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EECS professors lead team for new $4.6 M NSF project VeHICaL

Profs. Sanjit Seshia, Ruzena Bajcsy, Shankar Sastry, Björn Hartmann, Claire Tomlin and Tom Griffiths are the principal investigators of a new large National Science Foundation project that will tackle the problem of designing “human Cyber-Physical Systems (h-CPS)”, cyber-physical systems that work in concert with humans. The research outcome of the project, called Verified Human Interfaces, Control, and Learning for Semi-Autonomous Systems, or VeHICaL, will have applications in emerging technologies such as semi-autonomous cars and autonomous aerial vehicles (drones). NSF has awarded $4.6M for this project.

Tsu-Jae King Liu appointed Vice Provost for Academic and Space Planning

Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu has been appointed the new Vice Provost for Academic and Space Planning (VPASP) for the Berkeley campus, a critical leadership position charged with overseeing the overall programmatic direction of the university and its interaction with the use of space on campus.  As the outgoing EECS Chair, Tsu-Jae made issues of climate, inclusion and diversity priorities in her administrative service.

Professors Shankar Sastry and Pravin Varaiya

Shankar Sastry and Pravin Varaiya receive International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Fellow Awards

Profs. Shankar Sastry and Pravin Varaiya have been elected as International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Fellows. The IFAC Fellow Award is given to persons who have made outstanding and extraordinary contributions in the field of interest of IFAC, in the role as an Engineer/Scientist. Prof. Sastry is recognized for contributions to research and education in the areas of robotic manipulation, adaptive control, nonlinear feedback, and hybrid systems, and Prof. Varaiya is recognized for contributions to control theory, with applications to transportation, power, communications and economic systems.

New Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence is launched

The Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence, which will focus on ensuring that AI systems are beneficial to humans, is being lead by  Prof. Stuart Russell, a long-time advocate of incorporating human values in the design of AI.  Associate Prof. Pieter Abbeel and Assistant Prof. Anca Dragan will serve as co-principal investigators along with cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths and faculty from Cornell and the University of Michigan.  The center was made possible by a grant of $5.5 million from the Open Philanthropy Project, as well as grants from the Leverhulme Trust and the Future of Life Institute.

Tea 1 cafe

New café called Tea 1 opens in Cory Hall

As a way to provide more facetime between busy faculty and students in EECS, a new café called Tea 1 has opened in Cory Hall. After town hall discussions with EECS students, faculty and staff it was determined that a café would provide a more relaxed atmosphere for students to see faculty in a different context than lectures or office hours. Retrofitting the room to accommodate the café was paid for by private funds raised by former EECS department chair Tsu-Jae King Liu.

Cameron Baradar

Cameron Baradar opens doors to "The House"

Looking at the entrepreneurial aspirations of UC Berkeley’s students in what is often called around campus the “innovation ecosystem”, EECS alumni Cameron Baradar (B.S. ’15) has opened the doors to The House, a startup institute across the street from campus on Bancroft Ave. Currently on campus there are over 40 clubs across engineering, design and entrepreneurship, two entrepreneurship centers, a design institute, a maker space and the world’s largest collegiate hackathon. Under the mentorship of Prof. Scott Shenker, Cameron sees The House as a backbone for the emerging infrastructure providing startup founders with what they need and when they need it to be successful.

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Sergey Levine, Oriol Vinyals and Wei Gao named on MIT TR35

Prof. Sergey Levine, EECS alumni Oriol Vinyals and EECS postdoc Wei Gao (working with Ali Javey) have been named on MIT Technology Review’s 2016 TR35 (Innovators Under 35) who push the edge of science, creating new approaches to tackling technology challenges. In the “Pioneers” category Prof. Levine teaches robots to watch and learn from their own successes, supervising it’s own learning, and Oriol Vinyals is working to create computers that can teach themselves how to play and win complex games by enabling them to learn from experience. In the “Inventors” category, Wei Gao is building sweatbands that monitor your health on a molecular level.

Berkeley EE and CS Shine in World Rankings

Our Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Divisions both ranked third in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World UniversitiesUC Berkeley was once again named the top public university worldwide.  The ARWU annually ranks more than 1,200 universities on the quality of both faculty and research.

EECS came in third after Stanford and MIT in both fields.  The CS top five was rounded out by Harvard and Princeton,  while Nanyang University and Georgia Tech followed Berkeley in the EE top five.

Jacques I. Pankove, discoverer of LEDs, has passed away

EECS Alumnus Jacques I. Pankove (BS EE 1944/MS EE 1948), who received the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus award in 2000 for building the first  gallium nitride light-emitting diode (LED), died on July 12, 2016 at the age of 94.

A refugee of Czarist Russia, Pankove grew up in Marseilles before emigrating to the US after the Nazi invasion of France.  While at Berkeley, Pankove built a Morse code Translator, showing his creativity involving diverse disciplines: software (how to decipher the dot and dash code), electronic circuits, and optics (to make luminous characters appear at a central visual spot).  He  left Berkeley to earn a PhD in Physics from the University of Paris but returned to the EECS Department in 1968 as a visiting McKay Lecturer.   He subsequently took a job working on transistors at RCA Lab where he and Edward Miller demonstrated the first blue electroluminescence from zinc-doped gallium nitride.

In addition to being a prolific inventor with over 90 US patents, Pankove authored a seminal textbook Optical Processes in Semiconductors in 1972 using his class notes as a lecturer at Berkeley.

EECS partners with Haas School of Business to form new undergraduate program

A new undergraduate program that integrates the study of engineering and business, the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Program (M.E.T.), will be taught at Berkeley’s top-ranked Haas School of Business and the College of Engineering.  The Business + EECS track combines study in these two areas so that students can pursue interests in creating new technologies, software or mobile apps, as well as ventures that take these products to market and deliver significant social impact.

M.E.T. students will enroll in one program but earn two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in engineering and one in business administration. The integrated curriculum consists of liberal arts, engineering and business courses and can be completed in four years.