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.

Microrelays: On the path to making bigger quantum computers

Research on Microrelays presented at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) by Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu and alumna/graduate student, Xiaoer Hu (M.S. '18), is highlighted in an IEEE Spectrum article titled "4 Ways to Make Bigger Quantum Computers."  It is difficult to scale quantum computers because quantum-computer processors must operate inside cryogenic enclosures at near absolute zero, but the electronics needed for readout and control don’t work at such temperatures and must reside outside the refrigerator.  King Liu and Hu have developed micrometer-scale electromechanical relays as ultralow-power alternatives to transistors that operate better when cooled to 4 kelvins than at room temperature.  Freezing temperatures solve two of the mechanical problems the devices encounter:  the reaction of ambient oxygen on electrode surfaces, and the way that microscale relays tend to stick together.  “We didn’t suspect ahead of time that these devices would operate so well at cryogenic temperatures,” says King Liu. “In retrospect, we should have.”

Negative Capacitance research highlighted in celebration of 100 Years of Ferroelectricity

Negative Capacitance, a field of research pioneered by EECS Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin, is featured in a Nature Materials article celebrating "A century of ferroelectricity."  Ferroelectricity is a characteristic of certain materials which have a spontaneous electric polarization that can be reversed by the application of an external electric field. Ferroelectric capacitors are used in sensor applications, like Ultrasound.  To highlight examples of recent advances in the field, the article references a 2008 paper co-written by Salahuddin, which proposed that negative capacitance could be used to provide voltage amplification and was observed in thin ferroelectric films.

Researchers develop novel way to shrink light to detect ultra-tiny substances

EE Associate Prof. Boubacar Kanté and his graduate student Junhee Park have been profiled in a Berkeley Engineering article titled "Researchers develop novel way to shrink light to detect ultra-tiny substances."  They are part of a team of researchers who have created light-based technology that can detect biological substances with a molecular mass more than two orders of magnitude smaller than previously possible.  Their device, which would shrink light while exploiting mathematical singularities known as exceptional points (EP), could lead to the development of ultra-sensitive devices that can quickly detect pathogens in human blood and considerably reduce the time needed for patients to get results from blood tests. Their work was published in Nature Physics last week. “Our goal is to overcome the fundamental limitations of optical devices and uncover new physical principles that can enable what was previously thought impossible or very challenging,” Kanté said.

Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing

Computer Science and Global Studies double major, Jake Tibbetts, has published an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled "Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing."  Tibbetts, who is a research assistant at the LBNL Center for Global Security Research and a member of the Berkeley Nuclear Policy Working Group, argues that instead of worrying about winning the quantum supremacy race against China, U.S. policy makers and scholars should shift their focus to a more urgent national security problem: How to maintain the long-term security of secret information secured by existing cryptographic protections, which will fail against an attack by a future quantum computer.  Some possible avenues include deploying honeypots to misdirect and waste the resources of entities attempting to steal classified information; reducing the deployment time for new encryption schemes; and triaging cryptographic updates to systems that communicate and store sensitive and classified information.

New nonvolatile memory cells shrink circuits and speed searches

The work of Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin and grad student Ava Tan is featured in an article in the IEEE Spectrum titled "New Nonvolatile Memories Shrink Circuits That Search Fast."  Salahuddin, a ferroelectric device pioneer, has been conducting work on a new kind of content-addressable memory cell that could speed searches and enable in-memory computing.   The new nonvolatile memory, which is smaller and potentially much more dense than other experimental designs, relies on ferroelectric field-effect transistors (FeFETs), which store data as an electric polarization within the transistor.

Leon Chua wins 2020 Julius Springer Prize

Prof. Emeritus Leon O. Chua has been awarded the 2020 Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics.  Chua has contributed to cellular neural and nonlinear networks, nanoelectronics, nonlinear circuits and systems, nonlinear dynamics, bifurcation theory, and chaos theory. In 1971, he postulated a passive component named the memristor as the 4th passive electronic device derived from fundamental considerations.  37 years later, this device--with as predicted electrical characteristics--was experimentally found by a team at HP in 2008.  The award, which recognizes researchers who have made an outstanding and innovative contribution to the field of applied physics, comes with a prize of $5K and will be presented at the Magnus-Haus in Berlin, Germany on 18 September 2020.  The presentation will be accompanied by a public lecture given by Chua.

Aditya Parameswaran and Sanjam Garg win 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships in Computer Science

Assistant Profs. Aditya Parameswaran and Sanjam Garg hav been selected 2020 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows in Computer Science.  These awards recognize distinguished performance by young American scientists who show "unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field."   Parameswaran develops systems for "human-in-the-loop" data analytics, and Garg's research interests are in cryptography and security.  As two of the nine UC Berkeley researchers to win the highly competitive fellowship this year, they will each receive a $75,000 award.

Alvin Cheung wins VMware Early Career Faculty Award

CS Assistant Prof. Alvin Cheung has won a VMware Early Career Faculty Award.  The award recognizes recently appointed faculty "whose research interests and accomplishments seem poised to have significant impact within the industry and academia."  Cheung's research interests include program analysis, program synthesis, improving database application performance, and building large-scale data systems in general. The award comes with a $50K grant and opportunities to collaborate with VMware.

Covariant-enabled robots go live

Pieter Abbeel, the co-founder, president and chief scientist of the start-up Covariant, is featured in a number of articles appearing in major publications this week.  The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, the Verge, the MIT Technology Review, and the IEEE Spectrum all feature articles about robots trained using Covariant's AI technologies that will be deployed  to perform complex tasks in live warehouse environments in the next few years.  Covariant uses deep reinforcement learning techniques to train robots to distinguish between materials that are particularly difficult to discern through a lens, like highly reflective metallic surfaces, transparent plastics, and easily deformable surfaces like cloth and polypropylene, with an unparalleled 99% accuracy.

Xinyun Chen wins 2020 Facebook Fellowship

Third year CS graduate student Xinyun Chen (advisor: Dawn Song) has been awarded a 2020 Facebook Fellowship.  Chen was recognized in the Machine Learning category for her work in neural program synthesis and adversarial machine learning.  Her goal is to increase the accessibility of programming to general users, and enhance the security and trustworthiness of machine learning models.   Chen has interned at both Facebook AI Research and Google Brain.