Caltech’s Smart Charging Network for Electrical Vehicles


Charging electric vehicles (EVs) can require a substantial amount of electricity (most EVs charge at 7 kilowatts, the equivalent of simultaneously running 70 desktop computers). Steven Low, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, has developed Caltech's adaptive charging network, which uses a smart algorithm to coordinate the charging schedule with the Institute's existing electrical infrastructure. This program helps minimize energy usage and about 30 percent of the electricity at each charging station is from carbon-free renewable sources. [Caltech story]

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Electrical Vehicle Design and Racing


The students in the CS/EE/ME 75 class, Introduction to Multidisciplinary Systems Engineering, invited industry experts to their midterm design review on the evening of February 11, 2016. The students are currently in the manufacturing phase and plan to finish the vehicle frame this week and attach the mounting brackets shortly thereafter. They aim to have a running prototype electrical vehicle by mid-March to get early testing data before refining their design for the upcoming Formula SAE competition. The course is co-taught by Professors Guillaume Blanquart, Azita Emami, and Richard Murray as well as the Executive Director for the Resnick Institute, Neil Fromer. Several students in the course are also members of the Caltech Sustainable Vehicle Club led by undergraduate student Robert Anderson. [Huffpost Education Blog]

Tags: Rob Anderson Guillaume Blanquart Azita Emami Richard Murray Neil Fromer MCE CMS EE energy

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]

Tags: John Doyle Steven Low Adam Wierman EE CMS energy

Professor Gerald Whitham Passes Away


Gerald B. Whitham, Charles Lee Powell Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday, January 26, 2014 at the age of 86. Professor Whitham was a pioneer in the area of nonlinear waves. His research focused on fluid dynamics and the study of wave phenomena, including sonic booms, supersonic flow and shock-wave dynamics, and ocean waves. He was also instrumental in setting up Caltech's applied mathematics program in 1962, which is now part of the Department of Computing and Mathematical Science . [Caltech Obituary] [History of Department]

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Solar Decathlon 2013 Construction is Under Way


Last year a group of students in an engineering project course called Introduction to Multidisciplinary Systems Engineering, taught by Professor Melany Hunt, began planning for the Dynamic Augmented Living Environment (DALE), a joint SCI-Arc/Caltech entry in the 2013 Solar Decathlon competition. This type of multidisciplinary and collaborative experience is important for Caltech students, notes Hunt. "Engineering students need experiences in which they design, create, build, and test," she says. "They also should have opportunities in which they work as part of a team. Most engineering projects require multiple perspectives with input coming from a range of individuals with different expertise and vision." [Caltech Release] [LA Times Article]

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Reconsidering the Global Thermostat


Doug MacMartin, Senior Research Associate in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and colleagues have shown that the outcome of geoengineering can be tunable. Geoengineering is the concept of how the planet's climate could be manipulated to counteract the effects of global warming. Using computer modeling, they have shown that varying the amount of sunlight deflected away from the earth by season and by region can significantly improve the parity of the situation. [Caltech Release]

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Clean-Energy Research Accelerates


Caltech clean-energy research is accelerating thanks to the renovation of the Earle M. Jorgensen Laboratory. Transformed into a cutting-edge facility for energy science, the lab unites two powerhouse programs: the Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP). "Our researchers are working with Caltech's chemists and chemical engineers to challenge the status quo and translate scientific discovery into clean-energy innovations that will directly benefit society for generations to come," says Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech Release]

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Professor Kitaev Receives $3M Fundamental Physics Prize


Alexei Y. Kitaev, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Computer Science, and Mathematics, has received the $3 million Yuri Milner Fundamental Physics Prize. The prize citation recognizes Professor Kitaev's "theoretical idea of implementing robust quantum memories and fault-tolerant quantum computation using topological quantum phases with anyons and unpaired Majorana modes."  This new prize is the most lucrative academic prize in the world and Professor Kitaev is one of only nine scientists to receive it this year. [New York Times Article] [The Guardian Article] [Caltech Release]

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Melissa Yeung Wins DOE Fellowship for Computational Science


Graduate student Melissa Yeung, working with Professor Mathieu Desbrun, is one of 21 students nationally to receive a Department of Energy (DOE) 2012 Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. Yeung studies an area of mathematics known as discrete differential geometry, which has diverse applications in such fields as engineering, computer animation, product design, and medicine. [Caltech Feature]

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Finalist for Library Senior Thesis Prize


Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student Robert Karol, who is also minoring in Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems, was the finalist for the 2012 Friends of Caltech Libraries Senior Thesis Prize. His thesis is entitled “Peak Seeking Controller for Real Time Mobile Satellite Tracking” and was written under the direction of Professor Richard Murray and Mechanical Engineering alumnus Gunnar Ristroph (BS '06) of IJK Controls.

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