Babak Ayazifar

Teaching Professor


Babak Ayazifar joined the EECS faculty at UC Berkeley in 2005, where he is now a Teaching Professor. He earned his BS in EE from Caltech, and his SM and PhD in EECS from MIT. His dissertation, Graph Spectra and Modal Dynamics of Oscillatory Networks, uses spectral graph theory to explore how a network's topology influences its dynamics.

At MIT, Babak received the Harold L. Hazen Award for outstanding teaching (1995). He advanced to the rank of Instructor-G, which conferred teaching assignments ordinarily reserved for faculty (1996). He won the Goodwin Medal—MIT's most prestigious award for a graduate student who "has performed above and beyond the norm, and whose teaching efforts can truly be characterized as `conspicuously effective'" (1999). In spring 2002, he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in MIT’s School of Engineering, teaching a graduate course in Digital Signal Processing.

Prior to his arrival at Berkeley, Babak was a Technical Specialist in the Intellectual Property and Technology Group of Ropes & Gray, LLP in Boston. His patent prosecution and related activities spanned a range of technologies, such as mechanical devices, intravascular MRI, DNA Microarray data analysis, and encrypted communication using chaotic systems. Babak is a patent agent, registered to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office (Reg. No. 56793).

Babak is co-inventor on the patent Method and apparatus for providing scalable compressed video signal: U.S. Patent no. 5,387,940. This stemmed from his work as an Associate Member of the Technical Staff in the Communications Research Laboratory at David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton.

At Berkeley Babak has focused on teaching, student learning, curriculum development and reform, mentoring TAs, and sharing his pedagogical innovations and insight at conferences, workshops, and other forums.

In 2008 Babak received the UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering Division's Outstanding Teaching Award.

And he received the 2012 IEEE Education Society’s Mac Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award. His citation reads

"For creative, lively, challenging, and caring teaching that has sparked broad excitement and engagement among his students, even in the largest core courses."

From Jan 2013 to Jul 2014 Babak spent an extended sabbatical as a Visiting Senior Lecturer at MIT-EECS, where he was the instructor for 6.041/6.431: Probabilistic Systems Analysis and a recitation instructor for 6.02: Digital Communication Systems.

Babak is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society, and Eta Kappa Nu, the EE Honor Society. He has been a faculty co-advisor for Tau Beta Pi since 2009.

Babak's Teaching Evaluations at UC Berkeley

He insists that you Just Call Him Babak!

Selected Publications

Awards, Memberships and Fellowships