UC Regents vote to establish College of Computing, Data Science, and Society

The UC Board of Regents today voted to establish UC Berkeley’s College of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), the campus’s first new college in more than 50 years. The vote is the result of a three-year process to transform the Division of Computing, Data Science and Society into a college, which, in its new organizational structure, will be able to more effectively form new programs and partnerships, support instruction and research and foster identity and community among faculty, students and alumni. The college includes the Data Science Undergraduate Studies program, the Department of Statistics, the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, the Center for Computational Biology and the Bakar Institute of Digital Materials for the Planet. CDSS shares the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences with the College of Engineering, the Social Science Data Lab (D-Lab) with the Social Sciences division, and the Computational Precision Health program with UC San Francisco (UCSF). “We are thrilled to announce a new college at Berkeley that connects our excellent research and education in computing, data science and statistics with the many data-intensive disciplines across our campus,” said Chancellor Christ. “Infusing the power of data science across multiple disciplines, from basic and applied sciences to the arts and humanities, will help us to fully realize its potential to benefit society, help address our world’s most intractable problems, and achieve our most visionary goals. At Berkeley, we have the opportunity and responsibility to educate data science students from diverse backgrounds to become the ethical leaders we need in private industry, the public service sector, and education.”

Jelani Nelson wins ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award

CS Professor Jelani Nelson has won the ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics. The biannual award is given to those who have made a “significant contribution through the use of computing technology.” Nelson is cited “for founding and developing AddisCoder, a nonprofit organization which teaches programming to underserved students from all over Ethiopia.” Founded in 2011, the program began as a free intensive summer program for high school students. The program’s student body is 40% female and includes students from each of the 11 regions of Ethiopia. AddisCoder alums have matriculated into top universities, including Harvard, MIT, and Princeton, and have joined companies like Google.

(Photo: Sheila Humphreys)

9th Annual Berkeley-Stanford meetup celebrates the 45th anniversary of WiCSE

The 9th Annual Berkeley-Stanford Women in EECS research meetup took place on Saturday, April 29th in the Wozniak Lounge, Soda Hall. The meetup offers all female-identifying, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming graduate students a chance to learn about each other’s research and to network with alums from industry and academia. The daylong event featured a panel of faculty from both Berkeley and Stanford, as well as recent alums in industry. Throughout the day graduate students presented their research highlights. Stanford EE Assistant Professor Dorsa Sadigh (EECS Ph.D. ‘17), gave a keynote speech. The meetup marked the 45th anniversary of Berkeley’s Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (WiCSE). Professor Susan Graham, the first woman appointed to the CS faculty in 1971, shared remarks on the history and value of WiCSE. “What a wonderful group of students!" said Graham. "I was impressed with the brief research talks, and with the conversations I had."


Gireeja Ranade honored for outstanding mentorship of GSIs

EECS Teaching Professor Gireeja Ranade has received the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs. The annual award, which is sponsored by the Graduate Council’s Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs and the GSI Teaching & Resource Center, recognizes faculty who have provided GSIs outstanding teaching and pedagogical mentorship at Berkeley and in preparing for teaching in future careers.

Chancellor Christ, Dean Liu and others breaking ground with shovels at the new site of the Engineering Center
(Berkeley Engineering photo by Adam Lau)

COE celebrates groundbreaking of new Engineering Center

The College of Engineering held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Engineering Center on April 21. The new building, which is scheduled for completion in 2025, will be a hub for student collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The building will serve as a space for students across different disciplines and perspectives to connect, learn from each other, and build community. Thus far, 85% of the funds required to complete the project have been raised through the support of the Engineering Advisory board and key benefactors. The ceremony was attended by hundreds, including faculty, staff and students, and featured remarks by Dean Liu and Chancellor Christ. “We need to provide intellectual and actual physical space for engineers to become entrepreneurs, for climate scientists to partner with public health experts, and for computer scientists to work with legal scholars,” said Chancellor Christ. “This will be a place of possibility where, each year, thousands of engineering students and their peers from across the campus will converge, hear diverse perspectives, and skills will be melded, multiplied and brought to bear on the biggest challenges of our day, from climate change to global health to misinformation.”


Berkeley EECS graduate programs lead US News Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report ranked both the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduate programs at Berkeley EECS among the top three graduate programs in the nation for 2023. Computer Science is ranked #1, tied with MIT and Stanford. Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering are ranked #2, tied with Stanford. The magazine based its rankings on responses from 202 engineering schools across the country, including data from fall 2022 and early 2023. This year, U.S. News included non-responders from the 220 schools surveyed, so long as they reported enough data to be eligible in 2022.


NSF-IUSE awards Narges Nourozi $4M in research grants

Two proposals led by CS Teaching Professor Narges Nourozi have won $4 million in funding from the National Science Foundation Directorate for STEM Education (NSF-IUSE). The proposals, “Transforming Introductory Computer Science Instruction with an AI-Driven Classroom Assistant” and “CUE-P: Establishing Servingness in Computing through Baskin Engineering Excellence Scholars Program” have been awarded approximately $2 million over four years, and $1.9 million over five years, respectively. The first proposal, INSIGHT, is a collaboration between North Carolina State University and UC Berkeley focusing on an AI-driven classroom assistant that holds significant transformative potential for yielding a deeper understanding of how students learn computer science with AI-driven classroom assistants and producing a set of practical instructional support principles for coding-enriched classroom interactions. The second proposal is a CUE Pathways project, wherein researchers from the Universities of California collaborate with eight California community colleges to study the effects of operationalizing servingness and transfer pathways between two- and four-year institutions to increase persistence, knowledge attainment, belongingness, graduation, and post-graduation outcomes.

Jelani Nelson receives ACM-SIGACT Distinguished Service Award

CS Professor Jelani Nelson has won the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group for Algorithms and Computation Theory (ACM-SIGACT) Distinguished Service Award. Nelson was cited “for outstanding contributions to broadening participation in computer science, and in theoretical computer science in particular.” Awarded annually, the SIGACT Distinguished Service Award is given to those who have made "substantial contributions to the Theoretical Computer Science community.” Nelson founded AddisCoder, a summer program that aims to introduce high school students in developing countries to the fundamentals of computational thinking. The program, which began in Ethiopia, has educated more than 500 students and has recently extended to Jamaica. Nelson also co-founded the David Harold Blackwell Summer Research Institute, whose internship opportunities serve undergraduates across the U.S. with the goal of increasing African American students that pursue graduate studies in mathematical sciences.

Left to right: Phoebe Cheng, Manager Civil/Structural Engineering, BART; EECS Chair Claire Tomlin; Nikhila Pai, Sr. Manager of On Call Professional Service Agreements, BART; (photo: EECS)

Berkeley EECS and BART celebrate Women's History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, Berkeley EECS and BART worked together to Embrace Equity in STEM. Over the course of 50 years, both organizations have strived to be engines of societal change and social mobility, and they continue to do so today: BART, by providing fast, reliable transportation to the public; Berkeley EECS through its mission to educate leaders, create knowledge, and serve society. The World Economic Forum has estimated that only 20% of engineering graduates are women, and women of color represent only 2% of all engineering professionals. Women are particularly underrepresented in leadership roles, comprising 24% in technology and 16% in infrastructure. To bridge the gap, Berkeley EECS is committed to promoting access to education and careers in STEM for women and girls. BART is a vital part of the transportation infrastructure in the Bay Area, and it plays a key role in ensuring that everyone has access to education and impactful careers in STEM. EECS Chair Claire Tomlin served as a special guest and ambassador for women in engineering, and participated in a panel discussion with BART engineers and Berkeley Engineering alumnae to promote early access to education for young women aspiring to make a greater impact on society. “It’s important that there are women role-models and people you can relate to,” said Professor Tomlin. “The number of women in engineering is still too low and I think we should be striving for a percentage of women that’s representative of the population.”

(Photo by Michael Ball)

Berkeley EECS leads strong showing at SIGCSE

Berkeley EECS led a strong showing at the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) Technical Symposium. SIGCSE, held last week in Toronto, Canada, is the premier venue for innovations in CS education and pedagogy. The event boasts attendance of over 1000 computer scientists from around the world, representing CS education research in all levels of CS teaching, including K-12, higher education and professional education. This year, EECS faculty and students contributed four papers, two posters, two workshops, and two panels, led by faculty members such as Michael Ball, Armando Fox, Dan Garcia, Peyrin Kao, Narges Norouzi, Gireeja Ranade, and Lisa Yan. Professor Ranade and her group presented their work on inclusive group formation. Dan Garcia’s presentation, “A’s for All” detailed how Berkeley EECS is pivoting toward mastery learning. Professor Fox and graduate student Victor Huang presented their use of a “climate-first lens” to train first-time TAs in CS teaching techniques. “I'm proud to be among such a high-powered group that is advancing the state of the art in the theory and practice of CS pedagogy,” said Fox.