News

Adnan Shihab-Eldin wins Haas International Award

EECS alumnus Adnan Shihab-Eldin (B.S. '65) has won the 2017 Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award, which honors a Berkeley alumnus/a who is a native, citizen, and resident of another country and who has a distinguished record of service to that country in any field.  Shihab-Eldin is "a visionary leader in the field of energy globally, well respected by energy ministries and heads of state throughout the energy-producing world. He is also widely recognized as a pre-eminent world expert on energy technology, economics, and the environment."  His "contributions have not only helped to facilitate and advance Kuwait’s scientific and innovation ecosystem, but has also strengthened solid foundations for research and development in the wider Middle East region. He has used his expertise to further socioeconomic growth in Kuwait and the Arab Region through scientific and economic research, inspiring a culture of development and innovation."

New controller means fancier footwork for Salto-IP

Salto-IP, UC Berkeley's one-legged jumping robot, has been outfitted with an upgraded controller which improves precision on landing.  The robot is featured in a TechXplore article titled "UC Berkeley team gives jumping robot higher goals than bouncy-bouncy."   It describes a paper presented earlier this month at IROS 2018 in Madrid by Prof. Ronald Fearing and graduate researcher Justin Yim titled "Precision Jumping Limits from Flight-phase Control in Salto-1P."  The researchers have come up with a new control algorithm "that can land Salto-1P's foot at particular spots on the ground like jumping on stepping stones or playing one-leg hopscotch."  

Undergraduates working to create smallest maneuverable satellite to fly into space

EECS undergraduates Aviral Pandey (EE lead), Olivia Hsu (board design/firmware), Kevin Zheng (board design/software/radio) and Malhar Patel (external/software), as well as Travis Brashears (Eng. Physics/EECS minor, tech lead) and Daniel Shen (MechE, software/mechanical) comprise  a team of Berkeley seniors who are creating what they hope will be the smallest maneuverable satellite to fly into space. They plan to launch seven of their "SpinorSats," which weigh less than 10 grams each and are about the size of an Apple Watch, with KickSat aboard a CubeSat Deployer.   With an advanced power management system, radio, and maneuverability system, they hope to push what is possible from cellular technology to eventually build connectivity between large networks of satellites.

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.

Celebrating Women in STEM: Video Game Designer Carol Shaw

EECS alumna Carol Shaw (EE B.S. '77/CS M.S. '78), one of the first female industrial video grame designers, is the subject of a University of Missouri, Kansas City News article celebrating women in STEM.   Shaw, who was always drawn to engineering and math, used punch cards and Fortran for her first programming class at Cal.  She became one of the first professional female video game developers when she joined Atari after graduating 1978.  in 1980, Shaw’s “Tic-Tac-Toe” became the first commercially released video game designed by a woman. She developed a scrolling format for her second game, "River Raid," while working at Activision.   It won several awards, including Inforworld’s Best Action Game and Best Atari 8-bit Game of the Year, when it was released in 1982.  Vintage Computing and Gaming magazine said that River Raid is "almost universally regarded as a masterpiece of game design."

Today's Entrepreneur: Allen Tsai

EECS alumnus Allen Tsai (B.S. '00), the founder of startup Pani,  is profiled in the "Today's Entrepreneur" column for startup and investor network, Vator.   Pani is a smart-home company that builds products to help consumers and utilities measure, monitor, and recycle water.  It recently raised $1 million in seed  funding which it will use to "acquire talent and drive product development."   Prior to Pani, Tsai co-founded Azul Mobile and Ekata Systems.  One of the top lessons he learned as an entreprenur is "It is all about the people. Hire people who are smarter than you and empower them to do their best work. If you are the smartest person in the room, there's a problem."

Deborah Estrin receives MacArthur ‘genius’ award

2008 Distinguished CS Alumna Deborah Estrin (B.S. EECS  '80) has been awarded a 2018 'genius' grant from the the MacArthur Foundation.  Winners are chosen for "solving long-standing scientific and mathematical problems, pushing art forms into new and emerging territories, and addressing the urgent needs of under-resourced communities."  Estrin completed her graduate work at MIT before becoming a professor at USC, UCLA, and eventually Cornell Tech in New York, where she is currently Associate Dean.  She designs "open-source platforms that leverage mobile devices and data to address socio-technological challenges such as personal health management."  She was among the first to ascertain the potential of using the digital traces of people's daily lives for participatory mobile health.

Jeffrey Bokor awarded $1M to explore quantum technology

EE Professor Jeffrey Bokor, along with co-PI's in Physics and Chemistry, were awarded a $1 million grant to explore a completely new qubit system composed of graphene nanoribbins (GNR), which have the potential for transformative quantum behavior that has never been tested. The project also has a significant educational component and could result in new quantum scientists being trained in how to combine chemistry, material science, and engineering in new interdisciplinary ways.  "The quantum revolution is about expanding the definition of what’s possible for the technology of tomorrow," said NSF Director France Córdova. “NSF-supported researchers are working to deepen our understanding of quantum mechanics and apply that knowledge to create world-changing applications. These new investments will position the U.S. to be a global leader in quantum research and development and help train the next generation of quantum researchers.”

The grant is a part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) award of $31 million for fundamental quantum research that will enable the United States to lead a newquantum technology revolution. The awards were announced as NSF joins other federal agencies (most notably with the DoE and Berkeley Lab) and private partners at a White House summit on quantum information science on Sept. 24th.

Ruzena Bajcsy celebrated with bobblehead at 2018 Grace Hopper Conference

The life and career of EECS Prof. Ruzena Bajcsy were celebrated with a commemorative bobblehead doll in her image at the 2018 Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in Houston, Texas, last week.  Bajcsy was recognized alongside Engineering and CS legends Grace Hopper, Annie Easley, and Mae Jemison by GHC sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance.  Bajcsy is renowned for her innovations in robotics and computer vision, specifically the development of improved robotic perception and the creation of better methods to analyze medical images.  In addition to founding the General Robotics and Active Sensory Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at UPenn, she headed the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate from 1999–2001, with authority over a $500 million budget.

Lecture series with Turing laureates celebrates Berkeley’s ‘golden age’ of CS research

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of computer science at UC Berkeley and the university’s sesquicentennial, the EECS Department is launching a special series of lectures by winners of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, considered the field’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize.  The Turing laureates all have ties to UC Berkeley either as current or past faculty members or as alumni. They include David Patterson, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of computer science, who, along with former Stanford president John Hennessy, earned a Turing this past March for influential work on computer architecture design. “The 1970s and 1980s represented a golden age of computer science research at Berkeley,” said Patterson. “A remarkable seven research projects that began here went on to earn Turing awards.”

John Ousterhout, professor of computer science at Stanford University, adds: “If you use Turing Awards as the metric, you could make the case that the greatest team of computer researchers ever assembled at one place and time was at UC Berkeley in the 1970s and 1980s.” The lecture series, which is open to the public, will kick off at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, with a talk by Shafi Goldwasser, director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley. Every Wednesday through Nov. 14 will feature a Turing award laureate speaking in Banatao Auditorium in Sutardja Dai Hall.  In addition to their technical talk, the lecturers will reflect on their time at UC Berkeley and look toward the future of research and technological development in their fields. In anticipation of full attendance, these lectures will also stream live on YouTube via CITRIS.