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.


Prabal Dutta wins 2022 ACM SenSys Test of Time Award

EECS Associate Prof. Prabal Dutta has won the 2022 ACM SenSys Test of Time Award. The paper by Dutta, Dawson-Haggerty (Ph.D. ‘14), Chen, Liang, and Terzis titled, “Design and Evaluation of a Versatile and Efficient Receiver-Initiated Link Layer for Low-Power Wireless,”  was recognized “for pioneering the use of synchronous transmissions in low-power protocols by exploiting their benefits at the MAC layer and pushing the limits of radio operation.” Established in 2014, the “ToTA” recognizes papers that are at least 10 years old and have demonstrated long-lasting impact on network embedded sensing system science and engineering. “It's a real testament that so much of the field traces its roots to Berkeley,” said Dutta.

Berkeley EECS mourns the loss of Dave Hodges

EECS Prof. Emeritus and alumnus David A. Hodges (M.S. 1961; Ph.D. 1966) passed away on November 13th. He was 85. A former engineering dean and EECS department chair, Prof. Hodges began his career at Bell Telephone Laboratories before joining the EECS faculty in 1970 where his pioneering contributions to the design of integrated circuit (IC) chips and use of silicon-based metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) technology challenged the conventional wisdom of the era. His landmark research led to the rapid development of devices, technologies, and standards that not only were instrumental to the growth of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley but continue to have a tremendous impact today. After 28 years of active service wherein he supervised 27 completed doctoral dissertations, 91 completed master's degrees, co-authored 3 books, 130 technical publications, and 6 patents, Prof. Hodges remained a stalwart of the department, mentoring and championing new faculty and shaping the department culture for decades to come. Prof. Hodges was a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the NAE. He won the IEEE Education Medal (1997), the Berkeley Citation (1998), and was inducted into the Silicon Valley Hall of Fame (2013). A tremendous teacher, collaborator, colleague, and mentor, Prof. Hodges will be dearly missed.


Constance Chang-Hasnain wins 2022 Welker Award

EE alumna and EECS Prof. Emerita Constance Chang-Hasnain (Ph.D. '87) has won the 2022 Welker Award at Compound Semiconductor Week (CSW). She was cited “For pioneering contributions to VCSEL photonics, nano-photonics and high contrast metastructures for optical communications and optical sensing.” Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, or VCSELs, are used in many consumer electronics, including 3D smartphone sensors and cars. Established in 1976 in honor of Heinrich Welker, the pioneer of III-V compound semiconductors, the Welker Award is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to the field of III-V compound semiconductors. Prof. Chang-Hasnain currently serves as Chairperson and founder of Berxel Photonics Co. Ltd. She is an NAI Fellow, an IEEE Fellow, and an NAE member. In 2021, she was elected president of Optica (formerly known as the Optical Society of America). 

EECS alumnus Gary May, Chancellor of U.C. Davis

Gary May and Sheila Humphreys interviewed for Inside Higher Ed

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, is the focus of an Inside Higher Ed story highlighting the unique bond between three Black Berkeley Engineering alumni in the 1980s, all of whom have gone on to lead top research institutions. Reggie DesRoches has become the president of Rice University, and Darryll Pines is the president of the University of Maryland, College Park. The three met at Berkeley where they studied different fields of engineering. The article describes the unique landscape of diversity in the era before Proposition 209, and interviewed EECS staff emerita, Sheila Humphreys for the story, who was then the EECS director of diversity, as well as Dean Liu who said this past academic year (2021-22) “is the first year that we ended up with a higher percentage [of undergraduate underrepresented minorities] then even before Prop 209.” In fostering the minority engineering programs (MEP) of the 1980s, Sheila attributes the "unwavering administrative support" of the late Dean Pister, and a "comprehensive, whole-student approach."

Leslie Field wins 2022 Mark Shannon Grand Challenges Award

EECS alumna Leslie Field (M.S. '88/Ph.D. 91, advisor: Richard White), the first woman to earn a doctorate from the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC), has won the 2022 Mark Shannon Grand Challenges Award.  This award recognizes "long-term contributions of members of our technical community with a vision to address humanity's pressing issues."  Field is the Founder and CEO of Bright Ice Initiative, Inc., an environmental nonprofit which aims to address the urgent need for terrestrial glacial ice preservation.  During her career, she has developed new formulations for unleaded gasoline, new silicon-glass bonding processes, and pioneered surface micromachining and microfluidic systems.  She also contributed to the development of microwave and optical cross-point switches. She turned her attention to climate change in 2006 and founded Ice911 Research (later renamed AIP) two years later.   Field received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT prior to enrolling at Berkeley.  She is the founder and a managing member of SmallTech Consulting, LLC, where she leads a diverse collaborative team working on MEMS and nanotechnology-based challenges.  She also serves as an Adjunct Lecturer and Consulting Professor Stanford University.

