CITRIS June 2006 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends of CITRIS,

Global climate change, national security concerns, and rising pollution are just some of the problems caused, in part, by our dependence on fossil fuels. Finding new sources of energy is one of the most pressing scientific challenges of our time, and I am glad that in this newsletter we could feature two important research initiatives that are addressing the problem.

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL)’s ambitious, multidisciplinary endeavor, Helios, is applying basic science to find a sustainable, scalable alternative to fossil fuels. Our partnership with Helios lies in harvesting the best of their new sciences and technologies into products, and then working with our industrial sponsors to develop large-scale energy systems. Further, current CITRIS research is focused on many elements of energy research beyond the harnessing of solar energy, including cleaner combustion, nuclear energy, carbon sequestration, coal liquefaction, and sensor networks for energy demand and response systems.

The development of new energy sources will eventually offset the problem of pollution and rising greenhouse gas emissions caused by the increased use of fossil fuels worldwide; however, these alternatives and their benefits will not be realized for many years, whereas pollution and global warming are issues facing us today. One immediate solution is to have combustion scientists collaborate and further the science for cleaner burning of hydrocarbons. Our second feature looks at PrIMe, a new model for collaboration among computational combustion scientists based at UC Berkeley.

As always, thank you for your ongoing interest and support of CITRIS. We believe our work here is making a big difference in the world and hope you feel the same.

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


  • On June 12, His Excellency Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, addressed a gathering of faculty, students, and visiting guests. In his talk, “Partnership in a Globalized World: A Declaration of Interdependence,” Rasmussen outlined proposals for the creation of an economic union between the European Union and the United States and mutual efforts for sustainable development.
  • Two agricultural proposals—one on supporting urban agriculture in Mexico City and the other on alleviating water scarcity in California farming—were co-winners of the first annual CITRIS White Paper competition.
  • A recent SF Chronicle article details the efforts of three UC Berkeley engineering students to help people in impoverished areas of India, Sri Lanka and Mexico secure clean drinking water.
  • A UC Davis engineering student has developed composting toilets for remote Alaska villages to help deal with solid waste and reduce GI disease.
  • The CITRIS in Europe meeting took place on June 20-21 in Helsinki, Finland, with over 180 attendees. Presentations and photos from the event will be online shortly.
  • UC Merced will launch five new majors this fall, along with the nine undergraduate degree programs offered in the university’s first year. Mechanical engineering, chemical sciences and physics are among the new majors students will be able to choose from.
  • UC Berkeley professor Eric Brewer and his students’ work to improve healthcare delivery in impoverished regions were discussed in a recent press release.
  • On May 23, Dr. Arabinda Mitra, Executive Director of the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, spoke on the Berkeley Campus about “Fostering US and India Scientific Collaboration Today.”
  • Work by UC Berkeley professor Steven Glaser is helping to preserve Masada, a World Heritage Site in Israel. In mid-August, Glaser will set up seismic monitoring stations at the visitors’ center at the base of the mountain and at the watchtower on top.
  • Tele-immersive Environments for EVErybody, or TEEVE, was tested simultaneously across thousands of miles this spring in labs at UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois.