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Recent News

Data Scientist Michael Jordan Calls for a More Economics-Aware Approach to AI

In an article published Nov. 8 by Wired, Michael Jordan of UC Berkeley, Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Glen Weyl of Microsoft assert that, rather than developing AI methods seeking to imitate human intelligence, society in general -- and business in particular -- would benefit far more by developing approaches that complement human intelligence and support new kinds of economic and political engagement among people.

An Interesting Proposition: Do Online Searches Serve Up Biased Results Regarding California Ballot Propositions?

Emma Lurie, a third-year Ph.D. student in UC Berkeley’s School of Information, found her academic calling in the political campaigns waged during the 2016 elections. Her relatives and other people she knew were deluging her with political emails that, to her, were blatantly untrue.

D-Lab: A Community with Inclusion at its Core

While taking a statistics class as part of her joint JD/PhD program at UC Berkeley, Renata Barreto realized she needed to use Python programming for assignments. So she looked for help refreshing and deepening those skills. She found support at D-Lab.

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Looking to Better Algorithms to Push Back Against Built-In Bias in Online Platforms

Sitting on a stage at the University of California, Berkeley amid four computer scientists, award-winning international artist and performer Angelique Kidjo took aim at social media platforms and the algorithms behind them for the harm they are inflicting on people and culture while racking up massive profits in the process.

Niloufar Salehi

UC Berkeley-Led Team Joins Effort to Create More Diverse Enrollment in San Francisco Schools

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $750,000 grant to UC Berkeley professors Niloufar Salehi and Catherine Albiston and University of Southern California professor Afshin Nikzad to support efforts by the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to implement a new elementary schoolzone-based student assignment policy.

Ellora Derenoncourt

Researchers and Advocates Consider How Data and Computer Science Can Inform Policy

As Ellora Derenoncourt and her co-author Claire Montialoux studied 1960s federal minimum wage policy, they wanted to know: did policymakers understand how making the minimum wage requirement apply to more industries would affect racial economic disparities and employment?

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UC Berkeley Showcases Plans for CDSS’ Future Home in New Video

UC Berkeley is 80 percent of the way to its $6 billion Light the Way Campaign fundraising goal, part of which includes the construction of a new building that will house the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society.

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Berkeley Professor, AI Expert Stuart Russell Named 2021 BBC Reith Lecturer

Stuart Russell, a UC Berkeley computer scientist known for his work in artificial intelligence, has been named the 2021 BBC Reith Lecturer. The lecture is an annual honor bestowed by the BBC since 1948 upon some of the smartest modern experts, who then speak on important public issues.

Berkeley’s Data Science Program Aims for Community College Transfers’ Success

Almost as soon as Elda Pere saw the term “data science” in UC Berkeley’s online course catalog, she knew it would be her career. In joining this field, Pere could combine her associates degree in mathematics with her passion for storytelling. She could also use technology to help alleviate poverty in countries like Albania, where she’d spent most of her childhood. But picking her major was the easy part.

Statistics Faculty Play Key Role in Classifying Cells in Massive NIH Study of Brain Neural Networks

Five years of research to classify and characterize as many as 116 types of cells that control movement has led to the Oct. 6 publication of 17 new articles covering 136 pages in Nature.

Ramona Naddaff, a professor of rhetoric at UC Berkeley, is digging deeper into Madame Bovary Author Gustave Flaubert ’s influences, self-censorship, editorial censorship and editing methods using data science tools.

Berkeley Data Science Students Help Uncover How Flaubert Honed “Madame Bovary”

When Gustave Flaubert published his groundbreaking “Madame Bovary” as a serialized novel in “Revue de Paris” in 1856, the story stirred up more than outrage and charges of obscenity against the author and publisher. It introduced a more realistic, less romantic approach to Western fiction and is now known as the first modernist novel. 

Kathy Yelick Named as Next UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research

Kathy Yelick, executive associate dean for UC Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), will be the university’s next vice chancellor for research, Chancellor Carol Christ announced today.

California’s Eviction Moratorium is Ending. In a Q&A, Tim Thomas Says Data Science Has a Crucial Role in What Comes Next.

