honors

Honors, awards, grants, and other indications of respect.

Andreea Bobu named 2021 Apple Scholar in AI/ML

EECS graduate student Andreea Bobu (advisor: Anca Dragan) has been named a 2021 Apple Scholar in AI and Machine Learning (AI/ML).  The scholarship was created by Apple to "celebrate the contributions of students pursuing cutting-edge fundamental and applied machine learning research worldwide."  Bobu's research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning, robotics, and human-robot interaction, with a focus in robot learning with uncertainty. She is particularly interested in the ways in which autonomous systems’ models of the world and of other agents (e.g. humans) can go wrong, and is devising ways to enhance interaction between people and robots.  She earned her BS in Computer Science and Engineering at MIT in 2017, where she worked on probabilistic models for medical image analysis.  She is currently associated with the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) lab.

Wenshuo Guo wins 2021 Google PhD Fellowship

EECS graduate student Wenshuo Guo (advisor: Michael I. Jordan) has won a 2021 Google PhD Fellowship in Algorithms, Optimization and Markets.  This award acknowledges and supports exemplary PhD students in computer science and related fields who are making contributions to their areas of specialty.   Guo studies robustness guarantees in algorithms and machine learning foundations, as well as their impact on society.  She is also interested in the intersection of CS and economics, and is currently focused on mechanism design, causal inference, and statistical questions in reinforcement learning. The award, which will cover full tuition, fees, and a stipend for the 2021-22 school year, will be presented at the Global Fellowship Summit over the summer.
 

Joe Hellerstein named Datanami 2021 Person to Watch

CS Prof. Joseph Hellerstein has been named a Datanami 2021 Person to Watch.  Hellerstein is the chief strategy officer and one of the co-founders  a Trifacta, a company which markets data preparation and interaction technology based on Data Wrangler, a data transformation and discovery tool he developed in the RISELab at Berkeley with some colleagues from Stanford.  He is the subject of a Datanami article in which he discusses the state of data science education, the next wave of data, and the secrets of his success.

Maryann Simmons and Hayley Iben win Academy Awards

CS alumnae Maryann Simmons (B.A. / M.S./ Ph.D. '01, advisor: Carlo Séquin) and Hayley Iben (M.S. '05/Ph.D. '07, advisor: James O'Brien) have won 2020 Technical Achievement Awards (SciTech Oscars) from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for hair simulation systems.

Simmons is now a senior staff software engineer and the technical lead for Hair & Cloth at Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS).  She was part of the team responsible for the WDAS Hair Simulation System, which the citation describes as "a robust, predictable, fast and highly art-directable system built on the mathematics of discrete elastic rods. This has provided Disney artists the flexibility to manipulate hair in hyper-realistic ways to create the strong silhouettes required for character animation and has enabled a wide range of complex hairstyles in animated feature films." According to The Hollywood Reporter, the WDAS System was "used in animated features such as Tangled, to manage Rapunzel’s ultra-long waves."  While at Berkeley, Simmons was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Golden Key Honor Society.

Iben, who is now the director of engineering at Pixar Animation Studios, was part of the team responsible for the Taz Hair Simulation System.  The citation describes Taz as "a robust, predictable and efficient mass-spring hair simulation system with novel formulations of hair shape, bending springs and hair-to-hair collisions. It has enabled Pixar artists to bring to life animated digital characters with a wide variety of stylized hair, from straight to wavy to curly."  While at Berkeley, Iben was president of Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (WiCSE) from 2004-2007, and a member CSGSA.

Alvin Cheung and Jonathan Ragan-Kelley win 2020 Intel Outstanding Researcher Award

EECS Assistant Profs. Alvin Cheung and Jonathan Ragan-Kelley are among 18 winners of Intel's 2020 Outstanding Research Awards (ORA). These awards recognize exceptional contributions made through Intel university-sponsored research.  Cheung and Ragan-Kelley are developing ARION, a system for compiling programs onto heterogeneous platforms. The team will use verified lifting, which rewrites legacy code into a clean specification, stripping away optimizations that target legacy architectures. This spec, written in a DSL, can then be compiled to new platforms, sometimes with orders of magnitude of speedup in resulting code performance.

