News

RISC-V grows globally as an alternative to Arm

RISC-V, a royalty-free microprocessor architecture first developed at Berkeley, is emerging as a rival to Arm, the most successful microchip architecture in the world.   The first RISC-V chip was built in 2011 as part of the open source Peer Lab Project by CS Prof. and alumnus Krste Asanović (Ph.D. '98, advisor: John Wawrzynek), CS Prof. Emeritus David Patterson, and CS alumni Andrew Waterman (M.S. 11/Ph.D. '16, advisors: David Patterson/Krste Asanović) and Yunsup Lee (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '16, advisor: Krste Asanović).  Asanović, Waterman and Lee went on to found SiFive, "the first fabless semiconductor company to build customized silicon on RISC-V."   Asanović explains that the architecture has gained momentum "not because it's 10% faster. It's because it's a new business model."  Chip designers traditionally have to find a seller to make their microprocessors, but now designers can select RISC-V and "all suppliers compete for your business.  You can add your own extensions without obtaining permission" or paying license fees.

Robot BLUE named one of 100 greatest innovations of 2019

An affordable, human-friendly robot developed by EECS Prof. Pieter Abbeel and Project Blue is among Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New” innovations for 2019.  BLUE (Berkeley robot for Learning in Unstructured Environments) uses artificial intelligence and deep reinforcement learning algorithms to adapt to and operate safely in unpredictable settings, including the common household.  The list is  Popular Science's ranking of the year’s top 100 technologies and products, which highlight feats of engineering, breakthrough software and other acclaim-worthy discoveries from the past year.  BLUE is projected to ship to consumers in the next few years,

Dawn Song named 2019 ACM Fellow

EECS Prof. and alumna Dawn Song (Ph.D. '02, advisor: Doug Tygar) has been  selected as a 2019 Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).    Song was cited "For contributions to security and privacy" and is now part of an elite group that represents less than 1% of the Association’s global membership.  As one of the world’s foremost experts in computer security and trustworthy artificial intelligence, Song founded a startup to build a new platform based on a paradigm in which people control their data and are compensated for its use by corporations. She was named to both the 2019 WIRED25 list of innovators and Inc.com's list of the 100 most innovative businesswomen in 2019.   Fellows will be honored at an awards banquet in June.

Trevor Darrell joins checkout-free company Grabango

EECS Prof. Trevor Darrell has been appointed chief scientist at Grabango, a provider of checkout-free technology for brick-and-mortar stores.  Darrell is an expert in computer vision, machine learning and perception-based human computer interfaces, and leads the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (BAIR).  He helped develop Convolutional Architecture for Fast Feature Embedding (Caffe), a deep-learning framework used by computer vision researchers around the world.  Grabango announced earlier this year that it had signed four separate agreements with multibillion-dollar retail partners, presiding over a combined 29-million square feet of shopping space.

Dawn Song is building a world where data privacy exists online

CS alumna and Prof. Down Song (Ph.D. '02, advisor: Doug Tygar) is the subject of a New York Times article titled "Building a World Where Data Privacy Exists Online."  One of the world’s foremost experts in computer security and trustworthy artificial intelligence, Song founded a startup called Oasis Labs to build a new platform based a paradigm in which people control their data and are compensated for its use by corporations.  She and her colleagues believe that by marrying specialized computer chips and blockchain technology, they can build a system that provides greater scalability and privacy protection.  This year, Song made the Wired25  list top 25 innovators as well as Inc.'s second annual Female Founders 100 list as a "Money Mover."

Dawn Song and Hany Farid make WIRED25 list of innovators for 2019

CS Profs Dawn Song and Hany Farid are among Wired Magazine's list of 25 People Who Are Racing to Save Us (WIRED25 list of innovators for 2019). Song is the co-founder and CEO of Oasis Labs, a startup built around differential privacy—cryptographic techniques that allow companies to incorporate data into their algorithms without seeing the individual data points.   Song believes blockchain technology can help offer a secure home for data that doesn’t require trusting any one company with the keys to it.   Her system would enable you to copy your medical data to a location where researchers who are working to cure diseases could access it without compromising your privacy.  Farid is a pioneer of image science, having been one of the first to develop methods to detect when digital photos have been manipulated. He is now one of the leading authorities on Deepfakes: images, videos, or audio files fabricated or altered by machine learning.  Lately, Deepfakes have been used to mislead and manipulate the public during politicial elections.  “This used to be a boutique little field, but now we’re defending democracy,” says Farid.

Corelight raises $50m for network traffic analysis in the cloud

Corelight, a start-up founded by CS Prof. Vern Paxson, has secured an additional $50 million in Series C financing for its network traffic analysis (NTA) solutions for cybersecurity.  The company has raised a total of $84 million to date, with investment from General Catalyst, Accel, Osage University Partners and Riverbed Technology Co-founder (and former Berkeley CS professor) Steve McCanne. It has more than doubled in size since its Series B in September 2018.  Corelight  is built on an open source framework called Zeek (formerly Bro), which Paxson began developing in 1995.  Zeek is now widely regarded as the gold standard for both network security management (NSM) and NTA, and has been deployed by thousands of organizations around the world.

Anca Dragan to deliver keynote speech at Ada Lovelace Day celebration

EECS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Ada Lovelace Day Celebration of Women in Robotics on Tuesday, October 8, in Sutardja Dai Hall.   The celebration is sponsored by the Women in Tech Initiative (WITI), a joint program of Berkeley Engineering, CITRIS & the Banatao Institute, and CITRIS People & Robotics (CPAR).  It plans to offer "a deep dive into robotic applications for good " and will show participants how "to enter the robotics field with networking, mentoring opportunities, and demos from impressive student groups and supportive community organizations including Women in Robotics/SVR."   Panels will feature leaders from robotics startups, like Tessa Lau (Dusty Robotics), Nicole Kernbaum (Seismic), Jasmine Lawrence (EDEN BodyWorks) and Mai Nguyen (Optoceutics).  Robohub’s selection of the Top 25 Women in Robotics will also be revealed

Feng Zhou helping NetEase find new life beyond games

CS alumnus Feng Zhou (Ph.D. '07, advisor: Eric Brewer) is the subject of a Bloomberg article titled "The U.S.-trained coder is helping NetEase find new life beyond games."  To help the company remain competitive, NetEase Youdao CEO Zhou is creating an all-in-one learning platform to tap the lucrative overlap between education and technology.  Addressing the pressure many Chinese families feel to prepare children for college entrance exams starting as early as Kindergarten, Zhou says courses can be taught through high-speed live-streaming, enabling smooth communication between teacher and student. Artificial intelligence-powered tutors can grade homework and use data to evaluate student test results.  “That’s what we have always been good at,” said Zhou. “Almost every industry in China has been transformed by the internet, but that’s not yet the case for education.”

Yamilée Toussaint Beach wins Educational Innovation Abie Award in Honor of A. Richard Newton

Yamilée Toussaint Beach, founder and CEO of STEM From Dance (SFD), is the third recipient of the Educational Innovation Abie Award in Honor of A. Richard Newton, an award which honors the life and career of a beloved EECS professor and alumnus.  A. Richard Newton (Ph.D. '78, advisor: Donald O. Pederson) led the founding of CITRIS in 1999, and served as EECS chair and Engineering dean before his early death from pancreatic cancer in 2007.  Beach won for her efforts to harness the power of dance to inspire and support young women of color from low-income backgrounds to develop the confidence, skills, and awareness necessary to obtain STEM degrees. She launched SFD in 2012, using seed funding won from Teach For America’s Social Innovation Award. Since then, SFD has partnered with over 25 schools and community centers, serving over 400 girls.