News

Yamilée Toussaint Beach wins Educational Innovation Abie Award in Honor of A. Richard Newton

Yamilée Toussaint Beach, founder and CEO of STEM From Dance (SFD), is the third recipient of the Educational Innovation Abie Award in Honor of A. Richard Newton, an award which honors the life and career of a beloved EECS professor and alumnus.  A. Richard Newton (Ph.D. '78, advisor: Donald O. Pederson) led the founding of CITRIS in 1999, and served as EECS chair and Engineering dean before his early death from pancreatic cancer in 2007.  Beach won for her efforts to harness the power of dance to inspire and support young women of color from low-income backgrounds to develop the confidence, skills, and awareness necessary to obtain STEM degrees. She launched SFD in 2012, using seed funding won from Teach For America’s Social Innovation Award. Since then, SFD has partnered with over 25 schools and community centers, serving over 400 girls.

Gitanjali Swamy testifies in support of Massachsetts anti-discrimination bill

EECS alumna Gitanjali Swamy (Ph.D. '97) testified in defense of a proposed bill (S939) she helped to draft which calls for sexual harassment and discrimination laws in Massachusetts to apply not only to employers but to investors and financiers as well--particularly private investors such as venture capitalists.  The purpose of the bill is to ensure that investors are held to the same standards as other employers and that women are afforded the same protections under the law.  Swamy is the founder and advisor to UC Berkeley’s Witi@UC Women, and a representative of the United Nations EQUALS Leadership Coalition.

Elizaveta Tremsina is 2019 ACM SRC Grand Finals Winner

A paper written by recent graduate Elizaveta Tremsina (B.S. '19 CS/Physics/Applied Math) has taken third place in the undergraduate category of the 2019 ACM Student Research Competition (SRC) Grand Finals.  The paper, titled "Your Story Recorded in a Magnet: Micromagnetic Simulations of Spin-Orbit Torque in Multi-layer Structures," was a continuation of the first place poster she presented at the 2018 Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.    "I am extremely thankful to the Berkeley EECS department for the amazing 4.5 years and for the unique chance to participate in cutting-edge research with Dr. Salahuddin's group and also attend the Tapia conference (my first one back in 2016 and last year)," she said. "I hope that more Berkeley undergrads participate in this competition in the future, be it at Tapia or other ACM conferences."  Tremsina was presented with her award at the ACM awards banquet last weekend.

Nadia Heninger wins Borg Early Career Award

EECS alumna Nadia Heninger (B.S. '04) has won the 2019 Borg Early Career Award (BECA).  The BECA  is given to a woman in computer science and/or engineering who has made significant research contributions and who has contributed to her profession, especially in the outreach to women.  After graduation, Heninger earned a Ph.D. from Princeton and is currently an associate professor in Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego.  She is known for her work on freezing powered-down security devices to slow their fading memories and allow their secrets to be recovered via a cold boot attack, for her discovery that weak keys for the RSA cryptosystem are in widespread use by internet routers and other embedded devices, and for her research on how failures of forward secrecy in bad implementations of the Diffie–Hellman key exchange may have allowed the NSA to decrypt large amounts of internet traffic via the Logjam vulnerability.

Moses Surumen plugs Kenya’s skills gap with peer to peer learning

Moses Surumen, who graduated with a degree in EECS this week, has been sharing his knowledge with peers in Kenya for the past two years, helping them develop the skills to solve challenges back home.  Surumen, who has 10 siblings, grew up in Kajiado, a Masai area south of Nairobi.  In 2017, he implemented a program called M-Soma, running a six-week summer course for Kenyan high school graduates in computer science.  “We were building skills the way Berkeley does, providing the best skeletal code for setting up the platform and building onto that several features they wanted to use,” he explains.  Surumen has accepted a position at Qualcomm but plans to continue to explore how to scale his project to work in different African countries.

