Build I.T. and They Will Come


When Adam Wierman joined Caltech’s faculty in 2007, he set out to find a new challenge. “I wanted to do something about a problem of fundamental importance,” he says. “Climate is the problem.” To help clean up computing, he decided to design new algorithms for the management of data centers, communication networks, and our power grid. He hoped to find ways to improve the energy efficiency of I.T. infrastructure. But these efforts lead to Jevons paradox—a variation of “If you build it, they will come.” Economist William Jevons wrote in 1865, “It is wholly a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to a diminished consumption.” In other words, as people like Wierman make computing and the grid more efficient, we use more, out-spending the savings. [Breakthrough story]

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AWS and Caltech Partner to Accelerate AI and Machine Learning


From autonomous robotics to state of-the-art computer vision, Caltech and Amazon have a lot in common, including the belief that pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will not only disrupt industries, but it will fundamentally change the nature of scientific research. As part of this two-year renewable research collaboration, Amazon will provide both financial support, in the form of funding for graduate fellowships, and computing resources, in the form of AWS Cloud credits, to accelerate the work of faculty and students at Caltech in these areas. [AWS AI Blog]

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Writing Center Expands Tutoring to Include Assistance with STEM Assignments


Caltech's Hixon Writing Center team has expanded to include two STEM writing specialists, Christina Birch who has a PhD in biological engineering from MIT and Erin Burkett who has a PhD in geophysics from UC Davis. Hixon director Susanne Hall describes, “now a student in any scientific discipline can come into the writing center and get help on their academic writing from a tutor with firsthand experience of the styles and genres of scientific communication." The center has also begun a partnership with the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) to bring STEM writing instruction directly into classrooms. "Communication is of fundamental importance for students today, but it's hard to learn in isolation," Professor Adam Wierman says. "Being able to partner with Hixon to embed writing and communication into my course allowed us to teach students at the moment they needed it.” [Caltech story] [ENGenious snap shot on new EAS course E111]

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2017 ASCIT Teaching Award


Adam Wierman, Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences; Executive Officer for Computing and Mathematical Sciences; Director, Information Science and Technology, has been chosen by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) to receive a 2017 ASCIT Teaching Awards. These awards recognize individuals who inspire and motivate students, are approachable, and present course material effectively and efficiently. [Caltech story]

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Best Student Paper at Greenmetrics


Graduate student Navid Azizan Ruhi, working with Professor Wierman, has won the Best Student Paper at the 2016 Greenmetrics Workshop for his paper, Opportunities for Price Manipulation by Aggregators in Electricity Markets. The objective of the workshop is to explore how improvements to or new uses of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can improve the environmental, economic and/or social sustainability of ICT systems, networks, and applications and of non-ICT processes. [Read the paper]

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Xiaoqi Ren Receives Resnick Institute Research Fellowship


Graduate student Xiaoqi Ren, advised by Professor Adam Wierman, has won a Resnick Institute Research Fellowship. At Caltech, her research focuses on optimization of today's large scale data centers, including scheduling, energy usage and sustainability, and market design. A major focus of her work is developing algorithms and markets to encourage participation of data centers in demand response programs, allowing large scale data centers to serve as virtual energy storage for the grid.

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Nand Kishore Receives 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Computing and Mathematical Sciences student Nand Kishore, mentored by Professor Adam Wierman, is a recipient of the 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is passionate about using machine learning to help solve some of the most complex problems in the world. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

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Next-Generation Distribution Infrastructure


Caltech’s smart grid team led by Professors John DoyleSteven Low, and Adam Wierman along with their collaborators have been awarded $3.9 million for an Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) Network Optimized Distributed Energy System (NODES) project entitled "Real-time Optimization and Control of Next-Generation Distribution Infrastructure."  NODES is ARPA-E’s new program focused on enabling more than 50% usage of renewable power on the grid. The Caltech team will develop a comprehensive distribution network management framework that unifies real-time voltage and frequency control at the home/distributed energy resource controllers’ level with network-wide energy management at the utility/aggregator level. [Learn more]

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Toward a Smarter Grid


The power network of the future—also known as the smart grid—will have to be much more dynamic and responsive than the current electric grid, handling tremendous loads while incorporating intermittent energy production from renewable resources such as wind and solar, all while ensuring that when you or I flip a switch at home or work, the power still comes on without fail. An interdisciplinary group of engineers, economists, mathematicians, and computer scientists, including Professors Steven Low and Adam Wierman are working to develop the devices, systems, theories, and algorithms to help guide this historic transformation and make sure that it is properly managed. [Caltech feature]

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Taokun Zheng Receives 2015 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Computing and Mathematical Sciences student Taokun (Xander) Zheng, mentored by Professors Alan Barr and Adam Wierman, is a recipient of the 2015 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Xander is working on a network project utilizing photographic media. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to the engineering student with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

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