News

Bruce Hajek named ECE Illinois department head

EECS alumnus Bruce Hajek (Ph.D. '79, advisor: Eugene Wong), who has been on the faculty of the Grainger College of Engineering, and a researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 40 years, has been named head of UIUC's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).  Hajek is an internationally renowned expert in the field of communications networks and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, and as President of the IEEE Information Theory Society.

Sally Floyd, an inventor of Random Early Detection, has died

CS alumna Sally Floyd (M.S. '87/Ph.D. '89, advisor: Richard Karp), best known as one of the inventors of Random Early Detection (RED), an active queue management scheme widely credited with saving the internet from collapse in the 1990s, has died at age 69.  Floyd graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology in 1971 and, after taking a two-year course in electronics at Meritt College, spent the next decade working as a computer systems engineer at BART.  She returned to Berkeley as a graduate student in 1984 and was known as an outstanding advisor to members of the CS Reentry Program, a department project which prepared  "older" women and minorities, who had bachelor's degrees in non-technical fields, for competitive admission to graduate STEM programs.  The creation of the RED algorithm, which was built on work started by Van Jacobson in the 1980s,  founded the field of Active Queue Management (AQM).  Floyd and Jacobson's 1993 paper describing how RED could control congestion on the internet continues to play a vital role in its stability and has been cited in more than 9,100 articles. “That’s truly huge,” said Prof. Vern Paxson, who had been mentored by Floyd as a graduate student, “up there with the most fundamental papers in computer networking.”

Richard Din innovates unique course to help students connect more deeply with entrepreneurs

EECS alumnus Richard Din (B.S. EECS/B.A. Econ '08),  the co-founder of revolutionary food-delivery app Caviar, has imagined and helped to create a small, select, new course being offerred fall semester through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET).  The course, which cannot be documented or attended by visitors, will host diverse and unique speakers from the tech industry who will share personal stories about their startups, including sensitive details about “co-founder fights, investor drama, and running out of money.”  “When it’s off the record," said Din, "then you can be more candid about finer details and tell more interesting stories.” Students interested in taking the course must be nominated by a professor. Professors can send nominations to Jennifer Nice at jennifernice@berkeley.edu.

Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley

Berkeley Remix Podcast Season 4, Episode 2, explores the contributions of UC Berkeley Engineering to the rise of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley in the 1960s and 70s.   “Berkeley Lightning: A Public University’s Role in the Rise of Silicon Valley”  focuses on the development of SPICE, the first widely used design program for prototyping microchips, which was originally designed by and for students.  The software spread "like lightning" in part because Berkeley, as a public institution, made it available free of charge. The world has not been the same since.  The podcast features audio from interviews with Prof. Emeritus  Paul Gray  and alumnus Laurence Nagel (B.S. '69/M.S. '70/Ph.D. '75, advisor: Donald Pederson), CEO of Omega Enterprises, and former senior manager at Bell Laboratories.

EECS students, postdocs, alumni and faculty make strong showing at 2019 USENIX Security Symposium

EECS students, postdocs, alumni, and faculty were front and center at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium in Santa Clara last week.  In addition to the Test of Time and Distinguished Paper Awards (see below), Keynote Speaker Alex Stamos (B.S. '01), previously the Chief Security Officer of Facebook, highlighted the threat model work of current ICSI postdoc Alisa Frik (advisor: Serge Egelman).  Alumnus Nicholas Carlini (Ph.D. '18, advisor: David Wagner) gave a talk on his neural networks research which was co-authored by CS Prof. Dawn Song and postdoc Chang Liu.  ICSI researchers Primal Wijesekera and Serge Egelman, and former ICSI postdoc Joel Reardon, were awarded a Distinguished Paper Award for "50 Ways to Leak Your Data: An Exploration of Apps' Circumvention of the Android Permissions System." Grad students Frank Li (advisor: Vern Paxson) and Nathan Malkin (advisors: Serge Egelman and David Wagner), received a Distinguished Paper award at the SOUPS '19 technical session for "Keepers of the Machines: Examining How System Administrators Manage Software Updates For Multiple Machines." The Zip Bomb research of alumnus David Fifield (Ph.D. '17, advisor: Doug Tygar) was also awarded a Best Paper award at the WOOT '19 technical session.

