Two scientists appointed as CITRIS leaders

CITRIS, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, is pleased to announce the appointment of two new scientists to the CITRIS leadership. As of January 1, Prof. Alex Pang is the new CITRIS Chief Scientist for the UC Santa Cruz campus, and Prof. Paul Wright is the CITRIS Chief Scientist for the UC Berkeley campus.

“I would like to thank James Demmel for his yeoman service as the CITRIS Chief Scientist,” said Director S. Shankar Sastry. “While Jim continues in this role for a few more months, we have been fortunate to attract Paul and Alex to serve in management roles. Alex is a rising star in engineering at UCSC whose involvement will add strength to CITRIS in such areas as scientific computing, visualization and animation. And I have known Paul for more than twenty years and am thrilled to work closely with him once again. I am sure that he will bring his varied expertise, good cheer and optimism to CITRIS,” added Sastry.

Pang, a professor of computer science professor, does research on the mathematical and theoretical aspects of data visualization. His work is the basis for computer programs that assist scientists in extracting useful information from raw data sets and understanding the systems in ways that were previously unknown.

Pang is enthusiastic about expanding the opportunities for CITRIS to impact research in its key fields of information technology in healthcare, security, and monitoring energy and the environment. “CITRIS has always been an enormous joint effort, and it continues to grow in exciting ways,” Pang said. “I believe that this position offers the opportunity for me to learn more about research taking place both on this campus and throughout the CITRIS partnership, and also to play an active role in assisting collaborations across campuses.”

Expanding upon Pang’s thoughts about the center, Wright noted recently that CITRIS is entering the next level. “During the next three years, I would like to see the CITRIS brand come alive in our three fundamental areas and build upon our successes. I want to get more faculty members involved, develop more research initiatives, and, of course, facilitate the move of projects and people into the new building.

“Within CITRIS, there is a bubbling sense of excitement about the new headquarters building on the UC Berkeley campus and its ability to bring together multi-disciplinary teams to impact vitally important issues,” continued Wright. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a living lab, where the structure itself is energy-efficient with state-of-the-art firefighting equipment so that we can demonstrate how technology makes it safer and more efficient.”

In addition, the building, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2008, will facilitate collaboration by containing labs for associates at other CITRIS campuses, as well as for visiting scholars from industry and other universities.

The A. Martin Berlin Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Wright serves as the co-director of the Berkeley Manufacturing Institute and co-director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center. His research and teaching are in high-tech product design and rapid manufacturing. He and his colleagues are designing and prototyping “battery-less” wireless systems for “demand response power management” throughout California, funded by PIER (Public Interest Energy Research).

Wright’s recent research accomplishments are in Internet-based CAD/CAM Systems based on the “CyberCut-CyberBuild” project. The studio has prototyped energy-scavenging, pico-radio systems for the Berkeley Wireless Research Center, small “mote” platforms for the Intel Berkeley Research Lab., fire-rescue products for the Chicago Fire Department, and in-tire sensors for Pirelli. All these projects are under the CITRIS umbrella.