Vestri the robot playing and learning

New robots predict their future by learning like babies

Prof. Sergey Levine and grad students Chelsea Finn and Frederik Ebert have developed a robotic learning technology called visual foresight that enables robots to imagine the future of their actions so they can figure out how to manipulate objects they have never encountered before. “This can enable intelligent planning of highly flexible skills in complex real-world situations," Levine says.  In the future, this technology could help self-driving cars anticipate future events on the road and produce more intelligent robotic assistants in homes, but the initial prototype focuses on learning simple manual skills entirely from autonomous play--like children do.  

Justin Yim and Salto-IP (New Straits Times)

Biomimetic Millisystems: designs from nature

Prof. Ron Fearing, grad student Justin Yim, and the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab are featured in a New Straits Times article titled "Designs from nature," which explores the ways that lab scientists apply observations of animals in an attempt to mimic their motions over land, air and underwater to propel revolutionary technologies.  The article covers Salto-IP, a monopedal jumping robot inspired by the galago, and the VelociRoACH, a hexapedal robot inspired by the cockroach.  “Our team develops small-scale robots that are low-cost and light-weight, with masses below 100g and are disposable. We build things and test them out rapidly," Fearing says.

A “blankie” that contains printed MRI coils (Usha Lee McFarling/STAT)

Ana Claudia Arias, Miki Lustig, and Joe Corea's printable, wearable devices

Prof. Ana Claudia Arias, Prof. Miki Lustig, and graduate student Joseph Corea, are featured in a STAT article titled "Electronics ‘like a second skin’ make wearables more practical and MRIs safer for kids."  The team is using printers loaded with a variety of high-tech inks (liquid silver nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes and semiconducting plastics) to make a new generation of medical devices, from wearables to barely noticeable MRI hardware for kids.  They have created light, flexible MRI coils that will improve image quality as well as patient comfort, and  have spun off a company called InkSpace Imaging to speed development.  “What would be best would be electronics that were almost like a second skin,” Arias said. “No adhesive. No straps. Almost like underwear — you forget that you’re wearing it.”

Doug Tygar's class of "ethical hackers" learns to wage cyberwar

Prof. Doug Tygar and his CS 194 Cybewar class are the focus of a New Yorker article titled "At Berkeley, a New Generation of “Ethical Hackers” Learns to Wage Cyberwar." The students have teamed up with the white hat hackers at HackerOne, a vulnerability coordination and bug bounty platform.  Companies, organizations, and government agencies use HackerOne to solicit help identifying vulnerabilities in their products––or, as Tygar put it, “subject themselves to the indignity of having undergraduate students try to hack them.”  Junior Vy-An Phan decided to focus on various secretary-of-state Web sites around the country, which house tools central to the electoral process—voter registration, ballot measures, candidate information, Election Day guidelines.  She has already found eight bugs spread across four sites.  “I could trick someone into registering for the wrong party, or not registering at all,” Phan said.

Randy Katz inducted into Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame

Prof. Randy Katz has been inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame "for his contributions to storage and computer systems, distinguished national service, and by his exemplary mentorship and teaching that have contributed to the Silicon Valley technical community and industries."  Katz, who is also an alumnus (M.S. '78/Ph.D. '80), co-developed the redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) concept for computer storage along with Prof. Emeritus David Patterson and fellow alumnus Garth Gibson, in their 1988 SIGMOD Conference paper "A Case for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID)."  Silicon Valley Engineering Council (SVEC) Hall of Fame inductees have demonstrated significant engineering or technical achievements, provided significant guidance in new and developing fields of engineering-based technology, and/or have managed or directed an organization making noteworthy contributions in design, manufacturing, production, or service through the uses of engineering principles and applications.

Thomas Budinger wins IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology

Prof. Thomas Budinger has won the 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology.  The award is presented "for exceptional contributions to technologies and applications benefitting healthcare, medicine, and the health sciences."  Budinger, who was the founding chair of the Bioengineering department, a division director at LBNL and Director of the Magnetic Resonance Science Center at UCSF,  is cited “For pioneering contributions to tomographic radiotracer imaging."

Eli Yablonovitch wins IEEE Edison Medal

Prof. Eli Yablonovitch has been awarded the 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Edison Medal.  Named for Thomas Edison and presented since 1909, the IEEE Edison Medal is awarded for a career of meritorious achievement in electrical science, electrical engineering, or the electrical arts.  Yablonovitch, who co-founded the field of of photonic crystals, was cited for "For leadership, innovations, and entrepreneurial achievements in photonics, semi-conductor lasers, antennas, and solar cells.”

Profs. Sanjit Seshia and Pieter Abbeel

Pieter Abbeel and Sanjit Seshia elected 2018 IEEE fellows

Profs. Pieter Abbeel and Sanjit Seshia have been elected fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) class of 2018.  The objectives of the IEEE, the world's largest association of technical professionals, are the educational and technical advancement of electrical and electronic engineering, telecommunications, computer engineering and allied disciplines.  The Fellow grade is the highest level of membership and is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors in recognition of a high level of demonstrated extraordinary accomplishment.  Abbeel was selected "for contributions to apprenticeship and reinforcement learning for robotics and autonomous systems" and Seshia was selected for "for contributions to formal methods for inductive synthesis and algorithmic verification."

Bernd Sturmfels wins 2018 George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics

CS Prof. Bernd Sturmfels has won the 2018 George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics for "his instrumental role in creating the field of applied algebraic geometry." This prize is jointly awarded by the American Math Society (AMS) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Math (SIAM) every 3 years for "an outstanding contribution to applied mathematics in the highest and broadest sense." Previous winners include Emmanuel Candes, Bjorn Engquist, and many other luminaries.

Jennifer Listgarten joins EECS Department

Dr. Jennifer Listgarten will join the EECS faculty effective Jan 1, 2018.  Listgarten received her B.S. in CS and Physics at Queen's University in Canada, and her M.S. (CS/computational vision) and Ph.D. (CS/bioinformatics/machine learning) from the University of Toronto.  She has spent the past 10 years as a researcher at Microsoft; her area of expertise is machine learning and applied statistics for computational biology.   She is interested in both methods development as well as application of methods to enable new insight into basic biology and medicine.  She will be co-teaching CS189 Introduction to Machine Learning with Prof. Anant Sahai starting in January.