EECS Announcements

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Updated: 2 weeks 3 days ago

Two sophomores are using AI to fight fake news on Facebook

May 23, 2017 - 08:53

EECS sophomore Rohan Phadte and Interdisciplinary Studies major Ash Bhat have built a Messenger bot called NewsBot to help users discern whether articles are "fake news" on Facebook. Besides determining the validity of an article, it also offers a barometer that shows where an article might fit on the left-right bias spectrum, and is one of the only tools of its kind.  The idea for the algorithm first came to them during machine-learning classes.  Although it still has some bugs, they are making updates every day and the tool will improve as more users provide feedback.   "We want people to read more than just the headline. We want them to understand what the news they see says and who it's coming from." Bhat says.  Read the article on Mic.

Stuart Russell TED talk: 3 principles for creating safer AI

May 22, 2017 - 11:54

CS Prof. Stuart Russell gave an engaging TED talk in April describing some of the problems in, and possible solutions for, creating a species that is smarter than humans.  He argues that building provably altruistic,  humble, and humanitarian machines might help us avoid some of the pitfalls inevitable in a future with superintelligent AI.

Two EECS alums on panel discussing challenges of female innovators

May 22, 2017 - 11:04

2017 EE Distinguished Alumnus Anantha Chandrakasan (B.S. '89/M.S. 90/Ph.D. 94) and EECS alumna Gitanjali Swamy (Ph.D. '97) are both participating in a TiE-Boston and  IIT AGNE panel discussion on the "unique strengths of and challenges for female innovators and the ecosystem that supports them."  Anantha is the Vannevar Bush Professor of EECS at MIT and the recipient of the IEEE Donald O. Pederson Award in Solid-State Circuits.  Gitanjali is a managing partner at IoTask, an “Innovation of Things” (IoT) company, and founder/advisory board member of the U.C. Berkeley Women in Technology Center.  The panel will be hosted at MIT on May 24, 2017.

Avideh Zakhor: the brains behind Google Earth and Street View

May 22, 2017 - 10:36

Computer vision pioneer Prof. Avideh Zakhor is the subject of a Mercury News profile titled "Avideh Zakhor: the brains behind Google Earth and Street View,"  which touches on her emigration from Iran,  the creation of the 3-D city modeling technology for a Defense Department-funded start-up which she ultimately sold to Google, and her current research on indoor mapping.  She also discusses the value of encouraging skilled immigrant workers to come to the U.S and the importance of getting more women into STEM fields.  "Maybe then we wouldn’t in Silicon Valley have a shortage of STEM workers — it makes it very hard for tech companies to operate; the labor market is very tight." she says.

Paper co-authored by Richard Karp receives 2017 RECOMB Test of Time Award

May 11, 2017 - 09:28

Prof. Richard Karp and coauthors Jacob Scott, Trey Ideker and Roded Sharan have received the 2017 RECOMB (International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology) Test of Time Award for their paper "Efficient Algorithms for Detecting Signaling Pathways in Protein Interaction Networks". Prof. Karp also won awards at RECOMB 14 and RECOMB 16.

David Patterson is leading one of Google's most crucial projects

May 10, 2017 - 16:54

Prof. Emeritus David Patterson is profiled in a CNBC article which describes how he postponed retirement to conduct research at Google into the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), an ambitious new chip that's designed to run at least 10 times faster than today's processors and is sophisticated enough to handle the intensive computations required for artificial intelligence.  Without it, it is estimated that Google would have to double its data centers to support even a limited amount of voice processing.  Prof. Patterson described his work on the TPU when he returned to Berkeley as a Colloquium speaker on May 3rd.

Rikky Muller awarded the 2017 Keysight Early Career Professor Award

May 9, 2017 - 11:03

Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller has been awarded the 2017 Keysight Early Career Professor Award. The Keysight Early Career Professor Award is established to recognize and encourage excellent research enabling design, test or measurement of electronic systems. The program seeks to establish strong collaborative relationships between Keysight researchers and leading professors early in their careers and to highlight Keysight's role as a sponsor of university research. Prof. Muller's expertise is in the research and commercialization of implantable medical devices and in developing microelectronic and integrated systems for neurological applications. She is also the Co-founder of Cortera Neurotechnologies, Inc. a medical device company founded in 2013 that is commercializing a neural implant device and has released a family of products for the animal neuroscience research market. At Cortera, she held positions as CEO and CTO.

