February 2009 Newsletter

CITRIS "shortens the pipeline" between world-class laboratory research in science and engineering and the creation of startups, companies, and whole industries. By engaging business, economics, law, and public policy at the outset of projects, we accelerate and amplify the impact of research that addresses California's most pressing challenges. 

Dear Friends of CITRIS:

The opening of the new CITRIS building on the Berkeley campus this month represents the culmination of a dream that was born decades ago when Clark Kerr first talked about creating a multi-campus institute that would facilitate the cross-fertilization of ideas among some of the best university faculties and students in the world. It was an inspired dream, and it is an honor and a pleasure to witness its concretization in the form of this magnificent new facility.

As the first of this newsletter’s articles describes, the building’s opening is a big moment for CITRIS, a birth of sorts. As any developmental biologist will tell you, gestation is key and a great deal of essential work goes on during it. But after nine years of intense developmental activity, with the birth of Sutardja Dai Hall we enter a new stage of maturity and productivity.

These are extraordinary times, with profound challenges facing both the State of California and the nation. We should take heart, though, that a great organization like CITRIS will help transform those challenges into opportunities for progress. From the traffic and pollution abating influence of the Mobile Millennium Project–which will he headquartered in the new building–to continued research on energy saving technologies like Demand-Response Systems and Programmable Communicating Thermostats, which will save California from building at least five new power plants, CITRIS is producing concrete solutions to some of our most complex and pressing problems.

Speaking of concrete, the new building uses a high volume of coal fly ash, a complimentary cementing material (CCM) that permits builders to use much less Portland cement. Since one ton of CO2 is released per ton of cement produced, and since cement manufacture represent up to 8 percent of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions, this building itself is a concrete example of how smart technology thoughtfully applied can make a big difference. For more examples of how buildings cause problems, and present opportunities for progress, see the second newsletter story, about the Center for the Built Environment’s mobile commissioning cart.

To the Berkeley campus: this new building is the home of the Banatao Institute @ CITRIS. But more systemically, it’s the home of the CITRIS headquarters, a Bay Area-wide resource, which includes facilities open to researchers from all four CITRIS campuses: Davis, Merced, Santa Cruz, and Berkeley.

CITRIS is a multi-disciplinary activity, and the occupants of the building are from all over the four campuses; from engineering, but also from law, public policy, political science, new media, and the Energy Resources Group.

Students may be first struck by the cyber café with its high-speed wireless connections, but it only gets better from there.

The jewel of the building is the Marvell Nanofabrication Lab, which is being outfitted with some of the world’s most advanced semiconductor fabrication equipment. We are very grateful to Marvell, Lam Research, and other companies that have donated equipment for the lab. Watch this place, it will be a key focus area for the next wave of IT; transistors, yes, but also sensors, biochips, and next-generation radios.

Please come be our guests and see for yourselves at the building’s opening ceremony on February 27. http://www.citris-uc.org/events/citris_building_dedication

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Director, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society

CITRIS Headquarters Dedication, Feb. 27, 2009
On Feb. 27, 2009, CITRIS will mark the official opening of its new headquarters, Sutardja-Dai Hall, with a day of talks and celebration.

Susan Landry from UT will speak about using technology for early childhood education.

Susan Landry to speak on Using Technology for Early Education, March 16
As part of the CITRIS Distinguished Speakers series, Dr. Susan Landry,
the Director and Founder of the Children's Learning Institute in Texas,
will speak about her work using technology to help economically
disadvantaged children to prepare for kindergarten: 4:00 PM in 290
Hearst Memorial Mining building, UC Berkeley.

Capture of Nanomagnetic 'Fingerprints' a Boost for Next-Generation Information Storage Media

In the race to develop the next generation of storage and recording media, a major hurdle has been the difficulty of studying the tiny magnetic structures that will serve as their building blocks. Now a team of physicists at the University of California, Davis, has developed a technique to capture the magnetic “fingerprints” of certain nanostructures — even when they are buried within the boards and junctions of an electronic device.

Student Competition 2009: $30K in prizes
CITRIS is proud to announce the fourth annual CITRIS White Paper competition, which will award $30K in cash prizes for the best ideas that demonstrate the ability of IT to address a major societal challenge. The IT for Society contest is open to students from all four CITRIS campuses: UC Berkeley, UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Davis.

CITRIS study on SF public cameras released
Working on behalf of the city of San Francisco, UC Berkeley and CITRIS-affiliated researchers Jennifer King (School of Law), Professor Deirdre Mulligan (School of Information), and Professor Steven Raphael (School of Public Policy) recently released a comprehensive evaluation of the city's public surveillance camera system, completed over seven months.

Berkeley Big Ideas Marketplace
The Big Ideas @ Berkeley marketplace allows individuals to support
undergraduate and graduate students who are passionate about tackling
major global, regional, and local challenges such as clean energy, the
environment, public health, safe drinking water, public policy, and
technology-based entrepreneurship.