alumni

Arthur Gill has passed away

EECS Prof. Emeritus  and alumnus Arthur Gill (Ph.D. '59, advisor: Aram Thomasian) died on March 21, 2020, at the age of 90.  Gill joined the EECS faculty in 1960, just after earning his doctorate, and was one of the first professors at Berkeley to hold positions in both EE and CS before the formation of the EECS department in 1968.   His research focused on network analysis and synthesis, communication theory, system theory, and computer science.  He was an active member of the Electronics Research Laboratory for the duration of his 30 year career, and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the College of Engineering from 1981 to 1991.  He was the first faculty ‘supervisor’ of the Computer Science Reentry Program, an early, innovative, and successful effort to increase the number of women and minority students studying CS at Berkeley.  Gill is survived by his children, Jonathan and Leori Gill, their children and grandchildren, and his long-time partner in life and travel, Marijke Van Doorn (widow of EECS Prof. Eugene Lawler).

Chenming Hu donates IEEE Medal of Honor winnings to EECS department

EE Prof. and alumnus Chenming Hu (M.S. '70, Ph.D. '73), who won the 2020 IEEE Medal of Honor, has chosen to donate his $50K prize to the EECS department.   Hu, who was cited “for a distinguished career of developing and putting into practice semiconductor models, particularly 3D device structures, that have helped keep Moore’s Law going over many decades," is also the subject of an IEEE Spectrum article.  He was hired on the Berkeley faculty in 1976 and has been called the "Father of the 3D Transistor" due to his development of the Fin Field Effect Transistor in 1999.  Intel, the first company to implement FinFETs in its products, called the invention the most radical shift in semiconductor technology in more than 50 years.

UC Berkeley ranked one of the best colleges for Electrical Engineering in 2020 by Gradreports

UC Berkeley ranked a very close second on Gradreports' list of "25 Best Colleges for Electrical Engineering 2020."  The rankings are based on the median salary of students who graduated with a B.S. in EE one year after college.  Graduates of MIT and Berkeley both earned a median salary of $116,600 but the median debt carried by MIT students was $614 less than that of Berkeley (at $14,347).  By contrast, graduates of third-ranked Carnegie Mellon earned median salaries that were $17,600 less than Berkeley salaries, and carried $9,424 more in debt.  Gradreports' methodology was based on data reported by the US Department of Education in November 2019.

Microrelays: On the path to making bigger quantum computers

Research on Microrelays presented at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) by Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu and alumna/graduate student, Xiaoer Hu (M.S. '18), is highlighted in an IEEE Spectrum article titled "4 Ways to Make Bigger Quantum Computers."  It is difficult to scale quantum computers because quantum-computer processors must operate inside cryogenic enclosures at near absolute zero, but the electronics needed for readout and control don’t work at such temperatures and must reside outside the refrigerator.  King Liu and Hu have developed micrometer-scale electromechanical relays as ultralow-power alternatives to transistors that operate better when cooled to 4 kelvins than at room temperature.  Freezing temperatures solve two of the mechanical problems the devices encounter:  the reaction of ambient oxygen on electrode surfaces, and the way that microscale relays tend to stick together.  “We didn’t suspect ahead of time that these devices would operate so well at cryogenic temperatures,” says King Liu. “In retrospect, we should have.”

EECS 150W: Valerie Taylor, winner of the 2020 EE Distinguished Alumni Award

Valerie Taylor (EECS Ph.D. '91, advisor: David Messerschmitt), one of the winners of the 2020 EE Distinguished Alumni Award to be presented next week, is also the subject of our February EECS 150W profile in honor of Black History Month.  Taylor grew up in a STEM-forward family and attended Purdue before coming to Berkeley for her doctorate.    She had never seen a black woman professor before she began teaching at Northwestern University in 1992.  She is now the Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory (where she is a Distinguished Fellow), and the Executive Director of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT).  Her honors include the CRA A. Nico Habermann Award and the  Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award.

Roger Fujii wins IEEE CS 2020 Richard E. Merwin Award

EECS alumnus Roger U. Fujii (M.S. '68) has won the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE CS) 2020 Richard E. Merwin Award for Distinguished Service.  The Merwin Award is the Computer Society's highest-level volunteer service award, and is presented to "individuals for outstanding volunteer service to the profession at large, including significant service to the IEEE CS."  Fujii was cited "for his sustained and innovative leadership contributions to IEEE Computer Society standards, strategic activities, and financial transformation."  He is currently  the president of Fujii Systems, Inc., a provider of services in the development of large, trusted systems, and the Vice President-Elect of IEEE CS Technical Activities.  He is also an IEEE volunteer who has served in many capacities for over 30 years.

EECS kicks off Berkeley 150W with ten "first" women

In celebration of the anniversary of 150 Years of Women at Berkeley (150W) in 2020, the EECS department will profile a number of remarkable women who have studied or worked here.  This month, Berkeley EECS is highlighting ten trailblazing women who were the first to reach important milestones over the past 50 years.  Learn how professors Susan Graham, Avideh Zakhor, Shafi Goldwasser and Tsu-Jae King Liu, and alumnae Kawthar Zaki, Carol Shaw, Paula Hawthorn, Barbara Simons, Deborah Estrin, and Susan Eggers, broke through glass ceilings on campus, in their fields, in industry, and in the world.

Warren Hoburg graduates from NASA's Artemis astronaut training program

EECS alumnus Warren “Woody” Hoburg (M.S. '11/Ph.D. '13, advisor: Pieter Abbeel) will be among the first candidates to graduate under NASA's Artemis astronaut basic training program on Friday, Jan. 10, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Starting next week, Hoburg will be eligible for spaceflight assignments to the International Space Station, missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.  He earned a B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) from MIT before attending Berkeley, and returned to MIT as an assistant professor in AeroAstro after graduation.  Hoburg is also a commercial pilot who served on the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit and Yosemite Search and Rescue.

Kirk Tramble, one of three generations of Cal Bears

Alumnus Kirk Tramble (B.S. EECS 1993) is both the son and father of proud UC Berkeley alumni.  His father, Thomas, earned a B.A. in Sociology/African American Studies in 1971, and his son, Gabriel, graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies in 2018.  The family is profiled in a Cal Alumni article which compares their experiences as Black students at Cal during three different eras.  Kirk arrived on campus at a time when academic support for students of color was at an all-time high, and watched as everything changed after the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996, when the percentage of black students dropped from 8% to 2%.  “The response [to Prop 209] was to ultimately shut down many of the programs that were the highest serving programs for African Americans on campus,” he said.  He and his father now administer a scholarship offered by the African American Initiative to encourage and support Black students at Cal.

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.