google car

Nowadays, we are all pretty familiar with the term “cloud” as it relates to our Internet gadgets. Information is stored off of a device, with the device simply accessing it. So researchers on a multi-university team are taking this idea and looking into how to implement it on a massive scale. They are calling this the TerraSwarm.

Ambitious? Oh yeah. Risky? Of course. We already publish a ton of private information on the Internet. Mobile devices also have a ridiculous amount of access to your information: where you are, who you’re talking to and what you say. Being connected to a TerraSwarm — as the name suggests, an Earth-spanning network — may leave people vulnerable in ways we can’t predict.

But it also has the potential to improve everyone’s quality of life. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of this ambitious research project led by campus EECS professor Edward A. Lee.

According to a press release from the TerraSwarm Research Center, sensors would collect data such as “embedded vision, audio, location, movement, temperature and air quality,” and actuators would put that information to work. These things could be used to “direct the control of physical devices in smart buildings, transportation systems, medical systems, security systems, and homes.”

Just think about it: fully automated transportation systems (coupled with Google’s self-driving car), houses that sense when you’re hungry and cook you a meal (maybe we’re taking this too far) and phones that sense when you’re drunk-dialing and call you a jackass.

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Say good-bye

Say good-bye

Anyone who has gotten a visit of Security Systems 2011 on their computer knows how annoying and potentially devastating malware viruses can be. Unfortunately, Cal researchers Adrienne Porter Felt, Matthew Finifter, Erika Chin, Steve Hanna and David Wagner conclude that malware is spreading to mobile phones and will eventually “rival the desktop malware landscape.”

In their study entitled “A Survey of Mobile Malware in the Wild,” the research team analyzed the “incentives” behind 46 pieces of iOS, Android and Symbian malware that spread between January 2009 and June 2011. read more »

Ah yes, it seems to be MacArthur Grant-awardin’ time, again, doesn’t it? You know the drill: Every year, the MacArthur Foundation picks between 20 and 25 “geniuses” to receive $500,000 over the course of five years — with which to do whatever they want. Because people who are that awesome do not need help deciding how to spend their money.

And, once again, we have TWO faculty members reppin’ the Berks, which is double the number from any other academic institution. read more »


By this point, we’ve all more or less come to accept humanity’s not-too-distant fate of miserable slavery at the hands of shiny, self-aware robot overlords. However, in resigning to A.I. control over nuclear arsenals, our minds, etc., it’s easy to lose sight of the little things—like towel folding.

That’s where Cal’s EECS students are thinking ahead. read more »


Just when you thought Berkeley couldn’t get any more prestigious, the annual $500,000 MacArthur genius grants have been announced, and two Berkeley professors were our lucky winners (pocket protectors not included).

Recipient Maneesh Agrawala is an associate professor of EECS; not to be outdone, Lin He is a molecular biologist and assistant MCB professor.

And now that they’ve won all that money, what are they going to do next? Well, forget offshore banking in the Cayman Islands read more »

So maybe becoming an EECS or Math major no longer means choosing an awkward, sexless, and sunshine-deprived existence. In fact, it may just mean you’ll be the one to snag the hot girl at the party, that is, if you, uh, actually go to them.

According to a life-changing new study out of the department of Psychology at UC Davis, women go for more than just good looks (gasp). Apparently, something like survival-of-the-smartest kicks in when a woman meets a man, and she considers how his intelligence level might affect the kind of genes he may pass to their future progeny. read more »