December ’05 Newsletter

The end of the year is often a time to reflect and look back, but here at CITRIS our minds are on the future. What will the next big technological breakthroughs be and how can they be used to improve society?

This newsletter contains two forward-looking articles. “Sensor Networks and Beyond” surveys the innovative work CITRIS researchers are doing in the area of wireless sensor webs. It is my belief that this technology is on its way to becoming a significant part of the cyber-infrastructure of tomorrow. Just as much of the early work done on this technology has taken place at UC Berkeley, professors and talented students at all our campuses, joined by partners in industry and academia, are continuing to overcome hardware and software challenges and develop new applications and services for this revolutionary technology. Their work provides us with a glimpse at what’s next for the field.

The subject of our second piece is very near to my heart. In an interview, I discuss my newly inaugurated Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology (TRUST). Imagine a future when computer systems perform perfectly even while under attack by hackers and computer users will no longer have to fear the mishandling of their private information. Those are exactly the kinds of dreams I believe TRUST will help make a reality.

During this busy season, we are especially grateful for your ongoing interest and support of CITRIS. As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback.

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


  • Please join us on December 9 for “A Conversation with Rick Cassidy, President of TSMC North America, The World’s First and Largest Semiconductor Foundry,” the latest talk in the CITRIS Distinguished Speaker Series. This event will be held at 4 PM in 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building.
  • The newly-created Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology recently held its first Technology Breakthrough Competition. The top prize was awarded to researchers who are engineering yeast with a vast capacity to produce a malaria drug precursor, and the runner-up award went to engineers creating technology to make electronic noses affordable for commercial use.
  • A November 26th Town Hall Discussion on Hurricane Katrina featured the preliminary findings of the National Science Foundation-sponsored New Orleans Levee Investigation group.
  • We would like to welcome three new employees to the CITRIS staff: Keat Saw, Sandra Sherman, and Yvette Subramanian. Keat is the CITRIS Headquarters building manager and comes to us from a consulting engineering company, where he spent 20 years as the manager of architecture/engineering. As a building manager, he will be in charge of maintaining the facilities, utilities of the new structure Sandy, the new CITRIS assistant director for finance and operations, has over 20 years of experience in research administration in hospital and higher education and most recently worked at Stanford University for six years as the assistant director of engineering research administration. Yvette is the publications and events coordinator and has spent the past five years as the editor for the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley.
  • CITRIS has a new logo! Designed by our own Aaron Walburg, the new design nicely captures the concepts of “center of centers,” “multi-campus,” and “people-oriented.”
  • Alice Agogino, a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, was quoted in a recent story by the Epoch Times about the future of engineering education in the U.S.
  • UC Berkeley’s Paul Alivisatos is creating efficient and inexpensive solar cells. Along with his colleagues, he recently developed the world’s first inorganic nano-sized semiconductors, which are stable when exposed to air and are as inexpensive to produce as the currently-marketed organic nanocrystal solar cells.
  • Allison Luengen, a graduate student with Russell Flegal, professor of environmental toxicology at UC Santa Cruz, has earned the Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the Department of Ocean Sciences for her work on trace metal contaminants in the San Francisco Bay.
  • Building upon HAP, a haplotype analysis software that scrutinizes the genetic makeup of an individual chromosome and was developed by UC Berkeley computer science professor Richard Karp and ICSI researcher Eran Halperin, scientists have analyzed the genetic data in the NIH’s dbSNP database of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The total size of the dataset that they analyzed is more than double that of previous ones.
  • A feature article in the East Bay Express explores UC Berkeley Professor of IEOR and EECS Ken Goldberg’s integration of art and engineering.
  • On November 21, CITRIS sponsored a talk by Dr. Marc Tremblay, Sun Fellow and VP Chief Architect, Scalable Systems Group at Sun Microsystems.
  • A conference in honor of the “Father of Fuzzy Logic” Lotfi Zadeh was held in early November in Berkeley.
  • On October 31, Dr. Horst Simon of LBNL gave a talk on “Progress in Supercomputing: The Top Three Breakthroughs of the Last 20 Years and the Top Three Challenges for the Next 20 Years,” as part of the CITRIS Distinguished Speaker Series.
  • A lecture on “Collaborative science: a case study for chemical kinetics,” by UC Berkeley mechanical engineering professors Michael Frenklach and Andy Packard, took place as part of the CITRIS Distinguished Speaker Series on October 28.