Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

Online Courses and Computer-Aided Education: Opportunities and Challenges

e-learning graphicWednesday, December 5, 2012
306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium)
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Professors Pieter Abbeel, Armando Fox, Dan Garcia, Jitendra Malik, Dave Patterson, Sanjit Seshia and Dawn Song
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Department, UC Berkeley

   Downloadable pdf


EECS faculty discuss their experience with MOOCs and pose research challenges in aiding education with computer technology.


Pieter Abbeel received a BS/MS in Electrical Engineering from KU Leuven (Belgium) and received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2008. He joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in Fall 2008, with an appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. His research focuses on robotics, machine learning and control. Professor Abbeel has won various awards, including the Sloan Research Fellowship, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program (AFOSR-YIP) award, the Okawa Research Grant, the 2011 TR35, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Early Career Award, and the Dick Volz Best U.S. Ph.D. Thesis in Robotics and Automation Award. He has developed apprenticeship learning algorithms which have enabled advanced helicopter aerobatics, including maneuvers such as tic-tocs, chaos and auto-rotation, which only exceptional human pilots can perform. His group has also enabled a robot to reliably pick up randomly shaped, crumpled pieces of laundry and fold them. His work has been featured in many popular press outlets, including BBC, The New York Times, MIT Technology Review, Discovery Channel, SmartPlanet and Wired.

Armando Fox is a Professor-in-Residence in the EECS Department at UC Berkeley and a co-founder of the UC Berkeley RAD Lab. As of Fall 2012, he has been named half-time Academic Director of the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education, helping UC Berkeley to build an infrastructure that will support the campus`s many online education initiatives. Prior to his work at UC Berkeley, he was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford. He received his Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. degrees at Berkeley, Illinois and MIT, respectively. His current research interests include applied statistical machine learning and cloud computing; he is a co-author of the recently released position paper "Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing" and has frequently lectured on this topic. He has published several papers in collaboration with top machine learning researchers on the application of machine learning to diagnosing, characterizing and identifying operational problems in datacenter-scale and cloud computing installations. His 2003 collaboration with Professor David Patterson on Recovery-Oriented Computing earned him the distinction of being included in the "Scientific American 50" top researchers. In previous lives he helped design the Intel Pentium Pro microprocessor and founded a company to commercialize his UC Berkeley dissertation research on mobile computing.

Dan Garcia received dual B.S. degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT, 1990; and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 1995 and 2000, respectively. He joined the CS faculty at UC Berkeley in the Fall of 2000, won the departmental Diane S. McEntyre Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002, the departmental Information Technology Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2004 and was chosen as a UC Berkeley "Unsung Hero" in 2005. He has taught (or co-taught as a GSI, where he won both departmental and campus outstanding GSI awards) courses in teaching techniques, computer graphics, virtual reality, computer animation, self-paced programming as well as the lower-division introductory CS curriculum. He is active in SIGCSE, is a member of the ACM Education Board, and is the faculty co-advisor for BFOIT, a wonderful Berkeley outreach effort. He is currently mentoring over seventy undergraduates, spread across four groups that he founded in 2001, centered around his research and development interests in computer graphics, Macintosh OS X programming, combinatorial game theory and computer science education.

David Patterson is the Pardee Professor of Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley, which he joined after graduating from UCLA in 1977. Dave's research style is to identify critical questions for the IT industry and gather inter-disciplinary groups of faculty and graduate students to answer them. The answer is typically embodied in demonstration systems, and these demonstration systems are later mirrored in commercial products. In addition to research impact, these projects train leaders of our field. The best known projects were Reduced Instruction Set Computers (RISC), Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID), and Networks of Workstations (NOW). A measure of the success of projects is the list of awards won by Patterson and as his teammates: the C & C Prize, the IEEE von Neumann Medal, the IEEE Johnson Storage Award, the SIGMOD Test of Time award, the ACM-IEEE Eckert-Mauchly Award, and the Katayanagi Prize. He was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, and Fellow of the Computer History Museum. The full list includes about 30 awards for research, teaching, and service. In his spare time he coauthored five books, including two with John Hennessy, who is President of Stanford University. Patterson also served as Chair of the Computer Science Division at UC Berkeley, Chair of the Computing Research Association, and President of ACM.

Dawn Song is an Assistant Professor at University of California, Berkeley. She obtained her PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley (2002). Prior to joining UC berkeley, she was an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon Univeristy from 2002 to 2007. Her research interest lies in security and privacy issues in computer systems and networks. She is the author of more than 60 research papers in areas ranging from software security, networking security, database security, distributed systems security, to applied cryptography. She is the recipient of various awards and grants including the NSF CAREER Award, the IBM Faculty Award, the George Tallman Ladd Research Award, the Sloan Award, and the Best Paper Award in USENIX Security Symposium.

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