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.

Lucas Spangher brings musicians together for Ukraine benefit concert

CS graduate student Lucas Spangher (advisor: Costas Spanos) gathered musicians from all over the Bay Area to perform a benefit concert in support of Ukraine on March 13th.  Opera and gospel singers, violists, pianists and harpists, were among the more than one dozen volunteers to participate in the Benefit Concert for Humanitarian Aid for Ukraine at Herbst Hall in San Francisco.  Spangher, who plays the cello, reached out to other local musicians on social media to ask if anyone would be interested in participating in an informal, online musical performance in honor of Ukraine, and it expanded from there. “It turned into this amazing professional operation,” said Spangher, “which I think just speaks to the energy and communal desire to do something. This is more than just a fundraiser. It’s a political statement and a way to honor Ukraine’s amazing contributions to classical music that can’t be erased by a vicious autocrat.”  Spangher is a committed climate change activist whose research focuses on how to make artificial intelligence become more flexible for a transition to green energy.  All proceeds from the performance have been donated to Nova Ukraine.

Steven Conolly awarded 2022 Bakar Prize

EECS and Bioengineering Prof. Steven Conolly has been awarded the 2022 U.C. Berkeley Bakar Prize.  This prize is given annually to former Bakar Program Fellows whose technological innovations promise to deliver solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.  Funds are provided to help new technologies transition from an academic setting to industrial applications.  The objective of Conolly's project, titled Rapid in vivo optimization of solid tumor CAR-T cell therapies using advanced magnetic particle imaging (MPI),  is to determine whether a particular CAR-T cell cancer immunotherapy is working in hours rather than months.  CAR-T cells are tagged with safe magnetic nanoparticles before a treatment is administered so that oncologists can view how well they are targeting cancer cells using high resolution imaging technology.

Colin Parris elected to the NAE

EE alumnus Colin Parris (M.S. '87, Ph.D. '94, advisor: Domenico Ferrari) has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).  After a career at IBM Systems & Technology and General Electric (GE) Research, Parris is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at GE.  He is known for his life-long commitment to "the development and enhancement of STEM programs across minority communities," and serves as a board member of the Annual Multicultural Business Youth Educational Services Embarkment (Ambyese), which prepares multicultural secondary school students for the challenges of pursuing careers in the corporate sector through self-esteem-building and exposure to successful role models in industry.  While a student Berkeley, Parris helped start the Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley (SUPERB) and was deeply involved with the group Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students (BGESS).  At GE, Parris, whose expertise spans engineering, software, and AI-driven analytics, leads teams that leverage digital technologies in the energy industry and other industrial environments.  He created and leads the Digital Twin Initiative company-wide and is currently working to "accelerate business impact and transformation by combining lean principles with digital solutions."

Black Women Matter: Arlene Cole Rhodes, Valerie Taylor and Melody Ivory

Three EECS alumnae are featured in a 150W Black Women Matter web page recognizing the legacies of Black women at Cal as part of the 2022 Black History Month celebrations.  The web page, which was put together by EECS Emerita Director of Diversity Sheila Humphreys, highlights 31 Cal pioneers whose lives spanned the past 120 years.  The EECS Department is represented by: Arlene Cole Rhodes (Ph.D. '89, advisor: S. Shankar Sastry), the first Black woman to earn an EE doctorate from Berkeley; 2020 EE Distinguished Alumna Valerie Taylor (M.S. '86 / Ph.D. '91, advisor: David G. Messerschmitt ), the first Black chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University; and Melody Ivory (M.S. '96/Ph.D. '01, advisor: Marti Hearst), the first Black woman to earn a CS doctorate in from Berkeley.

EECS Black History Month: Lee Julian Purnell (EE M.S. 1929)

Lee Julian Purnell is the first Black student who is known to have graduated from the EECS department. He was born in Washington, D.C. in 1896, graduated from Berkeley High in 1915, was a superb track athlete, and earned a B.A. from Cal in 1919.  He got his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at MIT in 1921, where he and another student were said to be the first pair of Black students to graduate from MIT in the same class together.  He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Berkeley in 1929, and eventually settled into a career at Howard University, where he served as the Dean of Engineering for 20 years.  Learn more about Lee Purnell in the EECS Newsletter.