Nolan Pokpongkiat wins third place David L. Kirp Prize

Third-year Computer Science undergraduate Nolan Pokpongkiat is the third place winner of the KIDS FIRST: David L. Kirp Prize, funded by the U.C. Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues.  The prize recognizes "students who have developed innovative strategies to increase opportunities for children and youth, as well as students who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the future of children and youth."  Pokpongkiat co-founded Helix, a non-profit organization with the goal of diversifying the healthcare field by empowering young people to pursue futures in medicine. As Managing Director, Nolan brought together a team to design a month-long summer program where high school students spend a week living at UC Berkeley training in basic clinical skills, getting CPR-certified, and learning about possible healthcare careers. Then, through partnerships with UCSF Health, John Muir Health, and Kaiser Permanente, along with a network of over 160 medical professionals, students rotate through shadowing placements in the hospital, on the ambulance, and in community clinics for the remainder of the month.

EECS department mourns the loss of Jean Paul Jacob and Elwyn Berlekamp

The EECS department lost two beloved faculty emeriti this month:  Jean Paul Jacob on April 7 and Elwyn Berlekamp on April 9.  Jacob was born in Brazil and spent a number of years working in industry before attending Berkeley (MS '65/PhD '66, advisor: Elijah Polak).  He was a world expert on Informatics and had a career at IBM that spanned over 40 years.  He returned to Berkeley as Faculty-in-Residence in 1971 where he actively promoted diversity initiatives and helped found the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) in 2001.  Jacob won the EE Distinguished Alumni award in 1992.  Berlekamp was known for his work in coding theory and was one of the founders of combinatorial game theory.  He co-invented  the Berlekamp-Welch algorithm (which finds the shortest linear feedback shift register for a given binary output sequence) and the Berlekamp-Massey algorithm (which is used to implement Reed–Solomon error correction).  He bought out the controlling interest in Axcom Trading Advisors in 1989 and vastly increased the returns after rewriting the trading algorithms: returns to all investors in 1990 exceeded 55%, net of all trading costs and performance fees. He sold his interest in Axcom in December 1990.

EECS department honored with NCWIT Transformation (NEXT) Award for increasing women’s participation in computing

The L&S CS Major in the EECS Department has won the second place 2019 NCWIT Extension Services Transformation (NEXT) Award for Excellence in Promoting Women in Undergraduate Computing.  The team includes Director of Undergraduate Instruction Christopher Hunn, Director of Diversity Audrey Sillers, and CS Scholars Program Associate Director Charlene Hughes. The award comes with a prize of $50K to be used for diversity efforts.  NEXT awards are given to ES client organizations (department, departments, or college) that demonstrate a strong commitment to and proven results in recruiting and retaining women into undergraduate computing programs.  Between 2013 and spring 2018, the number of female Berkeley CS majors grew from 103 to 452. L&S CS produces more female CS graduates than all but three other universities in the nation, and the L&S CS major ranks 15th in the nation in terms of proportion of women in the major.  The award will be presented at the NCWIT Summit in May.

A Salute to Early Women in STEM at UC Berkeley

In celebration of Women's History Month, Sheila Humphreys, the EECS Emerita Director of Diversity, has published an essay in the EECS Newsletter titled "A Salute to Early Women in STEM at UC Berkeley."  This essay is the first part of a series of writings about the history of diversity in engineering at UC Berkeley, seen primarily through the lens of  Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.  It covers the first women researchers, faculty, and grad students in STEM at UC Berkeley including Agnes Morgan, Marian Diamond, Susan Graham, Avideh Zakhor, Lillian Gilbreth, and Kawthar Zaki.

Celebrate EECS Women's History Month in March!

The EECS department is celebrating Women’s History Month (WHM) this March by recognizing and sharing stories about women, both past and present, in the fields of electrical engineering and computer science. The goal of Berkeley EECS WHM, a student-led department-backed initiative created by 4th year EECS major Olivia Hsu, is to facilitate the conversation about diversity and inclusion in the field through a series of events and newsletters.  A kickoff event will take place on Friday, March 1st at 9:30 am in the Woz.