News

The Berkeley Campus is Open

Visit the UC Berkeley COVID-19 resources website for the latest testing and access information.  Cory and Soda Halls are open but we will likely have limited in-person/on-site staffing during the first two weeks of the Spring 2022 semester.  Although most classes will be conducted remotely during this time, we anticipate in-person instruction to resume on January 31st.

Deanna Gelosi wins Best Full Paper Award at ACM IDC 2021

"PlushPal: Storytelling with Interactive Plush Toys and Machine Learning," co-authored by CS Masters student Deanna Gelosi (advisor: Dan Garcia), has won the Best Full Paper Award at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Interaction Design for Children (IDC) conference 2021.  IDC is "the premier international conference for researchers, educators and practitioners to share the latest research findings, innovative methodologies and new technologies in the areas of inclusive child-centered design, learning and interaction."  The paper, which was presented in the "Physical Computing for Learning" conference session, describes PlushPal, "a web-based design tool for children to make plush toys interactive with machine learning (ML). With PlushPal, children attach micro:bit hardware to stuffed animals, design custom gestures for their toy, and build gesture-recognition ML models to trigger their own sounds."  It creates "a novel design space for children to express their ideas using gesture, as well as a description of observed debugging practices, building on efforts to support children using ML to enhance creative play."  Gelosi's degree will be in the field of Human-Computer Interaction and New Media, and her research interests include creativity support tools, traditional craft and computing technologies, digital fabrication, and equity in STEAM.  She is a member of the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), the Berkeley Institute of Design (BID), and the Tinkering Studio--an R&D lab in the San Francisco Exploratorium.

Ken and Blooma Goldberg show you "How to Train Your Robot"

A 15-minute video version of the children's book "How to Train Your Robot," written by CS Prof. Ken Goldberg and his daughter, Blooma, has been released by the CITRIS Banatao Institute.  Aimed  at children ages six to eleven, it tells the story of a group of 4th graders who decide to build a robot to clean their workshop.  Designed to inspire girls and members of other under-represented groups to explore engineering, robotics, and coding for themselves, it's the perfect introduction for kids who are curious about robots and want to know more about how they work.    The video utilizes animatics with story narration, and is subtitled in English, Spanish, Japanese, Hindi, and simplified Chinese.   Co-written by Ashley Chase and illustrated by Dave Clegg, the book was published with support from the NSF and the the Lawrence Hall of Science in 2019.

Hopper-Dean awards EECS department $2M for diversity initiatives

The Hopper-Dean Foundation has awarded the EECS department $2 million over two years to support diversity initiatives in computer science.  The gift follows the success of a $1M grant awarded by Hopper-Dean in 2016 to include and support more CS students from underrepresented groups at Berkeley.   The grant will fund initiatives targeting high school students (Beauty & Joy of Computing), community college students (Transfer-To-Excellence), 1st and 2nd year undergraduates (CS Kickstart, CS Scholars, CS Mentors), 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates (Teaching at Scale), and 1st year graduates (EECS Graduate Fellows).  These initiatives have shown real results.  In just the past two years, the number of women who graduated in CS and EECS majors increased by 47%, and the number of underrepresented minority students increased by 43%.  Over the past eight years, the number of women enrolled in the EECS graduate program has more than doubled and minority graduate students increased by more than 50%.

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.

Avideh Zakhor: the brains behind Google Earth and Street View

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.

Ana Claudia Arias and Rikky Muller

Ana Arias and Rikky Muller selected as NAE Gilbreth Lecturers

Associate Professor Ana Claudia Arias and Assistant Professor Rikky Muller have been selected as Gilbreth Lecturers at the upcoming National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) National Meeting on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Encouraging an interest in engineering careers among middle and high school students is a high priority for the president of NAE so the meeting audience typically includes 100-200 students from local schools.

Tsu-Jae King Liu appeals to Silicon Valley to collaborate to increase the number of women in computer technology

EECS Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu and Belle Wei (Chair of Engineering Education and Innovative Learning at San Jose State) penned an article for the Mercury News titled "Closing tech workforce gap calls for interdisciplinary model."   In it, they argue that there is a desperate need to increase the future number of computer scientists in the US workforce and this need can be met by women if Silicon Valley companies increase their efforts to collaborate with university educators. "Our educators are up to the task. What they need is incentive and support, along with resources to help them transcend outdated disciplinary divides...We need leaders across a broad spectrum of industry to identify the knowledge and skill sets that new employees will need to succeed."

Sheila Humphreys receives Presidential Award

Dr. Sheila Humphreys, EECS Director Emerita of Diversity, has been named recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). This award recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next generation of innovators and developing a science and engineering workforce that reflects the diverse talent of America. Sheila is being recognized for her work which "improved the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented groups in UC Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences" and will receive her award at a White House ceremony later this year. One of Sheila's former mentees, EECS alumnus Gary May (now Dean of the College of Engineering at GeorgiaTech) also has been named among the individuals who are receiving this award, for increasing the participation of minorities in science and engineering.