alumni

Diane Greene shares insight at Dreamforce conference

CS alumna Diane Greene (M.S. '88) sat down with Ginni Rometty and Marc Benioff at the Dreamforce conference last week to talk about women leaders in tech.  Greene, who is currently the CEO of Google Cloud, started out designing offshore oil structures and systems before becoming a software engineer.  She founded several successful companies, most notably VMware, which created the market for virtualization.  She and Rometty, who is the CEO of IBM, stand among the ranks of the tech giants of industry--almost all of whom are men.   They discussed their careers, leadership philosophies, and how they approach their responsibilites as women in power.

Wu-Fu Chen elected to Crown Bioscience Board of Directors

CS alumnus Wu-Fu Chen (Ph.D. '77) has been elected to the Board of Directors of Crown Bioscience Inc., a global drug discovery and development company.  Chen is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Acorn Campus Ventures and Partner Emeritus at Mobility Ventures LLC.  He started more than a dozen companies, including Cascade Communications (IPO in Nasdaq, $10B) and Xinwei Telecom (IPO in China, near $30B).  Forbes Magazine ranked Chen as one of the Top 100 Venture Investors in the U.S. and he was recognized by Red Herring magazine as one of the “Top Ten Entrepreneurs of 2000”.   He has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and was once called the “Most Influential Person” in optical networking by Light Reading magazine.

Chancellor Gary May (Jesse Steshenko / Aggie)

Gary May confirmed as UC Davis chancellor

The Investiture of EECS alumnus Gary May (M.S. ’88 and Ph.D. ’92) as the seventh chancellor of UC Davis took place on Oct. 27 in the Mondavi Center, the first event in UC Davis’ annual Homecoming weekend.  May was presented with the Chancellor’s Medal by UC President Janet Napolitano, officially inaugurating him into his new position.  One of May's plans will be to develop Aggie Square — a technology and innovation hub in Sacramento.  “With diversity comes a wider and more interesting range of experiences, ideas, opinions and perceptions,” he said. “The greater the mix, the more likely we will make discoveries and solve problems — the hallmark of academic excellence.”

David Sontag named to GNS Healthcare Strategic Advisory Board

CS alumnus David Sontag (B.A. '05), now an assistant professor of EECS at MIT, has been appointed to the Strategic Advisory Board of GNS Healthcare, one of the world's leading precision medicine companies.  Sontag is also the Hermann L.F. von Helmholtz Career Development Professor in the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), and principal investigator in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT.  "GNS Healthcare's approach is at the forefront of machine learning, working to truly unlock the full potential of patient data to determine the best available therapy and treatment options. I look forward to working closely with the GNS team and the Strategic Advisory Board," said Sontag.

Illustration by John Cuneo for The Atlantic

Barbara Simon's fight for paper ballots

CS alumna Barbara Simons (Ph.D. '81) is the subject of an article in The Atlantic titled "The Computer Scientist Who Prefers Paper," which explores her conviction that there is only one safe voting technology: paper ballots.  Simons, a pioneer at IBM Research, spent years trying to warn the public of problems with electronic voting systems--which she claimed were shoddy and hackable  She remained resolute, despite heavy criticism and a great deal of political pressure, until Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election became public and perceptions about her changed.  “Many of the leading opponents of paperless voting machines were, and still are, computer scientists, because we understand the vulnerability of voting equipment in a way most election officials don’t," she said. "The problem with cybersecurity is that you have to protect against everything, but your opponent only has to find one vulnerability.”

Jinwen Xiao and the culture of Silicon Labs

EE alumna Jinwen Xiao (Ph.D. '03), now a senior director of engineering at Silicon Laboratories in Austin, Texas, is featured in a My Statesman article titled "Silicon Labs focuses on ‘mature, respectful’ workplace environment."  A computer chip design company, Silicon Labs ranks No. 1 among large employers in the American-Statesman’s 2017 Top Workplaces of Greater Austin project.  Xiao, who was born in China, now heads the 'Internet of Things' product development team of more than 40 people who come from 11 different countries.  The company places a priority on the intellectual development of its employees, providing a mentorship program and encouraging professional expansion.  It also actively fosters a culture of international inclusion and cooperation,  providing support and legal services for employees affected by the Muslim travel ban. "That is part of why this is a great place to work," Xiao says. "The company takes care of its people.”

Pramod Subramanyan and Rohit Sinha

"A Formal Foundation for Secure Remote Execution of Enclaves" wins Best Paper Award at ACM CCS 2017

A paper co-authored by postdoc Pramod Subramanyan, grad student Rohit Sinha, alumnus Ilia Lebedev (B.S. '10), alumnus and MIT Prof. Srinivas Devadas (M.S. '86/Ph.D. '88), and EECS Prof. Sanjit A. Seshia has won Best Paper Award at the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS).  The paper, A Formal Foundation for Secure Remote Execution of Enclaves, introduces a formal modeling and verification methodology for secure remote execution based on the notion of a trusted abstract platform.  CCS is the flagship annual conference of the Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control (SIGSAC) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Sam Wood (left)

Sam Wood, Jim Welsh and the birth of KALX radio

Two EECS alumni were instrumental in the creation and establishment of KALX radio on campus in the 1960s.  Jim Welsh (B.S.’67), along with geology major Marshall Reed, started what was then known as Radio Kal in the basement of the Unit 2 dorm with a disposable collection of records, a couple mics, a cheap recorder and the semblance of a mixing board built into an old cigar box.  Sam Wood (B.S.’68) helped run midnight reconnaissance missions to salvage resistors, capacitors, tubes and transformers from various departments on campus, for use in constructing consoles, transmitters and other radio equipment.   “The rule was, the university wouldn’t let you do anything, but after 10 or 11 at night, everybody went home,” Wood says. “If wires somehow got into conduits, then nobody cared how they got there.”  The adventure is detailed in an article titled Berkeley sounds: The early days of KALX.

EECS Accel Scholars

Amit Kumar and Accel launch Accel Scholars EECS mentorship program

EECS alumnus Amit Kumar (B.S. '03) and the venture firm Accel are launching a mentorship program called Accel Scholars to support EECS undergraduates.  Accel will work with a select group of students over the course of a year, hosting networking dinners and also guaranteeing the students an internship at a portfolio company.  Kumar initiated the program because he felt there wasn’t enough career guidance for students at Berkeley and that venture firms that ignore the ecosystem are missing out.  Chair James Demmel says EECS is grateful for the opportunity to “partner with Accel and its network to provide a fast-track for an exceptionally talented and diverse cohort of undergraduates, who will benefit from mentorship by Accel but also by and from one another.”

Eric Schmidt to keynote HIMSS18

EECS alumnus Eric Schmidt (M.S. '79/Ph.D. '82) will deliver the opening keynote address at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference in March 2018.  Schmidt worked at Bell Labs and Xerox PARC before becoming president of Sun in the 1980s.  Over the next two decades, Schmidt  becamed the CEO of Novel and co-founded Google.  He is currently the Executive Chairman of Alphabet.  His keynote, titled "Technology for a healthier future: Modernization, machine learning and moonshots," will discuss how technological advancements such as cloud computing and machine learning are transforming healthcare.