Dave Smith, synthesizer and MIDI developer, dies at 72

Groundbreaking synthesizer designer and EECS alumnus Dave Smith (B.S. 1971),  died on May 31st at the age of 72.  As an undergraduate, Smith wrote a program to compose music as a class project.  "The computers were huge," he said. "You wrote programs on punched cards, and you had to turn them into the computer center and wait a few hours to get it back to see if it compiled or not. It was a slow process." He had to print out his scores on a plotter.  "I remember my senior year, one of my professors predicted that one day that the power of one of these [room-sized] computers would only cost $1000, and of course, everybody’s like, 'No, no way, it couldn’t be.'"  After graduation, Smith took a job developing microprocessors at Lockheed Martin and, in his spare time, built an analog sequencer for a Minimoog synthesizer, allowing it to play more than one note at a time. He founded the company Sequential Circuits in 1974 and introduced the first polyphonic and programmable synthesizer four years later, the Prophet-5.  Because it used microprocessors to control its functions, it could store settings in memory, play harmonies by generating five notes at once, and was portable.  It generated what is called "the signature sound of the 1980s" and shaped the music of bands like of Pink Floyd, Parliament, Genesis, Hall & Oates, Michael Jackson, the Cars, Madonna, the Talking Heads, and the Cure.  Smith co-developed the Universal Synthesizer Interface (USI) in 1981 which, for the first time, allowed musicians to communicate digitally with multiple instruments through a single interface.  He convinced four Japanese companies to cooperate on a shared standard, which became MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) 1.0 in 1982.  “We made it low-cost so that it was easy for companies to integrate into their products. It was given away license-free because we wanted everyone to use it.”  In 1997, as president of Seer Systems, Smith introduced the first professional software synthesizer, a Windows program called "Reality."  Over the decades, instruments designed by Smith were embraced by groups like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Dr. Dre, and Arcade Fire.  MIDI 1.0 has remained ubiquitous for forty years.

Pravin Varaiya has died

EECS Prof. Emeritus and alumnus Pravin Varaiya (Ph.D. 1966, advisor: Lotfi Zadeh) passed away on June 10th from injuries sustained when a truck hit him as he was walking in his neighborhood on April 1.  He was 81 years old.  A Professor in the Graduate School at the time of his death, he was known for his pioneering work in sensing and controls in intelligent transportation systems, and is credited with spearheading the self-driving car revolution in the 1990s.  Pravin Pratap Varaiya was born in India in 1940 and received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Bombay in 1960.  He moved to Berkeley to attend graduate school and married Ruth Kosh, a fellow social activist, in 1963. In addition to teaching EE, he was a Professor of Economics from 1975 to 1992.  As the visionary director of the California Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) project at Berkeley from 1994 to 1997, he led the construction of the National Automated Highway System (NAHSC) and the development of the first generation of modern self-driving cars.  These were the first autonomous vehicles tested live on California freeways.  His group also built the PeMS system, which revolutionized sensor networks for transportation, and which remains the largest sensor network for highways in the US.  PeMS enabled the California Department of Transportation and dozens of other agencies to finally see, measure, and assess traffic congestion in real-time.  He won the the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal (2022),  AACC O. Hugo Schuck Award (2020), IEEE ITS Lifetime Achievement Award (2018), IEEE Outstanding Research Award (2009), Bellman Control Heritage Award (2008), IEEE CSS Hendrik W. Bode Lecture Prize (2005), IEEE Control Systems Award (2002), and was a fellow of the IEEE and IFAC, and a member of both the AAAS and the NAE.  Varaiya was known for his calm and gentle demeanor, and his passionate and elegant approach to algorithms, control problems, games and strategies. He will be deeply missed.

Noam Nisan, Kimberly Keeton, Bruce Hajek and Nickhil Jakatdar named 2022 Berkeley EECS Distinguished Alumni

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 EECS Distinguished Alumni Awards!  The CS winners are Noam Nisan (academia) and Kimberly Keeton (industry); and the EE winners are Bruce Hajek (academia) and Nickhil Jakatdar (industry). Noam Nisan (Ph.D. 1988, advisor: Richard Karp), currently a CS professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was cited "For fundamental contributions to computational complexity theory and the creation of the field of algorithmic mechanism design;" Kimberly Keeton (M.S. 1994/Ph.D. 1999, adviser: David Patterson), currently a principal engineer at Google, was cited "For leadership in the research and the production of computer data and storage systems, and for mentoring the next generation of computer scientists and engineers;"  Bruce Hajek (Ph.D. 1979, advisor: Eugene Wong), currently an ECE professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was cited "For his prodigious and fundamental research contributions to stochastic processes, information theory, and communications and computer networks; for his sustained and worldwide influence as a beloved teacher and mentor; and for his major leadership role in electrical and computer engineering;" and Nickhil Jakatdar (Ph.D. 2000, advisor: Costas Spanos), currently the CEO of GenePath Diagnostics, was cited for "For serial entrepreneurship and visionary leadership across several sectors, with profound impact to the microelectronics industry and to the developing world." Their awards will be presented at the 2022 Berkeley EECS Annual Research Symposium (BEARS) on April 25th.

‘Off label’ use of imaging databases could lead to bias in AI algorithms, study finds

A paper with lead author EECS postdoc Efrat Shimron and co-authors EECS graduate student Ke Wang, UT Austin professor Jonathan Tamir (EECS PhD ’18), and EECS Prof. Michael Lustig shows that algorithms trained using "off-label" or misapplied massive, open-source datasets are subject to integrity-compromising biases.  The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), highlight some of the problems that can arise when data published for one task are used to train algorithms for a different one.  For example, medical imaging studies which use preprocessed images may result in skewed findings that cannot be replicated by others working with the raw data.  The researchers coined the term “implicit data crimes” to describe research results that are biased because algorithms are developed using faulty methodology. “It’s an easy mistake to make because data processing pipelines are applied by the data curators before the data is stored online, and these pipelines are not always described. So, it’s not always clear which images are processed, and which are raw,” said Shimron. “That leads to a problematic mix-and-match approach when developing AI algorithms.”

3 UC Presidents and Gary S. May

UC Davis Chancellor and EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos) took the stage with UC President Michael V. Drake and Presidents Emeriti Janet S. Napolitano and Mark G. Yudof  for the UCD Chancellor's Colloquium on March 8th.  The four discussed the challenges they faced and lessons learned during their tenures in office.  Topics included the impact of the pandemic on campus communities, the importance of public health, and the efficacy of remote learning; the university's federal lawsuit over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; approaches to managing UC funding cuts, including maintaining access to retirement plans and student aid;  and America's cultural and democratic future, including ways that universities might help shape it.