12/15/09 — Malware is tough to defeat. Once a piece of malicious software such as a virus or worm attacks, it might take days or weeks before computer security professionals release a fix or other countermeasure, says EECS associate professor Dawn Song (Ph.D.'02 EECS). But Song -- named one of Technology Review's 2009 Young Innovators Under 35 -- has created what she calls a "game-changing" technology in the security landscape, significantly cutting the amount of time it takes security analysts to address a malware problem.
12/15/09 — "Fun. Easy to learn. Can relate to it." That's what students were saying about a new introductory computing course at Berkeley, established by Dan Garcia, Brian Harvey, Colleen Lewis (B.S.'05 EECS) and George Wang, that will alter the way young people perceive the field. Called "The Beauty and Joy of Computing," the two-unit freshman/sophomore seminar teaches non-majors basic programming skills while exploring big picture topics such as abstraction, world-changing applications and the social implications of computing.
11/13/09 — Next month, representatives from around the world will convene at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in hopes of providing the broad outline for a new agreement that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to sustainable levels. It is critical that, unlike Kyoto, the new agreement simultaneously provide for sustainable growth and energy utilization.
09/04/09 — "Practice makes perfect" is the maxim drummed into anyone struggling to learn a new motor skill, be it riding a bike or developing a killer backhand in tennis. New research by UC Berkeley assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences Jose Carmena and colleagues now reveals that the brain can also achieve this motor memory with a disembodied device. The study provides hope that physically disabled people could one day master control of artificial limbs with greater ease.
06/04/09 — Last year, Connie Chang-Hasnain and graduate student researcher Linus Chuang were searching for a better lab recipe for growing nanowires, conductive threads so thin that every atom they contain has a significant effect on their overall electrical properties. Following the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) technique for creating semiconductor crystal nanowires, they deposited successive layers of gallium arsenide onto a silicon wafer substrate. But in one low-temperature batch, an area of the silicon lacked the usual gold nanoparticles from which each crystal grows. Under careful examination of the region, they didn't find what they were expecting. Instead of uniform-diameter threads sticking up, they saw tall, needle-like pyramids with hexagonal bases and sharp points. They had discovered a new nanostructure.
06/04/09 — A music video that playfully celebrates all things nano has become a megahit for three Berkeley Engineering graduate students and their Cal team.
02/02/09 — With Enhanced GPS, cell phones will soon be able to pinpoint a user's location down to a specific street address. For users, this new capability will improve directions, mapping and other location-based phone services. Meanwhile, marketers plan to use the data to track consumer preferences and personalize recommendations shown onscreen. While improved recommendations are nice, so is personal privacy, and having some company tracking your every move poses risks, no matter what the information is used for. Engineering professor John Canny is developing a privacy-protection scheme called Ant Club Trails that will let companies personalize your recommendations while preventing them from determining your identity.
11/02/08 — Paul Jacobs (B.S. '84, M.S. '86, Ph.D. '89 EECS) sees no limits to what next-generation cell phones will do. As a development engineer, an executive and now CEO of Qualcomm, the San Diego-based wireless technology company, Jacobs has played a major role in the transformation of the mobile phone. Along with their original function in voice communications, the devices have evolved into wireless computers, music players, digital cameras, navigational tools, and medical diagnostic and monitoring equipment. And, says Jacobs, still more advances are on the way. "Innovation comes from being open to diverse ideas," says Jacobs, who holds more than 35 patents for his inventions. "The world changes and you change."
10/02/08 — Most people hope to live healthy, independent lives through their elderly years. But that's not always the case because, as people age, they and their loved ones have to worry about not only illnesses, but also injuries, especially from falls. For seniors, falling is the leading cause of injury deaths, nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions. But one team of researchers is working to enable the elderly to live independently through a network of body sensors. The project could allow computers to remotely monitor and analyze the activity of seniors so that, if they fall or stop moving, help can arrive quickly.
09/02/08 — Information technology is pervasive in making our lives so much easier, that is, until we're paralyzed by a virus invading our home computer or crippled by an enterprise-wide system crash. The larger implications are something we don't even want to think about: What would happen to your life as you know it if your personal identity were stolen or, worse, some malicious entity hacked into just one component of our critical infrastructure, like the power grid or the air traffic–control infrastructure?
09/02/08 — For the average teen, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” doesn't normally involve building a faster supercomputer, perfecting a lab on a chip or designing a device called an optical antenna that sniffs out bomb residue. Thanks to an innovative UC Berkeley summer program, 15 high school students conducted hands-on research on these and other high-flying topics--all linked to groundbreaking nanoscale science and technology work taking place on campus. The Summer High-School Apprenticeship Research Program turns teens into bona fide scientific investigators.
06/02/08 — Someday, you might read the morning's news headlines on the back of your cereal box. That's the latest possibility demonstrated by the EECS Organic Electronics Group. They have recently been experimenting with zinc oxide, a familiar ingredient in sunblock and diaper cream that has the special properties of working as a semiconductor while also being 93 percent transparent. The researchers already have a palette of inks that can deposit conducting, semiconducting and insulating materials-the building blocks of all solid-state electronics-on a variety of surfaces.
05/02/08 — There are about six billion base pairs in the human genome, and our family tree includes about six billion living humans. So, although DNA sequencing begins in a laboratory, it requires research-level computer science and statistics to crunch the resulting mass of data and make sense of the results. As EECS and statistics professor Yun Song remarks, “Just 15 years ago, it was very difficult for population genetics researchers to run their computationally intensive analyses on desktop computers. It's thanks to relatively recent improvements in computers and algorithms that these problems have become tractable.”
04/02/08 — For years, nanoengineers have known how to create tiny wire transistors, sensors, light emitters and other useful components, but there's been no sure way to assemble them into integrated circuits because they're too small to manipulate. “You could look at things under a microscope, but you couldn't touch them,” explains EECS professor Ming Wu. But Wu and his research group have developed “optoelectronic tweezers” that can individually address wires and other nanoscale objects and convey them to precise locations. This has been the field's most challenging problem, and solving it paves the way for an entire class of devices from microdisplays to medical imaging tools.
04/02/08 — It's no surprise that a Google search for Peter Norvig turns up tens of thousands of hits. Norvig (Ph.D. '86 EECS) literally wrote the book on artificial intelligence, coauthoring a bestselling textbook on the subject with Professor Stuart Russell in 1995. As the senior computer scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, he led the team that developed the remote artificial intelligence software that flew aboard the Deep Space 1 spacecraft in 1999. And today, as Google's director of research, Norvig is transforming the way information is organized and accessed on the Web.
01/02/08 — EECS undergraduate Henry Wang had never heard of Enrico Caruso until last year. That's a surprising admission given that the 21-year-old senior now spends hours weekly scrutinizing the famed tenor's rendition of La Donna è Mobile. Wang is part of an ambitious project that seeks to preserve historic collections of music, speeches and other audio recordings dating back to the earliest days of recorded sound.
12/02/07 — Steve Beck, 57, has harnessed his passion for video with a vengeance. A noted artist specializing in the use of electronic video, Beck is also the developer of more than 500 commercial electronic products ranging from an energy management system to electronic toys and video games. Beck, whose electronic art is in the collections of such prominent institutions as The Museum of Modern Art, New York, was named EECS Alumnus of the Year in 2003.