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.

The shutdown and Berkeley: Q&A with Vice Chancellor Randy Katz

EE Prof. Randy Katz, now the Vice Chancellor for Research at Berkeley, answers questions  about how the standoff over President Trump’s border wall is affecting UC Berkeley’s research enterprise so far, and what will happen if the shutdown continues much longer.  "If people decide to leave the field, the scientific brain trust, we will sacrifice our ability to be in the forefront of science and scholarship. Once we cede leadership in science, we will handicap our nation’s ability to stay ahead," he said.

Clever clumsiness: A self-taught walking robot

A group of researchers at UC Berkeley (including EE Prof. Sergey Levine, grad student Tuomas Haarnoja and undergraduate researcher Aurick Zhou) and Google Brain have used maximum-entropy reinforcement learning to make a quadrupedal robot teach itself to walk.   It taught iself through trial and error in a mere two hours before researchers introduced the machine to new environments, like inclines and obstacles, where it adapted with ease.

'Ambidextrous' robots could dramatically speed e-commerce

CS Prof. Ken Goldberg and members of the AUTOLAB including postdoc Jeffrey Mahler (Ph.D. '18), grad students Matthew Matl and Michael Danielczuk, and undergraduate researcher Vishal Satish, have published a paper in Science Robotics which presents new algorithms to compute robust robot pick points, enabling robot grasping of a diverse range of products without training.  They trained reward functions for a parallel-jaw gripper and a suction cup gripper on a two-armed robot, and found that their system cleared bins with up to 25 previously unseen objects at a rate of over 300 picks per hour with 95 percent reliability.

Rikky Muller named 2019-2020 IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Distinguished Lecturer

EE Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has been named an IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (SSCS) Distinguished Lecturer (DL) for the two year term of 2019-2020.  SSCS DLs are experts in current integrated circuit technologies who are chosen to speak at chapter meetings and regional seminars because of their skills as deeply knowledgeable and excellent communicators.  Muller co-directs the Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC) with Prof. Elad Alon, who is currently serving the second year of his term as a 2018-2019 SSCS DL.  Muller will be a featured speaker at the Berkeley EECS Annual Research Symposium (BEARS) on February 14, 2019

Researchers capture an image of negative capacitance in action

For the first time ever, an international team of researchers--led by Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin--imaged the microscopic state of negative capacitance. This novel result provides researchers with fundamental, atomistic insight into the physics of negative capacitance, which could have far-reaching consequences for energy-efficient electronics.  “The upshot is that the opposite relation between charge and voltage could locally enhance the voltage across the common dielectric material,” said Salahuddin. “The voltage ‘amplification’ gained could be used to reduce the supply voltage requirement in a transistor, thus making computers and other electronic devices more energy-efficient.”

SinBerBEST 2 sweeps Building and Environment Best Paper Awards

Research collaboration between Singapore–Berkeley Building Efficiency and Sustainability in the Tropics (SinBerBEST 2 -- part of the Berkeley Education Alliance for Research in Singapore center) led by EE Prof. Costas Spanos, and UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) resulted in three 2018 Building and Environment Best Paper Awards.  The awards, which are presented annually by the Building and Environment journal, recognize originality, contributions to the field, quality of presentation, and soundness of science.   The honored papers were titled "Automated Mobile Sensing: Towards High-Granularity Agile Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Monitoring," "Development of the ASHRAE Global Thermal Comfort Database II," and "Personal Comfort Models: Predicting Individuals’ Thermal Preference Using Occupant Heating and Cooling Behavior and Machine Learning."

Wireless ‘pacemaker for the brain’ could be new standard treatment for neurological disorders

A new neurostimulator, described in a paper co-authored by EE Prof. Jan Rabaey, Prof. Jose Carmena, Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller, grad students Andy Zhou, George Alexandrov and Ali Moin, and alumnus Fred Burghardt (B.S. '92/M.S. '94), in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, works like a “pacemaker for the brain" to both monitor electrical activity and therapeutically stimulate electric current to the brain at the same time.  The device, named the WAND, could potentially deliver fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s.  Muller's research is part of the CZ Biohub, a division of the $5 billion Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.   Rikky Muller and Jose Carmena are both scheduled to present their work at the 2019 BEARS symposium in February titled "The Future of Medicine: An EECS Perspective."

Connie Chang-Hasnain elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

EE Prof. and alumna Constance Chang-Hasnain (M.S. '84/Ph.D. '87, adviser: John Whinnery) has been elected to the 2018 class of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).  Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.  Chang-Hasnain's 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.  She is presently serving as Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances in the College of Engineering as well as the Chair of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Graduate Group.

Bin Yu looks at AlphaZero

CS Prof. Bin Yu was interviewed by PBS Nova about AlphaZero, Google’s self-teaching artificial intelligence software.   The article probes whether there's more to human intelligence than can be mastered by learning how to win games--which AlphaZero can teach itself to do in a matter of hours.   The process requires a great deal of computing power and uses a lot more energy than the human brain.  Yu observes that absolute energy consumption must be considered when evaluating the software, although AlphZero is clearly very fast and flexible.   “It’s impressive that AlphaZero was able to use the same architecture for three different games,” she says.

Eli Yablonovitch wins 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering

EE Prof. Eli Yablonovitch has won the prestigious 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering.  The Franklin Institute Awards recognize outstanding achievements in science and invention.  Yablonovitch, who discovered light-trapping “photonic crystals” and developed “photonic bandgap structures” in the 1980s,  was cited "for widely-used scientific improvements to radio- and light-based technologies in wireless communications and solar energy applications."