News

2019 EECS PECASE Winners

Anca Dragan and Alvin Cheung win Presidential Early Career awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

Profs. Anca Dragan and Alvin Cheung have been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers. Established in 1996, the PECASE acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, and community outreach. Prof. Dragan was nominated by the National Science Foundation and Prof. Cheung was nominated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Michael Jordan on the goals and remedies for AI

CS Prof. Michael Jordan has written a commentary in the Harvard Data Science Review (HDSR) titled "Dr. AI or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Economics" (a play on the title of the film Dr. Strangelove).  In it, he  argues that instead of trying to put "‘thought’ into the computer, and expecting that ‘thinking computers’ will be able to solve our problems and make our lives better," he explores the prospect of bringing microeconomics "into the blend of computer science and statistics that is currently being called ‘AI.'"

Robert J. Wood's RoboBee X-Wing flies solo

An untethered bee robot co-created by EE alumnus Robert J. Wood (PhD '04, advisor: Ron Fearing) graces the cover the of the June 2019 issue of Nature magazine and is the subject of a Wired article titled "What Could Possibly Be Cooler Than RoboBee? RoboBee X-Wing."  Wood, now a professor of engineering and applied sciences at Harvard, is one of the creators of the RoboBee X-Wing, an aerial vehicle the size of an insect that is capable of untethered flight.  It has four wings driven by two piezoelectric actuators and carries a 60-mg photovoltaic array and a 91-mg signal generator, giving it a thrust efficiency matching that of similarly sized insects.

New RIOS Lab to expand RISC open-source ecosystem

CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson, his former graduate student Zhangxi Tan (PhD '13), and Lin Zhang of the Tsinghua-UC Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI), have been chosen to co-direct the new RISC-V International Open Source (RIOS) Laboratory, an non-profit research lab launched by the TBSI.  RIOS aims to expand and elevate the capabilities of Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) microprocessors.  Patterson, who is currently a distinguished engineer at Google, coined the term RISC in the early 1980s to describe a computer architecture that allowed microprocessors to operate far more efficiently with simple, general instructions.  Nearly all of the 16 billion microprocessors produced annually are RISC processors.

Lee Felsenstein and the first public computerized bulletin board system

The Community Memory Project, a 1970's era counterculture experiment co-founded by EECS alumnus Lee Felsenstein (B.S. '72), is the subject of an article in California Magazine titled “'We’re Using a Computer': Was Social Media Invented in Berkeley?"  Members of the public were invited  to interface with a carboard box "terminal" where they could enter and retrieve messages on a computer via a teletype machine.  “It was sort of a noisy, sluggish craigslist,” Felsenstein says .  It “...was the first point where spam showed up, the first point for trolling, the first place where people developed personas online.”  An original Community Memory terminal is on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

Shruti Agarwal and Hany Farid use facial quirks to unmask ‘deepfakes’

CS graduate student Shruti Agarwal and her thesis advisor Prof. Hany Farid have created a new weapon in the war against "deepfakes," the hyper-realistic AI-generated videos of people appearing to say and do things they never actually said or did.  The new forensic technique, which uses the subtle characteristics of how a person speaks to recognize whether a new video of that individual is real, was presented this week at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Long Beach.  “The basic idea is we can build these soft biometric models of various world leaders, such as 2020 presidential candidates," said Farid, "and then as the videos start to break, for example, we can analyze them and try to determine if we think they are real or not.”

Alexei Efros helps build tool to detect facial manipulation in Adobe PhotoShop

CS Prof. Alexei "Alyosha" Efros has teamed up with student researcher Sheng-Yu Wang and postdoc Andrew Owens, as well as Adobe researchers Richard Zhang and Oliver Wang, to develop a method for detecting and reversing edits to images made using Adobe Photoshop’s Face Aware Liquify feature--a popular tool for adjusting facial features, including making adjustments to facial expressions.  While still in its early stages, this collaboration to train a convolutional neural network (CNN) is part of a broader effort across Adobe to better detect image, video, audio and document manipulations, as well as a step toward democratizing image forensics.

Michael Lieberman wins 2020 IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award

EE Prof. Michael Lieberman has won the 2020 IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award for outstanding contributions to the field of nuclear and plasma sciences and engineering.  This IEEE-level Technical Field Award is the highest honor administered by the Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society.  Lieberman was cited “For groundbreaking research and sustained intellectual leadership in the physics of low-temperature plasmas and their application.”  Prof. Ned Birdsall (1925-2012) won the inaugural award in 2011, making Berkeley EECS the only institution to have won two of these awards.

Gitanjali Swamy testifies in support of Massachsetts anti-discrimination bill

EECS alumna Gitanjali Swamy (Ph.D. '97) testified in defense of a proposed bill (S939) she helped to draft which calls for sexual harassment and discrimination laws in Massachusetts to apply not only to employers but to investors and financiers as well--particularly private investors such as venture capitalists.  The purpose of the bill is to ensure that investors are held to the same standards as other employers and that women are afforded the same protections under the law.  Swamy is the founder and advisor to UC Berkeley’s Witi@UC Women, and a representative of the United Nations EQUALS Leadership Coalition.

Raluca Ada Popa Named an MIT Technology Review 2019 Innovator Under 35

Today, the MIT Technology Review announced Raluca Ada Popa has been named to MIT Technology Review’s prestigious annual list of Innovators Under 35 as a Visionary. Every year, the world-renowned media company has recognized a list of exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world.

Prof. Popa is a co-founder of the RISELab where she is developing a learning and analytics framework that can run on encrypted data.

Gideon Lichfield, editor-in-chief of MIT Technology Review, said: “MIT Technology Review’s annual Innovators Under 35 list is a chance for us to honor the outstanding people behind the breakthrough technologies of the year that have the potential to disrupt our lives. These profiles offer a glimpse into what the face of technology looks like today as well as in the future.”