education

Berkeley is #1 university open source contributor

UC Berkeley is the top ranked university in the third annual Octoverse Report list of "Open source contributions made by employees of different organizations," with 2700 contributions.  Berkeley is the fourth ranked organization overall--after Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat.  The Octoverse Report is a roundup of GitHub data across global repositories from the last 12 months.  Four other universities made the top ten:  the University of Washington  (6th place with 1800 contributions), MIT (8th place with 1700), UMich and Stanford (tied 9th with 1600 contributions each) .  

Randy Katz reflects on Berkeley's Nobelists

EE Prof. Randy Katz, the current U.C. Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research, reflects on how the use-inspired research of Berkeley Nobel Prize winners exemplifies the importance of that approach to scientific inquiry.   He illustrates the strength of use-inspired research by comparing it to basic (curiosity-driven) and applied (goal-driven) research, defining it as the "search for fundamental knowledge" with selected "questions and methods based on their relevance to real-world issues."  "One of our great aims is to bring together a broad set of the world’s brightest minds to work on the pressing problems of the day," he says.

Turnitin Acquires Gradescope

Turnitin, a leading provider of academic integrity and writing solutions, has acquired Gradescope, a class grading platform co-founded by CS Prof. Pieter Abbeel and alumni Arjun Singh (B.S. EECS '10/Ph.D. CS '16), Sergey Karayev (CS Ph.D. '15), and Ibrahim Awwal (EECS B.S. '12/M.S. '15).   The platform reduces the time associated with grading in college courses via an optimized online workflow and clever application of artificial intelligence. Developed at Cal when the alumni were teaching assistants, Gradescope is now used in most CS, Math, and Chemistry classes at Berkeley, and has quickly been adopted at many top higher-ed institutions, including half of all Ivy League schools, as well as at over twenty-five leading R1 universities. “Bringing Gradescope into the Turnitin family allows us to realize our mission across more subjects, with more instructors and students than ever before. Gradescope represents Turnitin’s first formal foray into STEM education, an area of increasing importance, that must also be held to high standards of academic integrity," said Turnitin CEO Chris Caren.

UC Berkeley named #2 Blockchain University by CoinDesk

UC Berkeley is ranked #2 on CoinDesk's list of Top 10 Blockchain Universities.  Berkeley boasts "one of the most vibrant on-campus communities in the country. The student organization Blockchain@Berkeley both educates and builds products, performing paid consulting work for major companies like Airbus and Qualcomm. Berkeley's law and business schools also boast their own blockchain related clubs."   Berkeley also offers interdisciplinary courses like "Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law," which is taught by faculty from different disciplines.  CoinDesk says this course"further cements Berkeley’s reputation as a leading educator." As the only public university on the list, Berkeley "demonstrates that universities can stay at forefront of emerging technologies without charging sky-high tuitions." 

Elizaveta Tremsina places first in Tapia 2018 poster session

Undergraduate Elizaveta Tremsina, a member of the EECS Honors Program who is triple-majoring in CS, Physics and Applied Math, took first place in the Microsoft-sponsored student research poster competition at the 2018 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.  Her project, titled "Your Story Recorded in a Magnet: Micromagnetic Simulations of Spin-Orbit Torque in Multi-layer Structures," was overseen by Prof. Sayeef Salahuddin.  She was part of one of the largest delegations of EECS students, staff, and faculty ever to participate in the Tapia conference,  known as the premier venue to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in computing.   This year's conference, which was held last week in Orlando, Florida, promoted the theme "Diversity: Roots of Innovation."

Gary May claims another rare engineering distinction

EECS alumnus Gary May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), currently serving as the Chancellor of UC Davis, is one of the subjects of a Philadelphia Tribune article titled "ACROSS AMERICA: Three African-Americans Claim Rare Engineering Accomplishment."   May, along with two other African-Americans, was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) class of 2018.  NAE membership counts among the highest professional distinctions in engineering.  May was inducted "for contributions to semiconductor manufacturing research and for innovations in educational programs for underrepresented groups in engineering." “We need more diversity in engineering so that we solve problems that take into account all experiences and perspectives," he said. "I encourage young people who are interested in engineering to seek mentors who can help them get on a path that works for them."

College of Engineering reports 7% increase in female students admitted for 2018-19

UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering has seen a 7 percent increase in the number of female students admitted for the 2018–19 academic year, according to the college’s admissions statistics.  Multiple strategies have been implemented in recent years to increase the number of female engineering students: reaching out to middle school students, making work more relevant to societal needs, offering hands-on experience, and building community.  Female engineering students have faced difficulty entering the male-dominated college.  In 2017, women constituted 25 percent of freshmen and 19 percent of transfers, this year, women made up 32 percent of incoming freshmen and 26 percent of transfers.

Valerie Taylor Named CEO and President of CMD-IT

EE alumna Valerie Taylor (M.S. '86/Ph.D. '91) has been promoted to the position of CEO and President of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT).  CMD-IT is a national center comprised of corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits, that is focused on engaging under-represented groups in computing and information technologies. Taylor is currently the Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory and a Senior Scientist in the Center for Research Collaborations at the University of Chicago.  "Valerie has provided exceptional leadership of CMD-IT since its founding.  Her dedication has enabled CMD-IT to expand its impact on diversity in academia, industry and government as well as assist with the success of many individuals," said Stuart Feldman, Board Chair, CMD-IT. 

Panamanian Hackers Unite!

The inaugural edition of PanamaHackea, an educational hackathon for the peoples of Panama, will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2018, in Torre de Las Américas, Panama City.  This event is the brainchild of 6 students from 4 schools, including Berkeley CS junior Rafael Félix, who hope to inspire and empower "a new generation of Panamanian designers, entrepreneurs, and engineers" by making new technologies more available and accessible to everyone.  In the months leading up to the event, they will create and share tutorials, workshops, tools and resources covering topics from the basics of programming to the latest in Machine Learning.  Participants will enjoy space, food, comaraderie, challenges, and prizes, in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Nancy Amato is first woman to lead UI computer science department

CS alumna Nancy Amato (M.S. '88, advisor: Manuel Blum) has been chosen to lead the highly ranked University of Illinois Department of Computer Science — the first woman to hold that position.  She will oversee a fast-growing department that has 80 faculty members and more than 2,400 students, plus 700 online, and is ranked fifth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.  As a professor at Texas A&M, Amato's research focused on motion planning in robotics, parallel algorithms and bio-informatics.  She led an influential group within the Computing Research Association (CRA) to bring more women into the field and runs an undergraduate summer research program that matches students from underrepresented groups with faculty members. She received the CRA Habermann Award in 2014 for her efforts to involve more women and underrepresented minorities in computing research.