News & Events

Sutardja Center Announces Partnership with Jacobs Institute

Over 80 people gathered today in the newly built Jacobs Hall, which recently opened its doors in Fall 2015 as the new home of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, to announce a partnership between the Sutardja Center and the Jacobs Institute. By combining the Sutardja Center’s expertise in techno-centric entrepreneurship and the Jacobs Institute’s knowledge of user experience and design, the collaboration hopes to achieve more innovative project outcomes for students and partners.
The event also introduced the Sutardja Center’s new Global Innovation Partner program. The five global partners that are currently participating in the program include PhilDev (Philippines), Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Chile), Shantou University (China) and Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (Korea). Representatives from PhilDev, Chile and UFMG were in attendance and received certificates recognizing them as key contributors for Global Innovation between their university and UC Berkeley. Attendees also included the Dean of the College of Engineering, Shankar Sastry, Jacobs Institute Faculty Director, David Dornfield, and the Sutardja Center’s Chief Scientist and Founding Director, Ikhlaq Sidhu.

Bindiya Vakil-Convergence of Technology and Economic/Social Dynamics and how the new environment is Transforming Global Supply Chain Risk Management, Dec 7

Many of the most important economic/business and social issues and challenges of our time have direct implications for supply chain risk and the need for resiliency. They include globalization, climate change, cyber security, social connectedness, CSR and compliance. At the same time, all of the most important technology forces of our time -- what Gartner calls the “Nexus of Forces” (social/mobile, big data/analytics, cloud, IoT/IoE) -- are converging to unleash new and exciting SCRM solution possibilities and business value propositions.

The collision of today’s most important economic/business and social trends with the “Nexus of (technology) Forces”, has created the perfect, disruptive super storm for supply chain risk management stakeholders.

In this presentation, Bindiya Vakil describes these forces and how their convergence is resulting in the transformation of how risk is understood and managed. She concludes that this convergence also results in the business imperative to act now to not only mitigate the near-term financial and business continuity risks associated with disruptions events, security breaches and compliance challenges, but build resiliency strategies to increase brand and shareholder value, and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Javad Lavaei Joins Berkeley IEOR

IEOR is proud to welcome Javad Lavaei to the faculty this year. Javad’s work in control theory, optimization, and power will be critical to addressing one of the biggest challenges for our future: How can we best meet the power demands for our planet? Currently, most energy is generated from fossil fuels — a limited resource and large contributor to global climate change. Supplanting fossil fuel sources with renewable energy is a big part of the solution, but for Javad, the answer begins with conserving energy by delivering power to consumers more efficiently.

“The main challenge is that supply should be equal to demand. I cannot produce some amount of power and ask the consumer to use half of it,” remarked Javad. Because there is currently no way to store large amounts of energy efficiently, any power generated must immediately be delivered to consumers — or be wasted.

“If I want to use power here, should I buy it from LA or get it from San Francisco? One might be cheaper than the other. The basic idea is — how can we make the grid more efficient, optimized, and reliable — and do it every 5 minutes,” said Javad. By developing advanced optimization techniques combined with domain-specific knowledge in power systems, Javad’s algorithms help efficiently solve large-scale nonlinear resource allocation problems needed to ensure an efficient, reliable and cost-effective way of generating, dispatching and delivering electricity.

Beyond designing algorithms to optimally deliver power, Javad’s work in control theory will be essential to making a renewable energy future possible. In a traditional power system, the supply of power is centralized — coming from a nuclear or coal plant, for example. As adoption of solar panels and wind turbines increase, the power supply becomes more decentralized, which creates new challenges for controlling the delivery of power.

“Having a modest number of solar panels and wind turbines [in the system] is okay because that is not a game changer, but if everyone is using a solar panel, the supply part is very random. And the question is how can we make sure that this is not random — that it is following demand,” said Javad. That supply from renewables is highly variable makes sense. What happens when a cloud suddenly blocks the sun in Berkeley or it’s an especially windy day in Minnesota? Javad’s research in control theory focuses on how the system can adapt to meet demand under these uncertain conditions.

And if these challenges do not sound like enough, there is at least one more for Javad to consider when architecting control systems — security. “If we do some type of control over the internet or communication network… what happens if someone tries to mess with it and tamper with the data? People have different incentives to do this. Some people want to take the grid down, some people might be suppliers that want to manipulate the price. So what kind of algorithm can I use to detect tampering with data and also take action against it?”

In a world increasingly reliant on technology — and the power that drives it — Javad’s work will be indispensible to meeting the energy demands of the future. ■ 

For more information about Javad, visit

Lee Schruben Keynote Speaker at BPD Process Analytics Symposium

Professor Lee Schruben was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Biomanufacturing and Process Development (BPD) Process Analytics Symposium hosted by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center where he delivered his talk titled "The Dastardly D's of Data".


My working title for this presentation was “The A,B,C’s of Data Analytics”, but I got stuck at D; ultimately, I had to change the title. I had considered: Dynamic (data changes over time); Dependent (independent sampling, really?); Distorted (measurement and definition errors); Deluge (Big Noise); Doctored (robust estimation); Deleted (censoring); Dangerous (profiling); Damaged (translation and transmission losses); Discrete (two meanings); Distracting; Devious; Deceptive, Disingenuous… and we probably call it “data” because it’s Dated (old the instant it exists). Hopefully, the audience can suggest less disparaging data dimensions beginning with the letter D to help me move beyond my alliterative rut toward “Z-values”.

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