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Hannah Joo receives Brooke Owens Fellowship.

Hannah Joo, an undergraduate student studying computer science and cognitive science at Berkeley, has won a Brooke Owens Fellowship. Along with 47 undergraduate women and gender minorities from all over the world, Hannah will receive “space and aviation internships, senior mentorships, and a lifelong professional network.” In her freshman year, Hannah joined Space Enterprise at Berkeley, a student-run rocket team. With limited engineering and coding experience, she found her passion at the intersection of avionics and computer science, culminating in a summer internship with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory last year. Now in her 3rd-year, Hannah will intern with SpaceX. The Brooke Owens Fellowship was founded in 2016 to honor the memory of D. Brooke Owens, a beloved industry pioneer, and accomplished pilot, who passed away at age 35 after battling cancer.

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James Truchard wins IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal

James J. Truchard, co-founder and former president and CEO of National Instruments and Berkeley EECS external advisory board member, has won the IEEE James H. Mulligan Jr. Education Medal. Established in 1956 by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the medal recognizes the importance of education's contribution to “the vitality, imagination, and leadership of the members of the engineering profession.” The award consists of a gold medal, a bronze replica, a certificate, and an honorarium. The criteria for selection include excellence in teaching and the ability to inspire; leadership in electrical engineering education; leadership in the development of programs in curricula or teaching methodology; contributions to the profession through research, engineering achievements, and technical papers; and participating in the education initiatives of professional societies. Truchard was cited “for the development of LabVIEW and establishing worldwide programs to enhance hands-on learning in laboratories and classrooms.”

EECS grads students pose by the finished artwork.

EECS graduate students turn e-waste into art

EECS graduate students use leftover printed circuit boards (PCBs) to create art. The result is a beautiful Cal EECS bear in Berkeley blue, centered over the letters E-E-C-S in green, all made up of PCBs, on a towering six by seven plywood base held together by very-high-bond (VHB) double-sided tape. Rahul Iyer, an EECS Ph.D. student advised by EE Prof. Pilawa-Podgurski, had the idea over Thanksgiving break to make use of what would otherwise be e-waste. With the help of Rod Bayliss III, Maggie Blackwell, Sahana Krishnan and Nathan Brooks, all Ph.D. students advised by Pilawa, they set out to repurpose the leftover PCBs, first by printing the silhouette of the Cal bear on a mounting board, tracing the outline of the bear, and then using VHB to tape the PCBs onto the mounting board, filling in the outline. “It was a great bonding activity over Thanksgiving break, especially recollecting projects and past memories when we came across some of the boards,” said Rahul. “I’m so glad I had an opportunity to share in this creative endeavor with my peers. Looking forward to another project in a few years when we collect more PCBs!”

Berkeley EECS continues to compete in US News & World Report rankings

Once again Berkeley Electrical Engineering ranked #1, and Computer Engineering ranked #2, in the 2022 US News and World Report graduate school rankings. EE tied with MIT and Stanford as the top graduate Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering program in the nation, while Computer Engineering tied in second place with Stanford after MIT. The tuition for both Master’s programs at MIT and Stanford cost over $55.5K annually, while Berkeley's costs $11.4K in-state and $26.5 out-of-state per year. Berkeley was ranked as the third best Engineering school overall.

95 Female-identifying first year students hold an ice cream social with CS advisors in the Cory Hall courtyard

CS Kickstart thrives amid return to in-person outreach

Now in its 11th consecutive year, CS Kickstart held its one-week computer science immersion program earlier this month, ushering in over 95 attendees to the program, a record turnout. The program is designed to introduce female-identifying first-year students to computer science at Berkeley and aims to add more diversity to the field. Completely student-run, they host workshops in Python, web development, electrical engineering, and data science; panel discussions featuring current Ph.D. students and faculty speakers like CS Prof. John DeNero;  field trips, like a community-building experience with the Oakland Athletics, and tours, panels, and Q&A sessions with industry partners, such as SAP Academy and Stitch Fix. “It was amazing to see CS Kickstart held in person again this year and with more students than in previous years!” said EECS Director of Student Diversity, Audrey Sillers.