Anca Dragan wins 2021 IEEE RAS Early Career Award

Anca Dragan has won the 2021 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award - Academic "For pioneering algorithmic human-robot interaction."  This award is bestowed on current members of IEEE who are in the early stage of their career, and who have made an identifiable contribution or contributions which have had a major impact on the robotics and/or automation fields.  Dragan runs the InterACT lab and is the principal investigator for the Center for Human-Compatible AI.  Her research explores ways to enable robots to work with, around and in support of people, autonomously generating behavior in a way that formally accounts for their interactions with humans.

Groundbreaking EECS alumnae honored during Black History Month

Three amazing EECS alumnae are featured on the Berkeley 150W website in celebration of Black History Month:  Arlene Cole-Rhodes (Ph.D. '89, advisor: Shankar Sastry), the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Berkeley; Melody Ivory (M.S. '96/Ph.D. '01, advisor: Marti Hearst), the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in Computer Science from Berkeley; and Valerie Taylor (Ph.D. '92, advisor: David Messerschmitt), the first Black Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University.

Cole-Rhodes was born in Sierra Leone and moved to England to earn her B.S. in Applied Mathematics at the University of Warwick, and an M.S. in Control Engineering from Cambridge.  She is currently a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the associate dean of Graduate Studies and Research in the School of Engineering, at Morgan State University, an Historically Black University in Maryland. 

Ivory earned her B.S. in Computer Science from Purdue, where she was an inaugural Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar.  After Berkeley, she earned an M.B.A. in Operations and Marketing from The Wharton School and spent a number of years as a product manager at GE and Google. She is currently a founder and Technologist at Thrivafy, a professional development platform focusing on Black, Indigenous, and Latinx women in tech.   She is a keynote speaker at the 2021 Women in Tech Symposium, which will be hosted by CITRIS at UC Berkeley in March.

Taylor also earned her B.S. at Purdue, in CEE, followed by an M.S in EE.  As a graduate student at Berkeley, she co-founded the Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley (SUPERB).  She became a professor at Northwestern before joining Texas A&M in 2003, and is currently the director of the MCS Division of Argonne National Laboratory.  She was named Berkeley EE Distinguished Alumna in 2020.

Sheila Humphreys, who authored these profiles, will be publishing an essay on “Early Scholars of Color at Berkeley” later this year.

Laura Waller named AIMBE Fellow

EE Prof. Laura Waller has been elected a Fellow of The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).  AIMBE Fellows represent the top 2 percent of the most accomplished academic, industrial, clinical and governmental leaders in the fields of medical and biological engineering in the country.  Waller was cited “for pioneering contributions to computational microscopy methods enabling fast, high-content and 3D phase microscopy of biological samples or neural activity.”  AIMBE's mission is to recognize excellence in, and advocate for, the fields of medical and biological engineering in order to advance society.

Rikky Muller wins 2021 IEEE SSCS New Frontier Award

EE Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has won the 2021 the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (SCSS) New Frontier Award. This award recognizes and honors SSCS members in their early career who are exploring innovative and visionary technical work within the field of solid-state circuits. The award aims to emphasize pioneering developments that are at the frontiers of IC design or possess an imminent potential to expand the field through new categories of circuit technologies, system design, and/or emerging applications.  Muller is designing and building a high-speed holographic projector that can stream 3D light into the brain at neural speeds, many times faster than current projectors, and so manipulate and test thousands of optogenetically-controlled neurons with pinpoint accuracy.

Alessandro Chiesa named 2021 Sloan Research Fellow

EECS Assistant Prof. Alessandro Chiesa has been selected as a 2021 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Computer Science.  Awarded annually since 1955, the Sloan fellowships honor "the most promising scientific researchers working today...extraordinary U.S. and Canadian researchers whose creativity, innovation, and research accomplishments make them stand out as the next generation of scientific leaders."  Chiesa conducts research in the areas of complexity theory, cryptography, and security, focusing on the theoretical foundations and practical implementations of zero knowledge proofs that are short and easy to verify. He is an author of libsnark, a C++ library for zkSNARKs, which is the leading open-source library for succinct zero knowledge proofs. He is also a co-inventor of Zerocash, a new protocol that provides a privacy-preserving version of a cryptocurrency, and a co-founder of Zcash, a digital currency with strong privacy features.  Sloan Fellows receive $75,000, which may be spent over a two-year term on any expense supportive of their research.