April ’06 Newsletter

Applying innovative technology to meet the needs of society is central to CITRIS’s mission. In this newsletter, we focus on two areas of research that are both pushing the envelope technologically and, at the same time, are improving society here and far away. We do this out of a sense of idealism and also because, as the cliché goes, “A rising tide floats all boats.” By helping others, we can hope to improve ourselves as well.

Already CITRIS-sponsored projects like ICT4B and Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions (TIER) are making a big difference in developing countries like India and Sri Lanka. In our first article, “High-Tech, Low-Cost,” we bring you the latest news on the progress UC Berkeley faculty and students are making in their efforts to bring ground-breaking and communication technology to the world’s poorest citizens.

CITRIS partner campus UC Davis has long been a world leader in environmental research, and in November they received an $8 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to study the links between human health and air pollution. In our second feature, we examine the pioneering work they’re doing in the field and how it will help us all breathe easier in the future.

Thank you again for your ongoing interest and support of CITRIS. We hope you feel, as we do, that our work here is making a big difference in the world. We look forward to hearing from you.

Professor Shankar Sastry
Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society

Ravi Nemana. Ravi Nemana has been appointed the new executive director for CITRIS’s Services: Science, Management and Engineering (SSME), a multi-campus initiative to study the science behind the efficient delivery of services, which now make up seventy percent of the U.S. economy. Nemana, most recently a senior advisor for the Health Technology Center in San Francisco, received his M.B.A. in 2000 from UC Davis, where he worked for ten years and co-founded their Center for Health and Technology and the Telemedicine Learning Center. This program has the support of the Information School, Colleges of Engineering and Business at the partner campuses.

The University of California system and Indian scientific organizations sign a landmark agreement on global research that takes the collaboration between the University of California system, with its ten campuses and four Institutes for Science and Innovation (including CITRIS), and leading Indian scientific organizations and universities, to a far deeper level in areas of science, technology, research and education. It will strengthen joint research and educational collaborations and will build on the recent US-India collaborations in engineering education, expanding the focus to a wide range of disciplines aimed at providing solutions to common pressing challenges that will yield long-term benefits to the competitiveness and security of India and the US.

Masakazu Toyoda on stage in front of a CITRIS banner. Masakazu Toyoda

The first CITRIS-Asia Research Symposium took place on April 10 in Tokyo, Japan and was attended by over 175 attendees from three countries. CITRIS faculty and affiliated researchers presented technical presentations and engaged in discussions about the CITRIS mission of employing research to solve societal-scale challenges. The event was followed by a smaller SIG-J event on April 11th for representatives from the companies to ask questions about how to work with CITRIS.

UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and Stanford University are teaming up to launch what will be one of the world’s largest joint research programs focusing on the pioneering technology called “spintronics.” The Western Institute of Nanoelectronics (WIN) has been organized to leverage what are now considered the world’s best interdisciplinary talents in the field of nanoelectronics. Its mission is to explore and develop advanced research devices, circuits and nanosystems with performance beyond conventional devices. WIN-announcement

The CITRIS White Paper competition for students ends on May 1, and we will announce the winners on our website. The grand prize is $20K for a student or group of students who best describe a multidisciplinary research project that would demonstrate the capacity of IT to help address a major societal challenge.

CITRIS was proud to meet with House Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas on Friday March 17. Representative Lee sits on the House Committees for Homeland Defense and Science. She stopped by CITRIS headquarters after giving a lecture on immigration at UC Berkeley’s law school Boalt Hall.

CITRIS researcher Peidong Yang, a chemistry professor at UC Berkeley, was recently featured in the online magazine sciencematters@cal for his innovative design of a brand new kind of nanowire transistor. While transistors made from nanowires are not new, Yang’s innovation is to change the design to three-dimensional, dramatically increasing how densely they can be packed into the same area. The device sprouts vertically from the surface. The other components of the transistor, responsible for controlling the flow of the electricity, surround the vertical wire.

Angeline Tan has joined CITRIS as the Human Resource Coordinator and is responsible for such things as hiring, recruiting, and benefits consulting. Based at the UC Berkeley headquarters in Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Tan was most recently an HR analyst for the UC Berkeley campus, providing technical support to the online human resources management system. She has an M.A. in Asian studies and a B.A. in Mass Communications, both from UC Berkeley.

Lorie Mariano is a new administrative specialist at CITRIS. She has spent the past five years as an administrative analyst and grant administrator at the Gigascale Silicon Research Center.

Shemida Arteta, who works as an administrative specialist at the UC Berkeley headquarters, has been hard at work on a new venture. Gabriel Joseph Arteta was born on April 27. Congratulations to Shemida, Ron and Jessalyn!

The Friday Research Exchange events at UC Berkeley have been growing in popularity. These talks, which take place every Friday at noon, are webcast live and then archived on the website. To see a specific talk, please visit the calendar and select the desired date and talk to access the video.