Pilawa Research Group paper wins 1st place 2020 PELS Transactions Prize Paper Award

Researchers from the Pilawa Research Group, including EECS alumnus Nathan Pallo (Ph.D. '21), EECS Associate Prof.  Robert Pilawa-Podgurski, and former postdoc Tomas Modeer, have won one of four 1st place 2020 IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) Transactions Prize Paper Awards.   Their paper, which was co-authored by Pilawa-Podgurski's UIUC graduate students, Tom Foulkes and Chris Barth,  is titled "Design of a GaN-Based Interleaved Nine-Level Flying Capacitor Multilevel Inverter for Electric Aircraft Applications." This award is considered the top publication award in the field of power electronics, and is known for it's rigorous evaluation process, which recognizes "originality; contribution to the field; extent to which the paper is supported by analysis and experimental evidence; and quality of presentation, including the effective use of illustrations."  The winners of the 2020 award were selected from a pool of 1,148 papers.

Sergey Levine, Nilah Ioannidis, and Dorsa Sadigh awarded 2022 Okawa Research Grants

EECS Associate Prof. Sergey Levine, Assistant Prof. Nilah Ioannidis, and alumna Dorsa Sadigh have won 2022 Okawa Research Grants.  These grants recognize "studies and analyses in the fields of information and telecommunications." Levine is doing research on "Offline Reinforcement Learning: Robust and Reliable Decisions from Data," Ioannidis is working on "Genome-Scale Learning of Molecular Phenotypes for Personal Genome Interpretation," and Sadigh, who is now an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, is studying "Adaptive Human-Robot Interaction."  They comprise three of the seven U.S. recipients who were awarded $10K grants this year.

professor edward lee

Ed Lee wins 2022 EDAA Lifetime Achievement Award

EECS alumnus, Professor in the Graduates School,  and EE Prof. Emeritus Edward A. Lee (Ph.D. 1986, advisor: David Messerschmitt) has won the 2022 European Design and Automation Association (EDAA) Achievement Award.  This award recognizes individuals who have "made outstanding contributions to the state of the art in electronic design, automation and testing of electronic systems" over the course of their lifetimes, and whose innovative contributions have "had an impact on the way electronic systems are being designed."  Lee is known for his advocacy of deterministic models for the engineering of cyber-physical systems.  He led the Ptolemy Project, which developed Ptolemy II, an influential open-source model-based design and simulation tool which was used as the basis for the Kepler scientific workflow system.  He is a principal investigator for the Berkeley Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems Research Center (iCyPhy), which conducts "pre-competitive research on architectures and design, modeling, and analysis techniques for cyber-physical systems, with emphasis on industrial applications."  Lee has also written several books, including textbooks on embedded systems and digital communications, as well as books for general audiences that explore the relationship between technology and people.

Ruzena Bajcsy and Eric Brewer named 2021 AAAS Fellows

EECS Prof. Emeriti Ruzena Bajcsy and Eric Brewer have been named 2021 Honorary Fellows of  the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the scientific community’s highest honors.  Bajcsy, who was elected in the Engineering category, is known for her pioneering and multidisciplinary contributions to machine perception, robotics and artificial intelligence. Her work in the area of active perception revolutionized the field of robotic sensing and vision, as well as the area of elastic matching, which has advanced the field of medical imaging.  Brewer, who is currently the vice-president of infrastructure at Google, was elected in the Information, Computing and Communication category. He is known for his design and development of highly scalable internet services, and innovations in bringing information technology to developing regions.

2022 Diversity in Tech Symposium: Advancing Climate Resilience - March 10-11th

A number of EECS faculty and students are slated to participate in the 2022 Diversity in Tech Symposium, which will be held virtually on March 10 & 11.  This year's theme is "Advancing Climate Resilience."  EECS Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu, dean of Berkeley Engineering, will warm up the audience with a fireside chat on the symposium's topic;  EECS Prof. Costas Spanos, director of the CITRIS and Banatao Institute, will welcome participants to the second day of the event;  Adjunct Prof. Sascha von Meier will participate in the UC Berkeley-hosted panel Getting to zero: Trends in the built environment; and senior EECS major Katherine Shu will represent WiCSE in a presentation on the Career Fair.  The symposium is open to the public and anyone interested in climate innovation and action, and the advancement of women and underrepresented communities working in technology fields, is encouraged to attend.