News

Campus Shutdown Notice

In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we have decided to close our administrative offices starting Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice.  Cory and Soda Hall are closed.  Classes are being held remotely.  All events in Cory and Soda Halls will either be cancelled or held remotely, and staff will be working remotely during this time.

Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing receives new $35.5M grant

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, under the direction of CS Prof. Shafi Goldwasser, has been awarded a $35.5 million grant by the Simons Foundation to fund a second decade of groundbreaking research and innovation. The grant, which will begin in 2022, will support the institute's mission and activities for another ten years, and bring the Foundation's support of the institute upf to $100 million.  Launched in 2012, the Simons Institute quickly established itself as the global center for collaborative research in theoretical computer science and its impact on science, mathematics, engineering, and society.  "We owe so much to the original leadership team," said Goldwasser, "Richard Karp, Alistair Sinclair, Christos Papadimitriou, and Luca Trevisan — as well as the current associate director, Peter Bartlett, and senior scientist Prasad Raghavendra, and the numerous brilliant scientists who have led and participated in programs over the years. The Institute was originally created to strengthen the computing theory community, and the community continually pays  this back in the form of excellent work."

Vikram Iyer named 2020 Marconi Society Young Scholar

EECS alumnus Vikram Iyer (B.S. '15) has won a Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award, which honors "the world's most innovative young engineers in Information and Communications Technology (ICT)." Iyer's research focusses on bio-inspired and bio-integrative wireless sensor systems that enable traditionally stationary Internet of Things (IoT) devices to move, "putting a new and scalable category of data collectors into the world to help us understand our environment at scale and with a fine degree of detail."  When Iyer was a student at Berkeley, he was a TA for EE16A and an undergraduate researcher for Prof. Bernhard Boser.  He is now a graduate student at the University of Washington.

Umesh Vazirani to help lead $25 million quantum computing center

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded UC Berkeley $25 million over five years to help lead the establishment of a multi-university institute focused on advancing quantum science and engineering.  EECS Prof. Umesh Vazirani, who is co-director of the Berkeley Quantum Computation Center (BQIC) and leads the quantum computing effort at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing (SITC), will serve as co-director of the new institute.  Other participants from EECS will include Prof. Ming Wu, Prof. Shafi Goldwasser, Prof. John Kubiatowicz, and Associate Prof. Boubacar Kanté. The center will be one of three Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes (QLCI) designed as part of the federal government's effort to accelerate the development of quantum computers, train a future workforce to build and use them, and position them to be as ubiquitous as smart phones.  The new institute for Present and Future Quantum Computation will connect Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, USC, Caltech, UT Austin, MIT, and UW, to combine the talents of top experimental and theoretical scientists in the fields of computer science, chemistry, physics, materials science, engineering and mathematics, to solve problems and devise strategies around this currently rudimentary technology.   Attaining a better understanding of its computational capabilities will require a major increase in the number of computer scientists involved in asking and answering questions.  “Realizing the full power of quantum computation requires development of efficient schemes for correction of errors during operation of quantum machines, as well as protocols for testing and benchmarking," said Vazirani. “Translating this remarkable ability of quantum computers into actually solving a computational problem is very challenging and requires a completely new way of thinking about algorithms.”

Rikky Muller named 2020 N2 Women Rising Star in Computer Networking and Communications

Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has been selected as one of ten Rising Stars in Computer Networking and Communications in 2020 by N2 Women (Networking Networking Women), a discipline-specific community of researchers in the fields of networking and communications.  Muller was nominated "for her impressive achievements in development of wirelessly connected and wirelessly powered implants--important components for the medicine of the future. Besides academic achievements she has proven her abilities as entrepreneur being co-founder and CTO of a successful company bringing some of her ideas to the level of real product. She can literally 'infect' people with her ideas and enthusiasm, which makes her a greater motivator and supervisor of students."  N² "Rising Stars" have less than ten years of professional experience after completing their Ph.D.s ("Stars" have ten years or more of professional experience).  Prof. Sylvia Ratnasamy was named a Rising Star in 2016 and a Star in 2019.

Rikky Muller wins 2020 McKnight Technology Award

Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has won a 2020 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award from the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience (MEFN).  These awards recognize groundbreaking projects that have the potential "to fundamentally change the way neuroscience research is conducted."  Muller is designing and building a high-speed holographic projector that can stream 3D light into the brain at neural speeds, many times faster than current projectors, and so manipulate and test thousands of optogenetically-controlled neurons with pinpoint accuracy.  She will receive a total of $200k over the next two years to support her groundbreaking research.

