EAGER: Centralized Control of Large-Scale Distributed Sensor/Actuator Networks: Self-organizing Amorphous Facades
Lead PI:
Nikolaus Correll
Abstract
This project, investigating active building facades that proactively contribute to energy conservation by changing their opacity and air permeability as a function of environmental and user parameters, promises to contribute strongly to both the cyber and physical sciences. Often energy is wasted when parts of a building are heated or cooled, but are not actually used, or when they are actively cooled if simply opening a window would suffice. The proposed "Self-Organizing Amorphous Facades" (SOAF) consist of a large number of identical cells that can each change their opacity and air permeability, sense light, temperature, and occupancy, and communicate with each other in a distributed collective. For complex cyber physical systems, this promises to provide a novel design methodology that is potentially applicable to a large class of systems and, therefore, will result in foundational knowledge of use to the community at large. This high-risk, high-reward project integrates ideas from computer science and engineering, with a little human physiology and environmental science thrown in, to develop new theoretical foundations for the design, validation, and improvement of coordination strategies for multi-agent robotic systems. The project's intellectual merit lies in novel algorithms that allow one to take advantage of distributed computation to drastically reduce the dimensionality of the data coming from the system, and novel algorithms that turn low-dimensional control data to the system into high-dimensional control signals. In particular, this research focuses on distributed algorithms that can identify regions that share similar spatio-temporal data, distributed algorithms that recognize patterns and gestures in spatio-temporal data sets, and distributed algorithms that automatically derive distributed policies for global control signals on temperature and light. Broader Impacts: The direct impact of this project will be huge potential reduction in the energy footprint of modern buildings by active lighting and ventilation control. A related impact is the introduction of novel ways of using space using truly reconfigurable walls. Due to its interdisciplinary nature spanning computer science and civil engineering together with its positive environment implications, this project is likely to be attractive to students with a broad range of backgrounds and interests. It will lead to educational modules that let students explore energy, heat transfer and solar gains in a building using sensors, wireless technologies, and algorithms, and introduce students to the challenges of complex cyber-physical systems. The PI proposes outreach to women and minorities and suggests a novel mechanism of comic distribution via HowToons.com that will make technical results and environmental impact of CPS accessible to a wide audience.
Nikolaus Correll
<p>Nikolaus is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 2009, with joint appointments in Aerospace, Electrical and Materials engineering. Nikolaus obtained his PhD from EPFL and did a 2-year post-doc at MIT CSAIL. He is the reciepient of a 2012 NSF CAREER and NASA Early Career Faculty fellowship. &nbsp;</p>
Performance Period: 03/15/2012 - 02/28/2014
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Number: 1153158