News

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.

EECS Remembers Jason Rossilli

The Department is sorry to share the news that EECS major Jason Rossilli passed away at his home late last week.  Jason was close with many of his peers, staff and faculty in the department.  We are deeply saddened by his loss.   News of the passing of a member of our community will no doubt impact all of us. Talking to a professional counselor can be very helpful.  Students may reach a Tang Center Counselor at 510-642-9494, or may visit them at 2222 Bancroft Way for drop-in counseling between 10am-4:30pm. ESS also has three dedicated psychologists available with drop-in counseling hours in 241 Bechtel on Tuesdays 2-4pm, and Wednesdays and Thursdays 10am-12pm.  Faculty and staff may reach a counselor through the campus Employee Assistance Program: (510) 643-7754.

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.

From global experience to collective perspective: Li Yang Kat

EECS Master of Engineering (MEng) student Li Yang Kat, who is originally from Singapore and has studied abroad in Sweden and South Korea, loves the human aspect of engineering and is passionate about sharing his fondness for STEM with other students. He says that his experiences overseas have broadened his world view and feels that understanding other's perspectives will make him a better engineer.  “A good engineer is technically competent, but taking the time to understand the needs of our users, dedicating ourselves to continuously improve our skills, and always demonstrating utmost integrity are the hallmarks of a great engineer,” said Kat.

After Parkland shooting, Kai Koerber fights for mental health resources in schools

CS-intended major Kai Koerber, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and now an advocate for mental health education, is the subject of an interview in an episode of Fiat Vox, the Berkeley News podcast.  Koerber was a high school senior in February 2018 when he huddled in a closet to escape the gunman, a former student, who killed 17 people in one of the deadliest school shootings in the country.  He decided to take a stand and speak authentically about gun violence and mental health, contributing the perspective of a young black person living in the South.  That April, he founded Societal Reform Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting mental health in schools by implementing programs that teach students of all ages to “mitigate emotions, relax, learn and grow as human beings.”

Jake Tibbetts and SIGNAL win 2019 SGS&C Best Student Game

Computer Science and Global Studies double major, Jake Tibbetts, and the UC Berkeley Project on Nuclear Gaming (PONG) were awarded Best Student Game at the 2019 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge (SGS&C) for their work on SIGNAL.  SIGNAL is an online three-player experimental wargame in which three countries, some armed with nuclear weapons, attempt to achieve national goals through diplomacy and conflict.  It is designed to help understand the impact of emerging technologies on strategic stability and nuclear risk reduction. Tibbetts, who specializes in Peace and Conflict Studies, is a member of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium (NSSC), a five-year program to develop a new generation of laboratory-integrated nuclear experts.  SGS&C is the premier venue for recognition of excellence in the field of Serious Games development.

Jaijeet Roychowdhury and Tianshi Wang win 2019 Nokia Bell Labs Prize

EECS Prof. Jaijeet Roychowdhury and his graduate student Tianshi Wang have won First Place in the 2019 Nokia Bell Labs Competition for their work on  “A Classical Spin on Quantum Computing.”  The pair have created a new type of processor element that will be significantly more efficient in computing the answers to discrete optimization problems. Their innovation will complement conventional digital processors (CPUs and GPUs) by efficiently tackling a wide range of computationally hard problems of importance in many diverse areas, including 5G communication systems; complex tasks in planning, scheduling and control; and even the discovery of new drugs.  The first place finish comes with a prize of $100K.

Student research projects to be highlighted at Data Science Showcase

The Data Science Showcase, which will highlight the amazing ways that students are using data science to advance discovery and impact across campus and beyond in over 30+ projects, will be held this Thursday, December 5, from 12 noon to 3:30 pm in Sutardja Dai Hall.  The Showcase will kick off with a series of presentations in the Banatao Auditorium, followed by posters, demonstrations, and light refreshments in the adjoining Kvamme Atrium.  RSVP requested.