News

Garth Gibson, Vector Institute (Matthew Plexman)

Garth Gibson named CEO of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence

CS alumnus Garth Gibson  (M.S. '84/B.S. '91) has been named CEO of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Toronto, Canada.  The newly-formed Vector has received $50-million funding from Ontario and $85-million-plus from more than 30 companies, including Shopify Inc., Magna International Inc., Canada's big banks and U.S. tech giants including Google Inc.  Gibson, who is a native of Canada, has held several senior positions at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, where he is a computer-science professor and established the school's Parallel Data Lab and Petascale Data Storage Institute.

Berkeley EECS ranks 3rd in 2017 list of 50 Best Master's in Computer Science

U.C. Berkeley is #3 in the Best Computer Science Schools rankings of the 50 Best Master’s in Computer Science Degrees for 2017. The rankings were based on a methodology which aggregates data from Payscale, U.S. News and World Report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as information from the schools.  It measures institutional strength, return on tuition investment, and student happiness.  MIT and Stanford took first and second place.  They state "The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) at UC Berkeley offers one of the most brilliant research and instructional programs anywhere in the world."

CS Prof. Lotfi Zadeh, 1921-2017

Lotfi Zadeh wins 2017 Golden Goose Award

CS Prof. Emeritus Lotfi Zadeh has posthumously won a 2017 Golden Goose Award for "Fuzzy Logic, Clear Impact," sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  The award honors teams of scientists whose silly-sounding taxpayer-funded research has returned serious benefits to society.  "Zadeh proposed these revolutionary concepts in 1965 to deal with the mathematics and logic of imprecise information, receiving a skeptical response and howls of 'complete nonsense.' He even drew the attention of Senator William Proxmire and the infamous Golden Fleece Award. But since the concept's debut, the original research paper has become one of the most widely cited in history, used in more than 16,000 patents and applied to efficiency improvements for HVAC systems, healthcare devices and more."  The winners will be honored at a ceremony at the Library of Congress this evening."  Prof. Zadeh passed away earlier this month.

CS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan

Anca Dragan wants autonomous cars to understand people

CS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan is one of the subjects of a San Francisco Chronicle article titled "Humanizing cars, sensitizing humans,"  about how the rise of robot vehicles will require reprogramming our relationship with them.  Dragan was interviewed for the section on "emotional intelligence" and what a robot car sees.  She said driverless cars will need to predict what humans on the road will do — and figure out how to behave appropriately around them.  Dragan is testing a computer model of an autonomous vehicle which nudges toward the adjacent lane and detects whether the simulated human driver hits the brakes or the accelerator, fairly similar to how most people change lanes.  “Those reactions tell it about your driving style, so it can anticipate whether it should merge or let you go first,” she said. “We’re excited to see that the car can ‘reason’ properly about people.”

Jacobs Hall receives 2017 AIA Education Facility Design Award of Merit

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)'s Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has awarded the Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation a 2017 Award of Merit.  "Education continues to evolve, and the projects from this year’s Education Facility Design Awards program...represent the state-of-the-art learning environments being developed in today's learning spaces,” states the AIA. “These projects showcase innovation across the entire learning continuum, displaying how today's architects are creating cutting-edge spaces that enhance modern pedagogy.”  Jacobs Hall is devoted to introducing design innovation at the center of engineering education and university life, and is designed as an interdisciplinary hub for students and teachers who love working at the intersection of design and technology.  It is "both a team-based, project-centric educational space and a compelling symbol to the region of the University’s commitment to enlightened, sustainable innovation."

Arvind Sridhar

Arvind Sridhar awarded Davidson Fellows scholarship

Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Program (M.E.T.) student Arvind Sridhar (CS/Business) has been awarded a $25,000 Davidson Fellows scholarship.  The award is presented annually by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development to 20 students based on “significant work” in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music and philosophy. Sridhar’s scholarship was granted based on a study he undertook at the Stanford University School of Medicine over the summer.  He sought to create algorithms and computational models that would allow doctors to diagnose the health of cardiac tissue using only images and videos of a tissue sample, and then use an injectable hydrogel, which mimics the heart’s micro-environment, to anchor and nourish stem cells to parts of the heart, allowing them to enable cardiac regeneration.

Alumnus Nikunj Oza

Nikunj Oza presents NASA's perspectives on Deep Learning

CS alumnus Nikunj Oza (M.S. '98/Ph.D. '01), now a research scientist in the Intelligent Systems Division of the NASA Ames Research Center, talks about NASA's perspectives on Deep Learning for an HPC User Forum video.  He presents a broad overview of work at NASA in data sciences, data mining, and machine learning, and delineates the roles of NASA, academia, and industry in advancing machine learning to help solve NASA's problems.

Pulkit Agrawal (photo: Nitesh Mor)

Pulkit Agrawal is teaching machines how to be curious

CS Ph.D. student Pulkit Agrawal (advisers: Jitendra Malik and Jack Gallant) is the subject of a Quant Magazine article titled "Clever Machines Learn How to Be Curious."  Agrawal is working at the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab with CS grad student Deepak Pathak, Pathak's adviser Prof. Trevor Darrell, and CS Prof. Alexei A. Efros,  to design experimental machine-learning algorithms which aim to "make a machine curious."  They equipped their learning agent with what they call an intrinsic curiosity module (ICM) designed to pull it forward through a video game without going haywire, despite having no prior understanding of the game. “You can think of curiosity as a kind of reward which the agent generates internally on its own, so that it can go explore more about its world,” Agrawal said.

Schematic of a solar-powered electrolysis cell (Clarissa Towle/Berkeley Lab)

Ali Javey helps demonstrate efficient, light-powered production of fuel via artificial photosynthesis

Research co-authored by EE Prof. Ali Javey has demonstrated that the power of photosynthesis can be harnessed to convert carbon dioxide into fuels and alcohols at efficiencies far greater than plants. The achievement marks a significant milestone in the effort to move toward sustainable sources of fuel.  The study, titled "Efficient solar-driven electrochemical CO2 reduction to hydrocarbons and oxygenates," was led by Berkeley Lab postdoctoral fellow Gurudayal and co-authored by LBLpostdoctoral researcher James Bullock, who works in Javey's lab, among others.  “This is a big step forward in the design of devices for efficient CO2 reduction and testing of new materials, and it provides a clear framework for the future advancement of fully integrated solar-driven CO2-reduction devices,” said Berkeley Lab chemist Frances Houle,  who was not part of the study.

CS Prof. Kathy Yelick

Kathy Yelick Charts the Promise and Progress of Exascale Science

CS Prof. Katherine Yelick is the subject of an interview in HPCwire in which she discusses the promise and progress of exascale science.  The article follows on the heels of Yelick's keynote address on "Breakthrough Science at the Exascale" at the ACM Europe Conference in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this month.  The fastest supercomputers in the world today solve problems at the petascale—that is a quadrillion calculations each second.  Exascale computing refers to systems capable of at least  one exaFLOPS, or a billion billion calculations per second.  Yelick's research interestes include parallel programming languages, compilers, algorithms and automatic performance tuning.   She is the Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for Computing Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).