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Turing Lecture: Enabling a Sustainable Energy Infrastructure - a role for Inform

Speaker: David E. Culler UC Berkeley
Time: 2011-09-29 14:30-2011-09-29 15:30
Venue: Lecture Hall, FIT Building
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From our vantage point of 150 years industrial (r)evolution, as we contemplate how to arrest the rise in global temperature we have the opportunity and the responsibility to ask how we can bring Information Technology, which has brought such advances in productivity and performance, to bear on efficiency and sustainability. The problems of energy, climate, and sustainability are not crisp, clean technology challenges; they are extremely complex systems challenges. Cyber-Physical Systems challenges. In this talk, we explore how to apply lessons of the Internet, i.e., design principles for building distributed and robust communications infrastructures, to develop an architecture for a cooperative energy network that promotes reduction in use and penetration of renewable sources. We explore how pervasive information can improve energy production, distribution and use. We investigate how design techniques for scalable, power proportional computing infrastructures can translate to the design of a more scalable and flexible electric infrastructure, encouraging efficient use, integrating local or non-dispatchable generation, and managing demand through awareness of energy availability and use over time. Our approach is to develop a cyber overlay on the energy distribution system in its physical manifestations: machine rooms, buildings, neighborhoods and regional grids. A scaled series of experimental energy networks is being constructed to demonstrate monitoring, negotiation protocols, control algorithms and Intelligent Power Switches integrating information and energy flows in a datacenter, building, and campus. We seek to understand broadly how information enables energy efficiencies: through intelligent matching of loads to sources, via various levels of aggregation, power proportional design, and by managing how and when energy is delivered to demand, adapted in time and form to available supply. Bi-directional information exchange is integrated everywhere that power is transferred.

Short Bio:

David Culler is a Professor and Chair of Computer Science, and Associate Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and Faculty Director of i4Energy at the University of California, Berkeley.  Professor Culler received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in 1980, and M.S. and Ph.D. from MIT in 1985 and 1989.  He has been on the faculty at Berkeley since 1989, where he holds the Howard Friesen Chair.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an ACM Fellow, an IEEE Fellow and was selected for ACMs Sigmod Outstanding Achievement Award, Scientific American's 'Top 50 Researchers', and Technology Review's '10 Technologies that Will Change the World'.  He received the NSF Presidential Young Investigators award in 1990 and the NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1992.  He is co-PI on the NSF LoCal and ActionWebs CyberPhysical Systems projects and was the Principal Investigator of the DARPA Network Embedded Systems Technology project that created the open platform for wireless sensor networks based on TinyOS, and was co-founder and CTO of Arch Rock Corporation and the founding Director of Intel Research, Berkeley.  He has done seminal work on energy efficiency, networks of small, embedded wireless devices, planetary-scale internet services, parallel computer architecture, parallel programming languages, and high performance communication, and including TinyOS, PlanetLab, Networks of Workstations (NOW), and Active Messages. He has served on Technical Advisory Boards for several companies, including People Power, Inktomi, ExpertCity (now CITRIX on-line), and DoCoMo USA. He co-chairs the IETF working group on Routing on Low Power and Lossy Networks.