Finding a better way to measure progress in semiconductors

EECS Professors Chenming Hu, Tsu-Jae King Liu, Jeffrey Bokor and Sayeef Salahuddin are featured in an IEEE Spectrum article about efforts to better track and showcase the exponential pace of progress in semiconductor technology – the foundation of computing and communication devices, networks and systems. For many decades, Moore's Law has been used to gauge this trend with the number of transistors on the most advanced microprocessor chip doubling every two years, thanks to advances that allow for further miniaturization of the transistor. But what happens as physical limits such as the finite size of atoms and the speed of light are approached? Does progress in semiconductor technology cease? As co-inventors of the “FinFET” that enabled the industry to shrink transistors to below 10 nanometers in physical dimension, Hu, Liu and Bokor have the gravitas to advocate for a better industry metric to show that progress in semiconductor technology is limited only by human creativity and ingenuity – as it always has been. In June 2019 they met together with Salahuddin, a pioneer in the development of ferroelectric devices, and colleagues from Stanford University, and came up with a metric they dubbed “LMC” (logic, memory, connection). This new metric takes a more holistic view of technology advancement to enable computing performance to improve at an exponential pace through increases in the densities of logic (computing) devices, memory (information storage) cells, and the density of connections (wiring) between logic and memory devices on a chip. Liu sees the LMC metric as the driver of a new era of innovation in semiconductors.

prof. david wagner

David Wagner testifies about remote voting security before Congress

Prof. David Wagner, whose area of expertise includes computer security and the security of electronic voting, testified before Congress at a hearing of the House Administration Committee on Friday, July 15, 2020. The hearing was called to investigate options for lawmakers in Congress to vote remotely during Covid-19. Wagner explained that while it is technologically feasible for the House to conduct roll-call votes remotely, it will come with some manageable risk.  He recommended securing the vote using "a combination of people, process, and technology," including making all votes public immediately, having the House establish policies to govern the process--including contingencies for technology failures, and specifically selecting technology to support cybersecurity. 

Stuart Russell answers 3+ questions in wake of Turing Lecture

In May 2020, CS Prof. Stuart Russell delivered the most highly attended Turing Lecture yet,  to a virtual audience of over 700 people from around the world, on the subject of provably beneficial AI.  In a follow-up article, "Three (plus) questions with Turing Lecturer Stuart Russell," he answers some of the many questions not covered during the live Q&A.  In his talk, Russell argues that "it is useful to imbue systems with explicit uncertainty concerning the true objectives of the humans they are designed to help. This uncertainty causes machine and human behaviour to be inextricably (and game-theoretically) linked, while opening up many new avenues for research."  The top three questions address how AI should make immediate choices, how to address changing preferences as society evolves, and how AI can be controlled to minimize bias.  The ideas discussed are explored in his most recent book, "Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control" (Viking/Penguin, 2019).  The Turing Lectures are hosted by The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, and should not be confused with the Turing Talks sponsored by BCS and IET.

Murat Arcak, Kameshwar Poolla and Claire Tomlin named 2020 IFAC Fellows

EECS Profs. Murat Arcak, Kameshwar Poolla, and Claire Tomlin (also alumna, PhD '1998) have been named 2020 Fellows of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).  The IFAC Fellow Award is given to "persons who have made outstanding and extraordinary contributions in the field of interest of IFAC, in the role as an Engineer/Scientist, Technical Leader, or Educator."  Arcak was cited "for contributions to nonlinear systems, control of networks and applications," Poolla was cited "for contributions to system identification and robust control with applications to manufacturing and energy," and Tomlin was cited "for contributions to cyber-physical and hybrid systems with application to safety in autonomy and learning."  The awards will be presented at the 2020 IFAC World Congress this week.

Murat Arcak and John Maidens win IFAC Automatica Paper Prize

EECS alumnus John Maidens (PhD 2017) and his advisor EECS Prof. Murat Arcak have won the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Automatica Paper Prize for “Symmetry Reduction for Dynamic Programming,” co-authored by Axel Barrau and Silvère Bonnabel (Automatica vol. 97, pp. 367-375, 2018).  This journal award recognizes "outstanding contributions to the theory and/or practice of control engineering or control science, documented in a paper published in the IFAC Journal Automatica," and will be presented this week at the triennial IFAC World Congress during the virtual closing ceremony.  Maidens is now a data scientist at Eko where he builds AI to automatically assess heart health.