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.

Michael McCoyd uses polio history to shed light on Coronavirus vaccine in NY Times Op-Ed

CS graduate student Michael McCoyd (advisor: David Wagner) has co-authored an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled "What to Expect When a Coronavirus Vaccine Finally Arrives," which offers sobering lessons from the history of the polio vaccine. It took over 60 years from the onset of the first polio epidemic for a safe and effective vaccine to be developed and attempts to hasten the process often led to tragedy. McCoyd, who is in the Secure Computing group, says the article arose from a class he took in the J-school to learn more about fighting disinformation titled "Science Denial: Role of the Media."  When the J-school shifted focus to COVID-19 coverage, Prof. Elena Conis, an historian of vaccination, suggested story ideas for the students to pitch.  With their pitch accepted by the New York Times, McCoyd and classmate Jessie Moravek, a graduate student in environmental science, wrote what became the op-ed with Prof. Conis.

Celebrate 2020 EECS Graduates on Tuesday, May 19

The College of Engineering will be hosting a Celebration of Graduates on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.   The site will go live at 9 a.m. and visitors will be allowed to engage with the content as they wish.  The online, self-guided program is intended to acknowledge and celebrate our graduates’ accomplishments and will include recorded video remarks from the dean, department chairs and other speakers, as well as personalized slides for each graduate.   Plans for a formal graduation ceremony will be announced at a later date.  Congratulations messages to graduates posted on social media using the hashtag #becelebration2020 will appear on the celebration site.   Contact bears@berkeley.edu for more information.

EECS researchers discover ferroelectricity at the atomic scale

A team of researchers led by EE Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin and his graduate student, Suraj Cheema, have managed to grow an ultra-thin material on silicon that can power tiny electronic devices at the atomic scale.  Prior to this fundamental breakthrough, the thinnest conventional material that could demonstrate stable ferroelectricity was 3 nanometers thick.  The new ultrathin material, made of doped hafnium oxide just 1 nanometer thick (equivalent to the size of two atomic building blocks), can demonstrate even stronger ferroelectricity than material several times thicker.  This means it can efficiently power increasingly smaller devices, including memory and logic chips, batteries and sensors, with lower amounts of energy.  The findings were published in the April 22 issue of Nature.

Daniel Fremont wins ACM SIGBED Dissertation Award

Freshly-graduate CS Ph.D. student Daniel J. Fremont (advisor: Sanjit Seshia) has won the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Embedded Systems (SIGBED) Paul Caspi Memorial Dissertation Award for his thesis on "Algorithmic Improvisation."  The award, which was established in 2013, recognizes outstanding doctoral dissertations that significantly advance the state of the art in the science of embedded systems.  Fremont's thesis proposes a theory of algorithmic improvisation to enable the correct-by-construction synthesis of randomized systems, and explores its applications to safe autonomy.

Students create online "Coronavirus Tracker" to keep average Americans informed

CS major Jason (XiangJun) Li and a few friends have developed a website designed to provide clear, reliable, up-to-date numbers and trends on the COVID-19 outbreak "for average Americans," particularly those on mobile phones.  LiveCoronaUpdates.org, which was launched last Tuesday, uses data released by the World Health Organization and official government websites, and provides "the simplest and most intuitive dashboard for people to quickly understand the trends and assess risks."  The site includes domestic and global numbers of patients confirmed/recovered/dead, simple graphics and tables, a headline feed, and text alerts using data that is updated every 3 hours.

UC Berkeley ranked one of the best colleges for Electrical Engineering in 2020 by Gradreports

UC Berkeley ranked a very close second on Gradreports' list of "25 Best Colleges for Electrical Engineering 2020."  The rankings are based on the median salary of students who graduated with a B.S. in EE one year after college.  Graduates of MIT and Berkeley both earned a median salary of $116,600 but the median debt carried by MIT students was $614 less than that of Berkeley (at $14,347).  By contrast, graduates of third-ranked Carnegie Mellon earned median salaries that were $17,600 less than Berkeley salaries, and carried $9,424 more in debt.  Gradreports' methodology was based on data reported by the US Department of Education in November 2019.

Accel Scholars offers industry-oriented opportunities for undergrads

The Accel Scholars program, a joint venture between Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel and the EECS Department, was created to empower undergraduate engineering and computer science students by providing access to Silicon Valley leadership, personalized mentorship, and an industry-relevant curriculum that covers topics not generally taught in class— like how to grow a career, how to build a professional network, and how to raise money to start a company.  Accel Scholars is open to all Berkeley undergraduates who have demonstrated leadership, excellence in their pursuits, and/or a deep passion for a particular area of their discipline.  Apply by visiting the Accel Scholars page on the EECS website until April 5, 2020.

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.”

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.