News

Alistair Sinclair named recipient of the 2017 ACM Distinguished Service Award.

Alistair Sinclair has been awarded the 2017 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented on the basis of value and degree of services to the computing community including activities on behalf of the ACM, other computer organizations, and/or other entities. Prof. Sinclair is recognized for his role in the spectacular success of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing in taking collaboration in the field to an entirely new level.

Jose Carmena in IEEE article titled “Timeline: The Evolution of Assistive Technologies”.

Jose Carmena is mentioned in IEEE’s publication The Institute in an article titled “Timeline: The Evolution of Assistive Technologies”  (see timeline at the bottom of the article, year 2017). In celebration of The Institute's 40th anniversary this article highlights topics and technologies  over the past four decades that have applied electronics to significantly help people overcome disabilities. Professor Carmena is recognized for contributions to the neural basis of motor-skill learning and neuroprosthetic systems. His research program in neural engineering and systems neuroscience is aimed at understanding the neural basis of sensorimotor learning and control, and at building the science and engineering base that will allow the creation of reliable neuroprosthetic systems for the severely disabled. He is also co-chair of the IEEE Brain Initiative and Co-Director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses at UC Berkeley and UCSF.

Aaron Wagner selected winner of the IEEE 2017 James L. Massey Research and Teaching award.

EECS alumni Aaron Wagner has been selected as the winner of the 2017 James L. Massey Research and Teaching award for young scholars of the IEEE Information Theory Society. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in research and teaching by Society members under 40 years of age in the Information Theory community. Currently he is an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences in 2005 (advisor was Prof. Venkatachalam Anantharam). His current research interests are at the intersection of information theory and other fields including networking, statistics, queueing theory, security, computational linguistics, and learning. He is particularly interested in network information theory, distributed compression and its application to peer-to-peer networks, secure communication over timing and photonic channels, and communication and classification in learning-limited environments.

Warren Hoburg selected by Nasa for 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class

EECS alumni Warren Hoburg has been selected by NASA to be one of 12 people to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. Hoburg received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences in 2015 (advisor Associate Prof. Pieter Abbeel). Currently he is a Boeing Assistant Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Center for Computational Engineering Operations Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research focuses on efficient methods for design of engineering systems. His group produced and maintains the open-source software tool GPkit, which is a Python package for geometric programming. His group's tools were used to design a five-day endurance UAV currently under development for the US Air Force.

Wenting Zheng wins the 2017-18 IBM PhD Fellowship

EECS graduate student Wenting Zheng (advised by Ion Stoica and Raluca Ada Popa)  has won the prestigious 2017-18 IBM PhD Fellowship.   Wenting works in the RISELab and her research involves system security and distributed systems. The IBM Ph.D. fellowship is an "intensely competitive worldwide program that honors exceptional Ph.D. students who have an interest in solving problems that are important to IBM and fundamental to innovation in many academic disciplines and areas of study." Only 50 fellowships are awarded worldwide annually.

Sculpted Light in the Brain

In an effort to gather scientists at the interface between neurosciences, optical engineering, and computer science, an all-day conference is being held on Friday, June 9, in Stanley Hall titled Sculpted Light in the Brain.   Participants are united in their mission to develop technologies to enable real time optical communication with the living brain.  The endeavor was initiated with a $2k seed grant to the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) and grew into a $20K showcase for the collaboration between neuroscientists, electrical engineers, and computer scientists, highlighting U.C. Berkeley's position as a preeminent leader in brain research. The conference, which already has a 50 person waitlist, will host 11 fully funded speakers including EE Associate Prof. Laura Waller,  present 25 posters, and is supported by a dozen corporate sponsors .

Armando Solar-Lezama: Academic success despite an inauspicious start

Alumnus and Mexican immigrant Armando Solar-Lezama (CS Ph.D. '08) is the subject of an MIT News article describing some of the academic obstacles he had to overcome on his path to becoming a tenured professor at MIT.  Armando's creative  approaches to his class assignments were discouraged in Mexico and despite self-educating to narrow the gap, he experienced systematic repression in high school when he moved to Texas with his family in 1997.  After he graduated from Texas A&M, he was welcomed into the Berkeley EECS graduate program.  Under the mentorship of Prof. Ras Bodik, Armando discovered the nascent area of "program synethesis," which has since blossomed into a popular field of research.  Read about Armando's challenging and inspiring journey.

Meet the most nimble-fingered robot yet

Many researchers are working on ways for robots to learn to grasp and manipulate things by practicing over and over, but the process is very time-consuming. The research work on robotic deep learning by Prof. Ken Goldberg is featured on the cover of MIT Review in an article titled "Meet the Most Nimble-Fingered Robot Yet".  Instead of practicing in the real world, Prof. Ken Goldberg and colleagues have developed a robot that learns by feeding on a data set of more than a thousand objects that includes their 3-D shape, visual appearance, and the physics of grasping them. This data set was used to train the robot’s deep-learning system. Advances in control algorithms and machine-learning approaches, together with new hardware, are steadily building a foundation on which a new generation of robots will operate.

David Culler named Interim Dean for the Division of Data Sciences

Prof. David Culler has been appointed the Interim Dean for the newly created Division of Data Sciences.  The purpose of the new division is to bring techniques to bear in statistics, mathematics, and computer science on new sources of data.  One of their goals is the creation of an undergraduate data science major and data science minor.   Prof. Culler's duties will include fostering a cooperative atmosphere among the relevant faculties; working with the administration to form an advisory board with representation of key external constituencies; advancing fundraising efforts in concert with broader campus fundraising objectives; and enlisting a team of Berkeley faculty members who will work with him to develop the initiative. He will begin his new role on July 1, 2017 for a two-year term.

UC Berkeley alumni are 2017's most wanted tech employees

According to an analysis by online recruiting company HiringSolved, UC Berkeley has the most undergraduate and graduate alumni hired by the 25 biggest Silicon Valley employers in 2017.  Using data from more than 10,000 public profiles for tech workers hired or promoted into new positions in 2016 and the first two months of 2017, the company determined that Berkeley alumni were hired more frequently than any other, followed by Stanford, CMU, and USC.  A Quartz Media article attributes some of that success to the close relationships our faculty and administrators have with Bay Area tech firms.  HiringSolved also determined which skills were the best indicators for getting entry-level jobs and the most likely job titles for new graduate applicants.