Two CS grad students, co-advised by David Culler and Raluca Popa, also made presentations.  Sam Kumar presented "JEDI: Many-to-Many End-to-End Encryption and Key Delegation for IoT" and Michael P. Andersen presented "WAVE: A Decentralized Authorization Framework with Transitive Delegation."

David Wagner, Eric Brewer, Ian Goldberg, and Randi Thomas win 2019 USENIX Test of Time Award

CS Profs. and alumni David Wagner (Ph.D. '00) and Eric Brewer (B.S. '89), and alumni Ian Goldberg (Ph.D. '00) and Randi Thomas (M.S.) have won the 2019 USENIX Test of Time Award for their 1996 paper titled "A Secure Environment for Untrusted Helper Applications."  The paper, which introduced a fundamental and crucial technique for confining untrusted applications in computer systems, and which made a significant contribution to the computer security field, was written by Wagner, Goldberg and Thomas when they were Brewer's graduate students.  “Beyond its strong academic impact — cited by 890 papers," said award committe member Dan Boneh, "the technique is now used to confine web pages in the Chrome browser, and to confine applications running on Android."

Simons Institute announces Richard M. Karp Distinguished Lecture Series

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing has announced the creation of the Richard M. Karp Distinguished Lectures, named in honor of CS Prof. Emeritus Richard Karp, the Institute’s Founding Director. The series will feature talks by leading researchers in the foundations of computing including Sanjeev Arora (Ph.D. '94, advisor: Umesh Vazirani), Faith Ellen (Ph.D. '82, advisor: Richard Karp), Dan Gusfield (B.S. '73/Ph.D. '80, advisor: Richard Karp), Mike Luby (Ph.D. '83, advisor: Richard Karp), Antony P.-C. Ng (Ph.D. '92, advisor: Richard Brayton), Prabhakar Raghavan (Ph.D. '86, advisor: Clark Thompson), CS Prof. Scott Shenker, Vijay Vazirani (Ph.D. '84, advisor: Manuel Blum), and Karp, himself.  The lecture series will be launched in the Fall.

GauGAN AI art tool wins two major awards at SIGGRAPH 2019 Real-Time Live Competition

A viral real-time AI art application, co-created by three current and former graduate students of CS Prof. Alexei Efros, has won two coveted awards--Best in Show and Audience Choice--at the SIGGRAPH 2019 Real-Time Live Competition.  The interactive application, called GauGAN, was co-created by Ph.D. candidate Taesung Park during a summer internship at NVIDIA, along with alumni and NVIDIA researchers Jun-Yan Zhu (Ph.D. '17,  ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Doctoral Disseration winner) and Ting-Chun Wang (Ph.D. '17), as well as NVIDIAs Ming-Yu Liu.  GauGAN is the first semantic image synthesis model that can turn rough sketches into stunning, photorealistic landscape scenes.

Bill Kramer to Lead Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

CS alumnus Bill Kramer (Ph.D. 2008, advisors: David Culler and James Demmel) has been selected as the next director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), a joint research center of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.  Kramer, currently project director and PI of the Blue Waters Project and the senior associate director for  NCSA @Scale Science and Technology at Urbana-Champaign, begins his role in  fall 2019.  Kramer has also held leadership rolls at LBNL, NASA Ames, and NERSC.

Valerie Taylor named 2019 Argonne Distinguished Fellow

EECS alumna Valerie Taylor (M.S. '86/Ph.D. '91, advisor: David Messerschmitt), currently the director of the Mathematics and Computer Science division of Argonne National Laboratory, has been named a 2019 Argonne Distinguished Fellow.  Distinguished Fellows hold the highest scientific and engineering rank at the laboratory.  Taylor, whose research focuses in the areas of performance analysis and modeling of parallel, scientific applications, was a member of the EECS faculty at Northwestern University for 11 years before joining the Computer Science department at Texas A&M.  She has collaborated professionally with Argonne for most of her career.