California's eviction moratorium ends September 30. We spoke with Tim Thomas, research director for UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies and Center for Community Innovation’s Urban Displacement Project, about who's typically impacted by evictions, what we can expect after the moratorium is lifted and how data science can help.

Alan Liang: Helping Build Data Science Education from the Ground Up

When Alan Liang applied for a job as an undergraduate student assistant at UC Berkeley in December 2017, the last thing on his mind was helping launch a nationwide revolution in teaching data science at colleges and universities. It just worked out that way.

Berkeley Students’ Data-Driven Project Wins Big Ideas Grand Prize

A team of UC Berkeley students and graduates won a $10,000 grand prize in a University of California systemwide competition this week for their data-driven project, Blackbook University.

President Biden Appoints BIDS Faculty Director Saul Perlmutter to Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Saul Perlmutter, an astrophysicist and faculty director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS), has been appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the White House announced. The council is the body of external advisors charged with advising President Joe Biden and the White House on science, technology and innovation policy.

Meredith Lee Named to Board of New California Cradle-to-Career Data System

UC Berkeley’s Meredith Lee has been appointed to the governing board of the new California statewide Cradle-to-Career Data System, which will link information across spectrums like education and social services to better equip policymakers, educators and the public to address social and economic disparities and improve opportunities for students across the state to succeed. Lee, who is the chief technical advisor to Associate Provost Jennifer Chayes, head of Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), was appointed to a two-year term.

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Fourth Community College Receives Data Science Class Articulation Approval from UC Berkeley

Transfer students from the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) who take its foundational data science course will now get credit for Data 8 at UC Berkeley, a data science class at the university. City College is the fourth community college to receive Berkeley’s Data Science Undergraduate Studies program approval for Data 8 articulation. 

Aditya Parameswaran

UC Berkeley Researchers Receive $2 Million Grant to Build Criminal Justice Big Data Tools

A group of UC Berkeley researchers recently won a 3-year, $2 million National Science Foundation grant to improve the useability of big criminal justice datasets for public defenders and others.

Hani Gomez

Hani Gomez, Ph.D.: Computing Pedagogy at the Nexus of Technology and Social Justice

As an electrical engineering Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley, Hani Gomez specialized in microrobotics, often working in clean rooms designed to keep out dirt and dust. But over the course of her five years of study, she became increasingly interested in a part of academia that’s not so precise nor neat and tidy -- implicit bias, racism and their effects on the university and broader community.

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As Project Jupyter Celebrates 20 Years, Fernando Pérez Reflects On How It Started, Open Science’s Impact and the Value of Diversity in Coding

Twenty years ago, UC Berkeley Associate Statistics Professor Fernando Pérezstarted one of the foundational tools for analyzing large amounts of data in a transparent and collaborative way. That project, IPython, evolved into Project Jupyter. We spoke with Pérez about why he started IPython, what challenges he’s faced and what to expect from him and Project Jupyter next.

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Students Help Grow Data Science Education, Tools Globally

The Data Science Undergraduate Studies (DSUS) global adoption and infrastructure student teams are spearheading efforts to a global data science education community. From organizing workshops to building autograders, this work is helping to support data science education worldwide.  

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Berkeley Unboxing Data Science Program Doubles Number of Interns in Second Year

The Berkeley Unboxing Data Science (BUDS) program nearly doubled its number of interns this summer, building off its 2020 inaugural success teaching data analysis skills to underprivileged high school students.

Data Science Discovery Program Students Help Open Accounting Data from Ancient Mesopotamia

In many instances, data science points to a brighter future where better machine learning tools and algorithms are used to solve problems ranging from climate change to better healthcare access. But some UC Berkeley researchers are applying such tools to learn more about the past, like deciphering business and personal transactions recorded on clay tablets in ancient Sumer. Such tablets are drawing international attention with the news that the United States was returning 17,000 tablets and other ancient relics to Iraq (link is external)at the end of July.

