Iris Z. Liu, a senior student in Computer Science advised by Mathieu Desbrun and conducting research with Adam Wierman, is the recipient of the 2014 Bhansali Prize. The Bhansali Prize is awarded to an undergraduate student for outstanding research in Computer Science in the current academic year.
With increased incorporation of renewable energy in the energy grid, energy supply becomes more intermittent. As energy demands increase, demand peak periods become more problematic for energy providers. These problems of fluctuating supply and demand necessitate demand response programs. Iris’ research with Professor Adam Wierman focuses on data centers as a particularly promising industry for demand response. Through a series of simulations, she has shown that data centers provide as much (or even more) flexibility as large-scale storage when incentivized correctly. She has compared the voltage violations and generation costs of data centers versus large-scale storage, given a particular network, demands, and loads. Through this research, she was able to highlight the potential for using data centers as demand response resources.