Sam Kumar is 2017 University Medal runner up

May 9, 2017 - 10:06

EECS major Sam Kumar is a runner up for the 2017 University Medal.  Candidates for the University Medal must have overcome significant challenges, made a difference in the lives of others and carry a GPA of 3.96 or higher.  Sam is involved in research related to software-defined buildings, has spent each semester volunteering time as a tutor, allowing him to give back to a community that he said has been instrumental to his time as a student. One of his favorite memories from Cal involves a class in Sanskrit.  "Before we got to the literature, we had to learn the basics. We started were reading simple passages and doing vocabulary exercises to get the basics, but eventually I was able to read authentic texts from thousands of years ago. Being able to read an ancient language – after only two semesters of studying – was a breathtaking moment for me.”    Sam will receive a $500 award as a tribute to his academic efforts and, after graduation, he plans to work on a Ph.D. in computer science.

Jan Rabaey and Pieter Abbeel named in the top 5 of the 2017 top 50 tech pioneers by the Belgian financial times

May 8, 2017 - 09:44

Professors Jan Rabaey and Pieter Abbeel were named in the top 5 of the 2017 top 50 pioneers by the “De Tijd” (translation buttons provided above the article), the Belgian equivalent of the Financial Times. Prof. Rabaey is currently the scientific co-director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC) as well as the director of the FCRP Multiscale Systems Research Center (MuSyC), and is involved with the Donald O. Pederson Center for Design Automation (DOP)SWARM Lab,  CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR)TerraSwarm Research Center, and the  Center for Neural Engineering & Prostheses (CNEP). His research interests include ultra-low energy wireless exploring the boundaries of ultra-low energy design and the design of microscopic systems, including all components from energy sources, conversion and storage, interfaces, digital and mixed signal. Prof. Abbeel is currently a member of the steering committee of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Center (BAIR) and is involved with the Center for Human Compatible Artificial Intelligence (CHCAI)Berkeley Vision and Learning Center (BVLC)Center for Automation and Learning for Medical Robotics (Cal-MR) and CITRIS People and Robots (CPAR). His current research area is primarily studying deep learning for robotics, where learning could be from demonstrations (apprenticeship learning) or through the robot's own trial and error (reinforcement learning). Targeted application domains include autonomous manipulation, flight, locomotion and driving.

Jitendra Malik recipient of the ACM and AAAI Allen Newell Award

May 3, 2017 - 10:58

Prof. Jitendra Malik has been named recipient of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Allen Newell Award. The Allen Newell award is presented to an individual for career contributions that have breadth within computer science, or that bridge computer science and other disciplines. Prof. Malik's research has addressed several important problems in computer vision: how to characterize contours in images, how to segment images, and how to represent shape for feature matching.  He also was a leader in evaluation methods through the creation of the Berkeley segmentation dataset, using human segmentations to evaluate the correctness of the algorithmic segmentations.  He pioneered the use of normalized cuts, anisotropic diffusion, high dynamic range imaging, shape context and the use of graph theory for low-level to mid-level computer vision problems.  In computer graphics, his research showed how digital photographs and user-guided photogrammetry can be used to synthesize highly photorealistic computer-generated architectural scenes.  He also has made important contributions to computational models of human texture perception including segmentation, shape from texture, and intrinsic image computation.

Sanjay Mehrotra is Micron's new President and CEO

May 2, 2017 - 09:08

Alumnus Sanjay Mehrotra (EECS B.S. '78/M.S. '80) has been named Micron's new President and CEO.  Mehrotra co-founded SanDisk in 1988 and led the company through several strategic acquisitions (including SMART Storage Systems, Fusion-io, Schooner, and FlashSoft, that helped transform the company from a component supplier into a systems provider) until WD purchased it for $19 billion in early 2015.  He  joined WD's board after the acquisition to help lead the integration of the two companies until he stepped down in February 2017.   He holds 70 patents in non-volatile memory design and flash memory systems.