UC Berkeley, Georgia Tech and USC launch new National Artificial Intelligence Research Institute

UC Berkeley and two others won a five-year, $20-million award(link is external) to create the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Institute for Advances in Optimization(link is external), the National Science Foundation announced. At the institute, UC Berkeley, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California will develop algorithms using AI and operations research that make supply chains and electricity grids more resilient. They will also work with historically Black colleges and Hispanic-serving community colleges to create student educational and research opportunities.

Water levels of Lake Oroville in Butte County sit at 38% capacity on Monday, May 31, 2021, as California heads into another drought year. (Photo/ Frank Schulenburg / CC BY-SA 4.0)

California’s Drought is Getting Worse. In a Q&A, Laurel Larsen Explains How Data Science Can Help.

California is amidst a period of intensifying drought. We spoke with Laurel Larsen, a UC Berkeley associate professor of geography and Berkeley Institute for Data Science faculty affiliate who researches future clean water availability using data science, about water resource management in California and data science’s role in it.

Maria Smith: Falling into the Arms of Sociology and Finding a Voice for Social Justice

Growing up in Rochester, N.Y., Maria Smith got a close-up look at how the penal system perpetuated racially biased policies and decided to study law so she could make a difference. Her father, who has since passed away, struggled with addiction and had been incarcerated several times. In fact every male relative on her dad’s side has been incarcerated, “making it almost a rite of passage,” Smith said. Her family lived in poverty, was sometimes homeless and by age 18, Smith had had enough.

Computing and Data Sciences Improve What We Know About Wildfires and How to Fight Them

Recent developments in machine learning and simulations can help first responders detect fires earlier, predict fires’ paths and limit blazes quickly. Through collaborations with practitioners in other fields like microbiology and forest management, these tools are answering previously intractable questions about fires that can inform policy and practice. 

New AI strategy enables robots to rapidly adapt to real world environments

Delivery services may be able to overcome snow, rain, heat and the gloom of night, but a new class of legged robots is not far behind. Artificial intelligence algorithms developed by a team of researchers from UC Berkeley, Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University are equipping legged robots with an enhanced ability to adapt to and navigate unfamiliar terrain in real time.

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Workshop Focuses on Adding Human Contexts to Data Science Classes

The June 15 workshop on “Towards Social Justice in the Data Science Classroom” was organized by Berkeley’s Human Contexts and Ethics Program (HCE), which is part of Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS). The session drew 75 registrants from colleges and universities across the U.S., as well as from Canada, Germany, Austria, India and China.

CDSS Adds Four Associate Deans, Diversifying Leadership

UC Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) has named four new associate deans, selecting pioneering academic researchers with backgrounds from computing to sociology.

UC Berkeley Initiative Helps to Advance Data Science Education Across California

In the fast-emerging field of data science -- with most schools creating their own teaching structures, majors, and minors -- building a new program from scratch can be challenging. The same is true for transferring course credit from community college to a UC/CSU and setting up cloud infrastructure for a course. The California Alliance for Data Science Education is a new initiative spearheaded by UC Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society convening institutions of higher education from around the state of California to solve these bottlenecks and challenges.

Fourth National Data Science Education Workshop Looks at Teaching Math, Bringing DS to High Schools

UC Berkeley’s Data Science Undergraduate Studies program continues to cultivate the growth of data science education at colleges and universities across the country. Led by a dedicated adoption team at the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society, many institutions have been able to emulate and adapt Berkeley's pedagogy in establishing local programs.

CDSS’ Jennifer Chayes Receives 2020 ACM Distinguished Service Award

Jennifer Tour Chayes, Associate Provost for the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) at the University of California, Berkeley, is the recipient of the 2020 ACM Distinguished Service Award for her effective leadership, mentorship, and dedication to diversity during her distinguished career of computer science research, teaching, and institution building.

Two Data-Driven Projects Led By Berkeley Students Named Finalists in Big Idea Contest

When this year’s six Big Idea finalists were announced on May 27th, 2021, two data driven projects involving Berkeley students were among them. Each project named as a finalist receives $5,000 to support the team’s work. The two Berkeley teams are also the recipients of a new special prize, the CDSS Discovery Award, presented by the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS). Jennifer Chayes, Associate Provost for CDSS, decided to create the prizes, which award $10,000 to each team, since both finalist projects have strong data science aspects.

