News

Rebecca Portnoff takes a step toward fighting human trafficking

CS graduate student Rebecca Portnoff (adviser: David Wagner) has developed the first algorithm to identify adult ads tied to human trafficking rings by linking the ads to public information from Bitcoin — the primary payment method for online sex ads.  “The technology we’ve built finds connections between ads,” says Portnoff.  “Is the pimp behind that post for Backpage also behind this post in Craigslist? Is he the same man who keeps receiving Bitcoin for trafficked girls? Questions like these are answerable only through more sophisticated technological tools – exactly what we’ve built in this work – that link ads together using payment mechanisms and the language in the ads themselves.”  Her team will present their findings this month at the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining.

Katherine Yelick to keynote ACM Europe Conference

CS Prof. Katherine Yelick will give the HPC keynote on Exascale computing at the upcoming ACM Europe Conference. Yelick also serves as Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  The event, which will take place on Sept. 7-8 in Barcelona, Spain, will focus on the themes of Cybersecurity and High Performance Computing.

Grant Ho, Mobin Javed, Vern Paxson and David Wagner win 2017 Internet Defense Prize

CS graduate student Grant Ho, Aashish Sharma (LBNL),  CS alumna Mobin Javed (Ph.D. 2016), and CS Profs. Vern Paxson and David Wagner have won the 2017 Internet Defense Prize, worth $100,000, for their paper "Detecting Credential Spearphishing in Enterprise Settings."  CS graduate student Thurston Dang,  Petros Maniatis (Google Brain), and Prof. David Wagner, were finalists for their paper "Oscar: A Practical Page-Permissions-Based Scheme for Thwarting Dangling Pointers."  The award, which is funded by Facebook and offered in partnership with USENIX, recognizes research that meaningfully makes the internet more secure.

Anca Dragan is one of this year's 35 Innovators Under 35

CS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan has been named one of 2017's 35 Innovators Under 35  by MIT Technology Review.   Each year, exceptionally talented young innovators are singled out for the honor because their work is thought to offer the greatest potential to transform the world.   Dragan was nominated in the Visionary category for "Ensuring that robots and humans work and play well together" and is profiled in an MIT Technology Review article.  She will also be recognized at a special ceremony at EmTech MIT.

EECS takes first and second place in 2017 ARWU rankings

U.C. Berkeley has been ranked best in the world in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and second best in Computer Science and Engineering, in the Academic Rankings of World Universities (ARWU), an assessment of 500 top institutions around the globe by ShanghaiRanking.   EE's score was 333.5, beating out  Stanford  (315.5) and MIT (310.9).   CS had a total score of 251.9, beating Stanford (243.8) but coming in under MIT (357.4).   Berkeley was ranked the No. 1 public university overall, and placed in the top 10 in 20 of the 52 subjects ranked.

Sergey Levine, Pieter Abbeel, and Chelsea Finn partner with NVAIL to take deep learning to the next level

Assistant Prof. Sergey Levine, Prof. Pieter Abbeel, and graduate student Chelsea Finn are featured in a CSO article highlighting research they presented at the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML).  The research was done in partnership with the NVIDIA AI Labs (NVAIL) programme.  Levine’s team wants to help intelligent agents learn faster and require less training by teaching deep neural networks to learn more like humans.  “Look at how people do it,” said Levine. “We never learn things entirely from scratch. We draw on our past experience to help us learn new skills quickly. So we’re trying to get our learning algorithms to do the same.”  Levine and his team have been using an NVIDIA DGX-1 system to train their algorithms how to coordinate movement and visual perception.

NVAIL helps keep AI pioneers ahead of the curve with support for students, assistance from researchers and engineers, and gives them access to the industry’s most advanced GPU computing power.

Ken Goldberg joins ROBO Global Board

CS Prof. Ken Goldberg has joined the Strategic Advisory Board of ROBO Global, creator of the first benchmark index to track the global robotics, automation and artificial intelligence market.  Goldberg leads research in geometric algorithms and machine learning for robotics and in applications from surgery to manufacturing.  “Ken is truly one of the brightest minds in robotics and automation,” said Travis Briggs, CEO of ROBO Global. “His insight and expertise is sought after all over the world. We’re honored to have him on our team helping ROBO bring innovative solutions to investors in the US, Europe and Asia. ”

Barbara Grosz receives ACL Lifetime Achievement Award

Alumna Barbara Grosz (CS M.S. '71/Ph.D. '77), Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).  The award recognizes the work of a researcher who has made sustained and impactful contributions to the field of Computational Linguistics/Natural Language Processing. Grosz has spent her career working to make human-computer interactions as fluent as human-to-human interaction. Her recent research has focused on fundamental problems in modeling collaborative activity, developing systems ("agents") able to collaborate with each other and their users, and constructing collaborative, multi-modal systems for human-computer communication.  Her current research projects focus on using results of prior work to improve health care coordination and enhance K-12 science education.

Jonathan Maltz to lead clinical studies of HeartSentry

EE alumnus Jonathan S. Maltz (Ph.D. EE '99) is serving as the lead researcher and Chief Scientific Advisor during the clinical trials of HeartSentry, a non-invasive diagnostic tool to measure and monitor cardiovascular health.   HeartSentry is being developed at Lexington Biosciences, a development-stage medical device company in Vancouver, Canada.  It is the product of 15-years of research at U.C. Berkeley.  Maltz has had over 16 years experience designing new devices for assessing vascular function and evaluating these on human subjects.

Yannis Ioannidis and the Greek spin-off that will become the voice of Samsung

CS alumnus Yannis Ioannidis (Ph.D. '86) is featured in an article about Samsung's purchase of Greek text-to-speech company Innoetics for close to 50 million euros.  Ioannidis is president of the ATHENA Research & Innovation Center, which nurtured the startup and provided critical support during its evolution and the development of its technology. Innoetics' text-to-speech software learns languages by listening to native speakers, whose voices it can then mimic with great accuracy.  It is currently fluent in 19 languages. Samsung plans to use the technology across a wide range of its product ecosystem.  Ioannidis says that, as a result of the purchase, “any voice emanating from a Samsung device in the years to come will be ‘Greek,’ the product of Greek technology.”  Ioannidis is currently a professor of Informatics and Telecommunications at the University of Athens.