Date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm
Location: DC 1302
University of Waterloo
Cheriton School of Computer Science
"Information Systems and Science for Energy"
The generation, distribution, and consumption of energy lie at the foundations of modern civilization. Traditional energy systems are centralized and carbon-intensive, with minimal energy storage, infrequent monitoring, and inefficient models of consumption. In contrast, future energy systems will incorporate tens of millions of stochastic renewable-energy sources and vastly more storage. Unlike the consumers of today — information poor, control poor, and energy rich — driven by the availability of pervasive communication, control, measurement, and computation, future consumers will be information rich, control rich, and energy frugal. Moreover, future energy systems are likely to have an architecture that resembles the Internet, i.e., large-scale, loosely-coupled, distributed, and heterogeneous. My research hypothesis, therefore, is that technologies and concepts originally developed for the Internet will play a key role in future energy systems.
Given this overall motivation, the focus of my research group is on three disruptive technologies: electric vehicles, storage, and distributed renewable energy sources, especially solar energy. We have studied these elements in the context of smart homes and buildings, and in the distribution network. In this talk, I will touch on some examples of our work and discuss the potential for computer science researchers to tackle open problems in energy systems.