BEARS 2022: EECS Distinguished Alumni

2022 Distinguished Alumni (l to r): Nickhil Jakatdar, Bruce Hajek, Noam NIsan (on video screen in back), and Kimberly Keeton, with EECS Chair Claire Tomlin

Computer Science

Noam Nisan

Professor of Computer Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Ph.D. 1988 (advisor: Richard Karp)

For fundamental contributions to computational complexity theory and the creation of the field of algorithmic mechanism design.

Noam Nisan is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a member of the board of directors of the National Library of Israel and chairs its subcommittee on digital strategy. He has previously served as Dean of the School of Computer Science and Engineering of the Hebrew University and as a senior researcher in Microsoft and in Google. He is known for his work in communication complexity, pseudorandom number generators, interactive proofs, and algorithmic game theory, and is credited with coining the phrase "algorithmic mechanism design."  Nisan has published several books and over one hundred research papers on computational complexity and on Economics and Computation. Among his awards are the Gödel Prize, the Knuth Award, the EATCS prize, and the Rothschild Prize.

Kimberly Keeton

Principal Engineer, Google
M.S. 1994/Ph.D. 1999 (adviser: David Patterson)

For leadership in the research and the production of computer data and storage systems, and for mentoring the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.

Kimberly Keeton earned a BS in Computer Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy before coming to Berkeley. She joined Hewlett Packard labs, where her research investigated how to make storage and information management systems more manageable, dependable, and easier to use, and how these systems can exploit emerging technologies to improve functionality, performance, and cost. Her work was among the first to automate the design of these large-scale storage systems to meet performance and dependability goals (e.g., minimizing recovery time and data loss). More recently, she investigated the use of novel memory technologies, including persistent memory and memory disaggregation.  In the fall of 2021, Keeton joined the SystemsResearch@ Google group, working to invent and incubate new technologies to support Google's hardware and software infrastructure. Her work has led to over 60 publications in refereed journals and conferences and 26 granted US patents, garnered multiple awards, and contributed to multiple products. She has served as Technical Program Committee (PC) Chair for multiple top-tier research conferences on computer systems and storage, including USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI), ACM European Systems Conference (EuroSys), ACM SIGMETRICS, USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST), and IEEE/IFIP Dependable Systems and Networks Performance and Dependability Symposium (DSN/PDS). She acts as an industrial advisor to university research groups at UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, and ETH-Zurich. She is a Fellow of the ACM and the IEEE. In her spare time, she sings with the Grammy-nominated chorus, Pacific Edge Voices.

Electrical Engineering

Bruce Hajek

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ph.D. 1979 (advisor: Eugene Wong)

For his prodigious and fundamental research contributions to stochastic processes, information theory, and communications and computer networks; for his sustained and worldwide influence as a beloved teacher and mentor; and for his major leadership role in electrical and computer engineering.

Bruce Hajek received his B.S. in Mathematics and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois before coming to Berkeley. During his Ph.D. study he minored in mathematics and neuroscience. He worked in the area of stochastic processes--in particular multiple paramter martingales and Markov processes--under the direction of Prof. Eugene Wong. He also maintained an interest in information theory. Following graduation from Berkeley, he returned to the University of Illinois where he joined the tenure track in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  Around that time he turned to problems in communication networks, including multiple access, dynamic routing, and flow control. He supervised the Ph.D. research of Rene L. Cruz, who introduced a delay calculus in his dissertation. He also contributed to the theory of stochastic methods of global optimization, and in particular simulated annealing. His research interests include communication networks, auction theory, stochastic analysis, combinatorial optimization, machine learning, information theory, and bioinformatics.  He served as Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, and as President of the IEEE Information Theory Society. He received the Aaron D. Wyner Distinguished Service Award of the IEEE Information Theory Society, the IEEE Kobayashi Award for Computer Communication, and the ACM SIGMETRICS Achievement Award. He was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in 1999 for contributions to stochastic systems, communications, and control.

Nickhil Jakatdar

CEO, GenePath Diagnostics
Ph.D. 2000 (advisor: Costas Spanos)

For serial entrepreneurship and visionary leadership across several sectors, with profound impact to the microelectronics industry and to the developing world.

Nickhil Jakatdar earned his B.E. in Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune, India, before coming to Berkeley. He translated his thesis, which focused on the topic of deep sub-micron photolithography control through in-line metrology, into start-up Timbre Technologies and was granted 40 patents for the work done there.  This technology is still being used 20 years later by almost every major semiconductor manufacturer for the real-time measurement of the critical dimensions of their advanced chips. In 2004, he took over as President of MIT-based startup Praesagus, and in 2008, he co-founded and was CEO of Vuclip, a direct-to-consumer mobile video service for emerging markets that enables video to work on 2G and 3G mobile networks, and which can be used in advanced analytics to determine consumer interest by geography and demographics. Vuclip was later acquired by PCCW in Hong Kong and rebranded as Viu.  In 2019, Jakatdar became CEO of GenePath Diagnostics, a company looking to democratize healthcare by making the most advanced molecular diagnostics tests for oncology, infectious diseases, and genetic disorders accessible to everyone. GenePath is one of the only companies in the world whose PCR test kits are being used by CLIA labs in the US as well as labs in India, Africa, Europe and South-East Asia. The company has recently released its diagnostic test kits for transplant surgeries as well as the various blood cancers.  He is the founding member of the Bhau Institute of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership in Pune, India, with the goal of fostering an environment and ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship. He has been an investor and advisor to more than 40 start-ups over the years and is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from College of Engineering, Pune.