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Pieter Abbeel interviewed as Featured ACM Member

CS Prof. Pieter Abbeel has been interviewed as a Featured ACM Member. As part of the “People of ACM” bulletin, Abbeel details the groundbreaking work that led to his 2021 ACM Prize in Computing, and the direction of the field of AI and robotics in the warehousing industry and beyond. Given the different specializations required to pursue AI, he gives the following advice to the next generation of AI researchers: “In terms of foundations, basic mathematics such as calculus, probability, linear algebra are very important, and also optimization,” said Abbeel. “Taking physics classes can be very helpful, as it teaches you the skill of abstracting real world problem settings into equations." Prof. Abbeel is the director of the Berkeley Robot Learning Lab and co-director of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) lab, in addition to Co-Founder, President, and Chief Scientist of Covariant, a Berkeley-based AI robotics company.

Prof. Arias wearing her doctoral hat.

Ana Arias receives honorary doctorate from Tampere University

EE Prof. Ana Claudia Arias has been conferred an honorary doctorate from Tampere University in Finland. Prof. Arias is one of 14 distinguished individuals to receive an honorary doctorate at Tampere University's inaugural conferment ceremony, including Ban Ki-Moon, former secretary general of the United Nations. Tampere University, as it is known today, was established in 2019 after the merger between the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology. The honorary doctorate, among the new Tampere University’s highest recognitions, is awarded for "excellence in fields represented at the Univesity and other exceptional scientific, artistic or social merits." As part of its three-day ceremony to "highlight the value of and respect for research and education," honorary doctors receive the "doctoral hat" as a symbol of academic freedom. 

EECS alumnus Gary May, Chancellor of U.C. Davis

Gary May and Sheila Humphreys interviewed for Inside Higher Ed

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, is the focus of an Inside Higher Ed story highlighting the unique bond between three Black Berkeley Engineering alumni in the 1980s, all of whom have gone on to lead top research institutions. Reggie DesRoches has become the president of Rice University, and Darryll Pines is the president of the University of Maryland, College Park. The three met at Berkeley where they studied different fields of engineering. The article describes the unique landscape of diversity in the era before Proposition 209, and interviewed EECS staff emerita, Sheila Humphreys for the story, who was then the EECS director of diversity, as well as Dean Liu who said this past academic year (2021-22) “is the first year that we ended up with a higher percentage [of undergraduate underrepresented minorities] then even before Prop 209.” In fostering the minority engineering programs (MEP) of the 1980s, Sheila attributes the "unwavering administrative support" of the late Dean Pister, and a "comprehensive, whole-student approach."

CS Prof-Led proposal wins California Education Learning Lab award of up to $650,000

A CS Prof.-led proposal has been selected to receive a California Education Learning Lab award of up to $650,000. The proposal, “A’s-for-All (A4A): Scaling Mastery Learning Through Technology, Advocacy, Policy, and Partnerships” was led by CS Profs. Armando Fox and Dan Garcia in partnership with California State University, Long Beach, and El Camino College. The grant is designed to scale successful Learning Lab projects, expanding the positive impacts of STEM in public higher education. A4A proposes to build upon an open-source technology platform from UIUC to reorient formative and summative assessment toward mastery learning, ultimately providing students every opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency in various areas of introductory computer science courses. The scaling proposal will develop concept mapping tools so that faculty and students can track progress in student learning, and implement automated approaches to provide more flexibility for the ways in which students are able to demonstrate proficiency/mastery of the course.

EECS faculty applaud graduates’ resilience

EECS Assistant Prof. Nika Haghtalab and CS Assistant Prof. and Associate Prof. in the School of Information, David Bamman, are quoted in a Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) article about the resiliency and determination of the 2022 graduating class, particularly during the pandemic. “This generation of students has persevered, despite these global challenges, to forge a real community with their peers,” said Bamman. They also anticipated the ways the graduates will use their new skills to shape our collective future. “We need graduates who understand the technical methods of data science, their limitations and sources of bias, and the broader context in which information is used to drive policy, inform decision-making, and shape opinion,” Bamman said.  Haghtalab noted that “this is a great time to enter the workforce and contribute to the shaping of data science and computing for the advancement and betterment of the world.”