, “A’s-for-All (A4A): Scaling Mastery Learning Through Technology, Advocacy, Policy, and Partnerships” was led by CS Profs. Armando Fox and Dan Garcia in partnership with California State University, Long Beach, and El Camino College. The grant is designed to scale successful Learning Lab projects, expanding the positive impacts of STEM in public higher education. A4A proposes to build upon an open-source technology platform from UIUC to reorient formative and summative assessment toward mastery learning, ultimately providing students every opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency in various areas of introductory computer science courses. The scaling proposal will develop concept mapping tools so that faculty and students can track progress in student learning, and implement automated approaches to provide more flexibility for the ways in which students are able to demonstrate proficiency/mastery of the course.

Sophia Shao wins the 2022 IEEE TCCA Young Computer Architect Award

Assistant Prof. Sophia Shao has won the IEEE Technical Committee on Computer Architecture (TCCA) Young Computer Architect Award, which recognizes outstanding research contributions by an individual in the field of Computer Architecture, and who received their Ph.D. within the last six years. Shao's work focuses on specialized accelerators, heterogeneous architecture, and agile VLSI design methodology. The award was presented last week at the 49th edition of the International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA '22) in New York City, New York. 

Leslie Field wins 2022 Mark Shannon Grand Challenges Award

EECS alumna Leslie Field (M.S. '88/Ph.D. 91, advisor: Richard White), the first woman to earn a doctorate from the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC), has won the 2022 Mark Shannon Grand Challenges Award.  This award recognizes "long-term contributions of members of our technical community with a vision to address humanity's pressing issues."  Field is the Founder and CEO of Bright Ice Initiative, Inc., an environmental nonprofit which aims to address the urgent need for terrestrial glacial ice preservation.  During her career, she has developed new formulations for unleaded gasoline, new silicon-glass bonding processes, and pioneered surface micromachining and microfluidic systems.  She also contributed to the development of microwave and optical cross-point switches. She turned her attention to climate change in 2006 and founded Ice911 Research (later renamed AIP) two years later.   Field received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT prior to enrolling at Berkeley.  She is the founder and a managing member of SmallTech Consulting, LLC, where she leads a diverse collaborative team working on MEMS and nanotechnology-based challenges.  She also serves as an Adjunct Lecturer and Consulting Professor Stanford University.