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Posts Tagged ‘U.C. Berkeley EECS’

BEARS 2013: Cheerleading the way into the New Millennium

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

 

In case you didn’t know, U.C. Berkeley is the center of the world. That’s why several hundred people attend the Berkeley EECS Annual Research Symposium each February, and this year is no exception. If you were here on campus with me this morning, you would be hearing – yet again – that there’s no better School of Engineering than Berkeley’s, no better EECS alumni than Berkeley’s, no better weather in the world than on this campus overlooking the glorious San Francisco Bay, and no more hip-or-hipster place to be. Anywhere.

BEARS 2013 started off today with Prof. David Culler acknowledging this year’s distinguished EECS Alumni Awards. Recipients include SanDisk Co-founder, President & CEO Sanjay Mehrotra; the co-inventor of a type of binary search tree, championship aerobatic pilot, and University of Washington professor Cecilia Aragon; and Sendmail developer Eric Allman, who mentioned from the podium that he may have helped create email but he’s not to blame for spam. Allman also noted that everybody who comes to Cal as a student is more lucky than smart to be here.

Yeah, right. How can that be the case if U.C. Berkeley continues to describe itself as the center of the technology universe, where swarms, networks, tablets, and big data, among a host of other innovations, were all developed and refined?

Having said these things, let me reminisce about my father, who by cosmic coincidence would turn 90 this week if he were still alive. Back in September 1940, when he was a desperately poor, 17-year-old fatherless child of the Depression, he showed up in this town to pursue a degree in biology and hopefully become a doctor. His widowed mother had lost the family’s 10 acres of orange trees, their only source of income, to the foreclosure agents of the Bank of Italy back in 1935, and my father  brought that humiliation to Berkeley with him, along with 2 pencils, a pen, and one shabby change of clothing.

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Cal BEARS, Quad-copters, Surfers, and Swarms

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

 

Cal Berkeley EECS professor David Patterson did a great job this year organizing Berkeley’s EECS Annual Research Symposium on Thursday, February 23rd.

B.E.A.R.S. used to always be held in a theater in an engineering building on campus, however last year it was moved to International House to accomodate more people. But it was crowded and dark in there, and not a good fit.

This year, B.E.A.R.S. was held in Pauley Ballroom instead, atop the Student Union next to Sproul Plaza, and between great weather and plentiful refreshments, the audience of about 400 people seemed happier than ever to be there.

Good vibes in 2012 could also be attributed to Patterson’s choice of presenters, and the time allotted to each. Instead of the usual 10+ professors, each with 20 or 30 minutes to describe their research (academics who’ve consistently felt entitled to run long), Patterson limited faculty speakers this year to just 3. Each of them spoke succinctly and, miracle of miracles, stayed within their allotted time.

Hence, the fourth and final part of the 2012 program started on schedule, and consisted of 11 grad students talking for 5 minutes each about their respective research and labs. It was great – totally enjoyable and informative.

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