Berkeley CS faculty among the most influential in their fields

April 27, 2017 - 10:52

U.C. Berkeley has the top ten most AMiner Most Influential Scholar Award winners across all fields of computer science in 2016 and the top five most award winners in the fields of Computer Vision, Database, Machine Learning, Multimedia, Security, Computer Networking, and System.  The 28 CS faculty members included in the rankings were among the 100 most-cited authors in 12 of the 15 research areas evaluated. Two were among the 100 most-cited authors in 3 different areas each: Scott Shenker ranked #1 in Computer Networking, #51 in System, and #99 in Theory; and Trevor Darrell ranked #8 in Mulitmedia, #18 in Computer Vision, and #100 in Machine Learning.  Out of the 700,000 researchers indexed, only 16 appeared on three or more area top 100 lists.  See a more detailed breakdown of our influential faculty scholars.

Harry Huskey is dead at age 101

April 21, 2017 - 12:47

Computer pioneer Harry Huskey, who designed the G15--which might be called the first "personal computer"--at Berkeley in 1954, has died.  He taught and conducted research into computer language in the EE department from 1954 to 1967, when he left to found and direct the computer center at U.C. Santa Cruz.  Starting in the 1940s, he worked on the Eniac (the country’s first general-purpose programmable electronic computer), the Automatic Computing Engine, and the SWAC, before designing the G-15.  It was manufactured and sold by Bendix Aviation Corporation as the first computer designed to be used by a single person without the intervention of other operators.  At 950 lbs and the size of a refrigerator, it was much smaller than the other room-sized computers at the time, and cost just under $50,000 (or could be rented for about $1,500 a month),  a fraction of the millions of dollars that other systems cost.  At 101 years old, he was one of the last surviving scientists in the vanguard of the computer revolution.

Alyosha Efros has won the 2016 ACM Prize in Computing

April 19, 2017 - 10:45

Professor Alexei (Alyosha) Efros has won the 2016 Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Prize in Computing, formerly known as the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award. This award recognizes early-to-mid-career contributions that have fundamental impact and broad implications. Prof. Efros was cited for groundbreaking data-driven approaches to computer graphics and computer vision and is a pioneer in combining the power of huge image datasets drawn from the Internet with machine learning algorithms to foster powerful image transformations and valuable research findings. He has also made fundamental contributions in texture synthesis, a technique that ushered in new horizons in computer graphics and is widely used in the film industry. ACM Prize recipients are invited to participate in the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, an annual networking event that brings together young researchers from around the world with recipients of the ACM A.M. Turing Award (computer science), the Abel Prize (mathematics), the Fields Medal (mathematics), and the Nevanlinna Prize (mathematics).

Tomás Vega Gálvez and Corten Singer chosen Lemelson-MIT “Drive it!” Undergraduate Team Winners

April 19, 2017 - 10:15

CS undergraduates Tomás Vega Gálvez and Corten Singer have been chosen the $10,000 Lemelson-MIT “Drive it!” Undergraduate Team Winner for an open-source smart add-on system for wheelchairs. Vega and Singer created WheelSense, a modular, customizable add-on system for wheelchairs that provides spatial awareness for visually impaired users to identify obstacles and ease their navigation. It has three features: frontal staircase detection through auditory feedback, backward obstacle-avoidance assistance through auditory feedback, and lateral ramp-edge detection through haptic feedback. They hope to disrupt the expensive market for assistive technologies for the disabled community by making their technology open source.  The “Drive it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize rewards students working on technology-based inventions that can improve transportation.

Certificate in Design Innovation is launched

April 14, 2017 - 16:38

A new certificate program, the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation (BCDI),  is the result of a cross-disciplinary, cross-departmental partnership between the College of Environmental Design, the College of Engineering, the Haas School of Business and the College of Letters and Science’s Arts and Humanities Division.  It offers all undergraduates at Cal an opportunity to foster a critical mindset, collaboratively define problems, and develop the technical proficiency to innovate broadly outside of their major.  CS Associate Professor and BCDI advisor Eric Paulos says “I can’t wait to see what this cross pollination of design methods, materials, tools and most of all people will bring to not just UC Berkeley but to our communities – from the local to the global.”  BCDI will be hosting an open house event on Friday, April 21 at noon at Jacobs Hall for prospective students to learn more about the Certificate, meet faculty members involved, and hear from guest speakers and UC Berkeley alumni.