Tiffany Lohwater Joins CDSS as Chief Communications Officer

Tiffany Lohwater, who served as the Chief Communications Officer and Director for the Office of Communications at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), joined CDSS as its new Chief Communications Officer on May 17.

Register Now for the 2021 National Workshop on Data Science Education

UC Berkeley will host its fourth annual National Workshop on Data Science Education for data science instructors on June 14-18. The free workshop, to be held online, is organized by Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society with support from Microsoft and the West Big Data Innovation Hub.

2021 CDSS Commencement Ceremonies Like No Others, Ending a Year Like No Other

In the wake of the 2019-20 school year, which ended with a pandemic-inflicted ban on graduations, UC Berkeley is allowing this year’s graduates to cap the year in much the same way they experienced it -- online.  Each of the campus entities comprising the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) will mark the occasion a bit differently. The celebrations began on Saturday, May 15, the awarding of Bachelor’s degrees in Data Science, the largest of the groups, and concluded with Statistics on Friday, May 21. 

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EECS Professor Emeritus David Culler Receives 2021 Berkeley Citation Award

David Culler, the Friesen Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus at UC Berkeley, and founding Dean of the Division of Data Sciences is the recipient of the Berkeley Citation Award - one of the university's highest honors. The Berkeley Citation is awarded to a variety of distinguished individuals or organizations, academic or nonacademic, whose contributions to UC Berkeley go beyond the call of duty and whose achievements exceed the standards of excellence in their fields. 

Data Science Undergrads Class of 2021 Feted in Online Commencement

For the 668 UC Berkeley students who received their Data Science bachelor’s degrees on Saturday, May 15, it was a graduation day like no other, coming on the heels of an academic year like no other. Due to pandemic restrictions, students and their families celebrated their graduation via the program’s first-ever virtual commencement premiering Youtube. The ceremony featured commencement speakers, student and faculty awards, and a surprise appearance by Cal mascot Oski the Bear.

Sandrine Dudoit

Sandrine Dudoit Named Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics

UC Berkeley Statistics Department Chair and Professor Sandrine Dudoit has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS). She was one of 41 IMS Fellows selected in 2021.

John DeNero of EECS Named CDSS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies

John DeNero, an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS), has been named the new Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies for the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society at UC Berkeley. He takes on the position with the retirement of Professor Deb Nolan.

After 35 Years at UC Berkeley, CDSS Associate Dean Deb Nolan to Retire

At the end of 2019, Deb Nolan was looking forward to retirement; traveling, doing some serious work in her garden and taking on part-time projects with campus. But when she was she was asked to stay on as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the nascent Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) by Associate Provost Jennifer Chayes, she saw it as a fantastic opportunity to continue shaping the Data Science program she helped create.

Data Forward: CDSS in the Harvard Data Science Review

We’re excited that the Harvard Data Science Review (HDSR),(link is external) an award-winning journal and a leading voice for data science, is spotlighting the UC Berkeley Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) and its leadership of data science at Berkeley and throughout the UC system.

EECS Professor Michael Jordan Named Foreign Member of the Royal Society

Michael I. Jordan, the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, has been named one of 10 Foreign Members to the Royal Society. In all, just 62 scientists from around the world were named Royal Society members this year.

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1st ACM Conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (EAAMO ’21)

Virtual, October 5-9, 2021 | Submission deadline: June 3rd, 2021

The inaugural ACM conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (EAAMO ’21) aims to highlight work where techniques from algorithms, optimization, and mechanism design, along with insights from other disciplines, can help improve equity and access to opportunity for historically disadvantaged and underserved communities.

The conference is organized by the Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) initiative, and builds on the MD4SG technical workshop series and tutorials at conferences including ACM EC, ACM COMPASS, and WINE.

EAAMO ’21 will feature keynote presentations and panels and contributed presentations on research papers, surveys, problem pitches, datasets, and software demonstrations.

Rediet-Abebe

A Computer Scientist Who Tackles Inequality Through Algorithms

When Rediet Abebe arrived at Harvard University as an undergraduate in 2009, she planned to study mathematics. But her experiences with the Cambridge public schools soon changed her plans. 

