Visible to the public CRII: NeTS: Enabling Demand Response from Cloud Data Centers -- from Sustainable IT to IT for SustainabilityConflict Detection Enabled

Project Details
Lead PI:Zhenhua Liu
Performance Period:05/01/15 - 04/30/18
Institution(s):SUNY at Stony Brook
Sponsor(s):National Science Foundation
Award Number:1464388
642 Reads. Placed 356 out of 803 NSF CPS Projects based on total reads on all related artifacts.
Abstract: It is now recognized that cloud data centers are a significant consumer of energy resources and a substantial source of greenhouse gas emission. On the other hand, the intermittency and uncertainty of renewable energy present a daunting operating challenge for the electricity grid. The key idea behind this CRII: Cyber-Physical Systems project is that these two challenges are in fact symbiotic: data centers can be virtual batteries for the electricity grid. Specifically, data centers are large loads, but are also flexible. If the electricity grid can call on the flexibilities of data centers via appropriate demand response programs, this will be a crucial tool for easing the incorporation of renewable energy into the electricity grid. Unfortunately, despite the great potential, the current reality is that data centers perform little demand response. This project aims at the interdisciplinary challenges of enabling demand response from cloud data centers to realize the societal benefits. The overarching goal of this project is to develop an intellectual framework to understand and guide the realization of demand response from cloud data centers, to address engineering and economic challenges in order to manage the daunting risk. This project will first quantify the potential economic and environmental benefits of demand response from cloud data centers. The quantification includes the societal cost savings and emission reductions from networked data centers through geographical load balancing, and the impacts of demand response taxonomy. Built upon the first thrust, this project will continue to tackle the interdisciplinary challenges of both local control algorithm design and global market design for data center demand response in order to facilitate their participation in various demand response programs. The researchers will study prediction-based pricing design and analysis, demand response program design based on optimization decomposition, and distributed online algorithm design for risk management and distributed control. The results of this project will, at the societal level, help utility companies and load serving entities realize the great potential that lies in the Cloud, and, furthermore, design demand response programs that provide right incentives for data center operators to participate. At a local level, this project will help guide the management of geographically distributed data centers in participating in the right demand response programs. The control algorithms and demand response programs, as well as the methodology, can be applied beyond data centers. This research will create new knowledge in distributed online algorithm design and optimization-based market design. Additionally, this project will help design an interdisciplinary course Sustainable IT and IT for Sustainability. Personnel involved in this project, graduates and undergraduates, will receive innovation experiences through the algorithm design, analysis, implementation, and testing.