News

Campus Shutdown Notice

In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we have decided to close our administrative offices starting Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice.  Cory and Soda Hall are closed.  Classes are being held remotely.  All events in Cory and Soda Halls will either be cancelled or held remotely, and staff will be working remotely during this time.

Dawn Tilbury and Feng Zhou to present keynotes at BCS 2020

EECS alumni Dawn Tilbury (EE PhD '94, advisor: Shankar Sastry) and Feng Zhou (CS PhD '07, advisor: Eric Brewer) have been selected to present keynote addresses at the Berkeley China Summit (BCS) 2020 conference, which will be held virtually on September 18-19th.  BCS is  a full-day conference that aims to connect China’s businesses and investors with the technology, engineering, and business innovation expertise on the UC Berkeley campus and across the Bay Area.  This year's theme is "Redefine & Reconnect: Technology Empowering the World," which will a focus on the impact business, technology and culture have on "innovation in the Enterprise Service, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare and Senior Care sectors."  Tilbury is currently the head of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate of Engineering.  Zhou founded Youdao, Inc. (NYSE: DAO.US), a Chinese company that provides "learning services and products" for online courses, NetEase Cloud Classroom, and Chinese University MOOC, in addition to online marketing services.

Paper by Peter Mattis to be presented at ACM SIGMOD conference

A paper co-written by EECS alumnus Peter Mattis (B.S. '97) is being presented at the 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) International Conference on Management of Data this month.  The paper, titled "CockroachDB: The Resilient Geo-Distributed SQL Database," describes a cloud-native, distributed SQL database called CockroachDB, that is designed to store copies of data in multiple locations in order to deliver speedy access.  The database is being developed at Cockroach Labs, a company co-founded in 2015 by a team of former Google employees that included Mattis, who is also the current CTO, and fellow-alumnus Spencer Kimball (CS B.A. '97), currently the company CEO.  Cockroach Labs employs a number of Cal alumni including Ceilia La (CS B.A. '00) and Yahor Yuzefovich (CS B.A. '18).

Students create online "Coronavirus Tracker" to keep average Americans informed

CS major Jason (XiangJun) Li and a few friends have developed a website designed to provide clear, reliable, up-to-date numbers and trends on the COVID-19 outbreak "for average Americans," particularly those on mobile phones.  LiveCoronaUpdates.org, which was launched last Tuesday, uses data released by the World Health Organization and official government websites, and provides "the simplest and most intuitive dashboard for people to quickly understand the trends and assess risks."  The site includes domestic and global numbers of patients confirmed/recovered/dead, simple graphics and tables, a headline feed, and text alerts using data that is updated every 3 hours.

Covariant-enabled robots go live

Pieter Abbeel, the co-founder, president and chief scientist of the start-up Covariant, is featured in a number of articles appearing in major publications this week.  The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, the Verge, the MIT Technology Review, and the IEEE Spectrum all feature articles about robots trained using Covariant's AI technologies that will be deployed  to perform complex tasks in live warehouse environments in the next few years.  Covariant uses deep reinforcement learning techniques to train robots to distinguish between materials that are particularly difficult to discern through a lens, like highly reflective metallic surfaces, transparent plastics, and easily deformable surfaces like cloth and polypropylene, with an unparalleled 99% accuracy.

Robot BLUE named one of 100 greatest innovations of 2019

An affordable, human-friendly robot developed by EECS Prof. Pieter Abbeel and Project Blue is among Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New” innovations for 2019.  BLUE (Berkeley robot for Learning in Unstructured Environments) uses artificial intelligence and deep reinforcement learning algorithms to adapt to and operate safely in unpredictable settings, including the common household.  The list is  Popular Science's ranking of the year’s top 100 technologies and products, which highlight feats of engineering, breakthrough software and other acclaim-worthy discoveries from the past year.  BLUE is projected to ship to consumers in the next few years,

Trevor Darrell joins checkout-free company Grabango

EECS Prof. Trevor Darrell has been appointed chief scientist at Grabango, a provider of checkout-free technology for brick-and-mortar stores.  Darrell is an expert in computer vision, machine learning and perception-based human computer interfaces, and leads the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (BAIR).  He helped develop Convolutional Architecture for Fast Feature Embedding (Caffe), a deep-learning framework used by computer vision researchers around the world.  Grabango announced earlier this year that it had signed four separate agreements with multibillion-dollar retail partners, presiding over a combined 29-million square feet of shopping space.

Anca Dragan to deliver keynote speech at Ada Lovelace Day celebration

EECS Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Ada Lovelace Day Celebration of Women in Robotics on Tuesday, October 8, in Sutardja Dai Hall.   The celebration is sponsored by the Women in Tech Initiative (WITI), a joint program of Berkeley Engineering, CITRIS & the Banatao Institute, and CITRIS People & Robotics (CPAR).  It plans to offer "a deep dive into robotic applications for good " and will show participants how "to enter the robotics field with networking, mentoring opportunities, and demos from impressive student groups and supportive community organizations including Women in Robotics/SVR."   Panels will feature leaders from robotics startups, like Tessa Lau (Dusty Robotics), Nicole Kernbaum (Seismic), Jasmine Lawrence (EDEN BodyWorks) and Mai Nguyen (Optoceutics).  Robohub’s selection of the Top 25 Women in Robotics will also be revealed

Yamilée Toussaint Beach wins Educational Innovation Abie Award in Honor of A. Richard Newton

Yamilée Toussaint Beach, founder and CEO of STEM From Dance (SFD), is the third recipient of the Educational Innovation Abie Award in Honor of A. Richard Newton, an award which honors the life and career of a beloved EECS professor and alumnus.  A. Richard Newton (Ph.D. '78, advisor: Donald O. Pederson) led the founding of CITRIS in 1999, and served as EECS chair and Engineering dean before his early death from pancreatic cancer in 2007.  Beach won for her efforts to harness the power of dance to inspire and support young women of color from low-income backgrounds to develop the confidence, skills, and awareness necessary to obtain STEM degrees. She launched SFD in 2012, using seed funding won from Teach For America’s Social Innovation Award. Since then, SFD has partnered with over 25 schools and community centers, serving over 400 girls.

Leslie Field addresses UN on climate Ice911 Research

EE alumna Leslie Field (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Richard White) gave an insightful and inspirational presentation on Ice911 Research at the inaugural Global Climate Restoration Forum held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York yesterday.  Field is the Founder and CEO of Ice911 Research, a non-profit focused on developing a technique to preserve and rebuild polar and glacial ice and polar habitat using a localized and ecologically respectful material, like floating sand, to reflect sunlight and stave off one of the effects of global warming.

Richard Din innovates unique course to help students connect more deeply with entrepreneurs

EECS alumnus Richard Din (B.S. EECS/B.A. Econ '08),  the co-founder of revolutionary food-delivery app Caviar, has imagined and helped to create a small, select, new course being offerred fall semester through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET).  The course, which cannot be documented or attended by visitors, will host diverse and unique speakers from the tech industry who will share personal stories about their startups, including sensitive details about “co-founder fights, investor drama, and running out of money.”  “When it’s off the record," said Din, "then you can be more candid about finer details and tell more interesting stories.” Students interested in taking the course must be nominated by a professor. Professors can send nominations to Jennifer Nice at jennifernice@berkeley.edu.