Rediet Abebe uses the tools of theoretical computer science to understand pressing social problems — and try to fix them.

BIDS and Accenture welcome first Global Environmental Change Research Fellow

BIDS and Accenture Applied Intelligence are pleased to welcome R.J. Cody Markelz as the inaugural BIDS-Accenture Global Environmental Change Research Fellow. The Data Science and Global Environmental Change Independent Research Fellowship is a full-time two-year position at BIDS made possible by funding from Accenture Applied Intelligence. 

YOU MADE IT MOMENTOUS

Thank you. During Big Give 2021, alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends just like you came together to give 157 gifts (374% growth!) totaling $60,424. Your thoughtful generosity and enthusiastic participation will help the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society to support our student teams.

We are momentously grateful for your commitment to Cal! Visit BigGive.berkeley.edu for final contest results and more.

Oliver O’Reilly: In a year of turmoil, Berkeley abides

On the morning of Sunday, March 8, 2020, I left my colleagues in mechanical engineering at a team-building activity at the Cal Boathouse in Oakland for an urgent conference call that Chancellor Christ had organized with senior campus leadership. At the time, I was chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate. While many of us could sense the tsunami of the impending pandemic and stay-at-home orders, I could not have imagined the devastation and dramatic changes it would cause...

Founder of craigslist Renews Support: Second Year of Funding Expands Cybersecurity Defense for Non Profits by UC Berkeley Students

For the second consecutive year, Craig Newmark Philanthropies has funded Citizen Clinic, a groundbreaking program at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC). This first-of-its-kind program trains UC Berkeley students to provide digital security assistance to activists, journalists, and advocacy organizations who may be subjected to phishing, spyware, surveillance, trolling,  and disinformation campaigns, often at the hands of powerful adversaries. 

Bringing Data Science to Liberal Arts Courses

Although Data Science only just became an official Berkeley major in Fall 2018⁠, its versatility and applicability in almost all domains have led to its rapid expansion across campus. At Berkeley, data science can even be found in traditionally non-technological, liberal arts classes… in the form of data science modules. 

Discovery Program: Data Science Beyond the Classroom

Over the past five years, the Data Science Discovery program has helped hundreds of Berkeley undergraduate students join data science research projects. Students work on a team-based research project for a semester with one of Discovery’s project partners, which yield from a variety of fields and comprises Berkeley faculty, campus-affiliated start-ups, and non-profit agencies. The research projects tackle real-world issues utilizing data science techniques.

Climate Research, Scientific Computing Converging at a Critical Time

UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab is using data-driving models to understand the impacts of climate variability and long-term change on ecosystem functions, as well as related feedbacks to the atmosphere through ecosystem carbon cycling and water use. Kathy Yelick, CDSS Associate Dean of Research forecasts the future of climate research will require a broader range of disciplines to fully understand and try to mitigate the impacts. Areas such as economics, sociology, engineering, material science, law and public policy will need to join the community. 

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Translating Numbers into Words: The Art of Writing About Data Science

UC Berkeley Statistics Professor Deborah Nolan readily admits that writing is difficult for her, as well for many of her students. To help students and others better communicate their research, Nolan and UC Berkeley Ph.D. Sara Stoudt teamed up to teach a class in writing about statistics. This month, an article they wrote on the topic was published in Significance, the journal of the Royal Statistical Society, and in March 2021 their book "Communicating with Data: The Art of Writing for Data Science," will be published by the Oxford University Press.

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UC Berkeley Team Awarded DARPA Grant to Improve Development of Complex Cyber-Physical Systems

A UC Berkeley research team led by Prof. Sanjit Seshia has been awarded a four-year, $8.4M project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to research artificial intelligence-based approaches that augment humans to perform correct-by-construction design of cyber-physical systems (CPS).

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Pandemic provides real-time experiment for diagnosing, treating misinformation, disinformation

With the COVID-19 virus spiking worldwide and the need for accurate information about it more important than ever, four data science experts from UC Berkeley held an online discussion on the origins, amplification and impacts of the current infodemic of mis- and disinformation that is jeopardizing measures to control the pandemic.