We're pleased to announce a new monthly seminar on Sustainability and Computer Science, to be held the second Friday of each month.
Our goals are to create a forum for discussion of ways in which computer science can and will contribute to sustainability, energy, and the environment, and to foster greater consciousness, conversation, and collaboration in this area. We hope to cast a wide net: topics will include both computer science research relevant to sustainability challenges, as well as research areas in sustainability, energy and the environment which may provide fertile ground for novel work involving computational thinking. Talks may also present mature research in sustainability -- both to increase our general sustainability "literacy" and to generate discussion about how computer science could help advance the work. In all of these areas, we look forward to collaborating with other groups on campus.
While viewed from a computer science perspective, this seminar is deliberately--and necessarily-- interdisciplinary, and we invite both speakers and participants from all areas. We also hope to foster some "meta discussions:" exploring opportunities for collaboration, funding, outreach, and so forth. Please do let us know if you would like to speak in the near future.
21 September 2010
Modeling and Optimization for City Bike Sharing Systems
Robert C. Hampshire (Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy, Heinz College)
19 February 2010
Environmentally progressive architectural thinking has adopted an attitude of compliance and exchange between the natural and built environment through increased capacity for self-regulation. This practice is a divergent path from the prevalent condition of building barriers between the human and the environment.
*** THIS MONTH ONLY ** DATE AND TIME CHANGE FOR TALK ***
Location: Rashid Auditorium, 4401 Gates Hillman Complex
6 November 2009
On average, it takes people 30-40 minutes each way to travel to work in the US, and the vast majority of them travel in a single-occupant car. The goal of this project is to understand both the positive and negative aspects of commuting, and to design a ridesharing service concept that will leverage technology to overcome obstacles that such services have traditionally encountered. We conducted semi-structured interviews with thirty commuters in the Carnegie Mellon University community, including solo drivers, carpoolers and bus riders. We observed that convenience, cost, commute time, and personal preferences motivate commuting choices. Once commuters establish a routine, they tend to continue commuting using their chosen method. We followed up with an online survey on commuting choice and collected responses from 240 participants. We found our previously observed motivations remained significant in the larger population. However, we observed that people who most valued convenience and flexibility tended to be least motivated by cost. We did not find a significant correlation between commuting preference and standard personality types. People characterize their best commute times when they are experiencing "me-time," "traffic-free time," or "routine and ritual time." Based on our interview and survey results and literature review, we developed 13 ride sharing service concepts and tested them in a series of focus groups. We refined the most popular concepts and developed a paper prototype that we are currently testing in a laboratory study. In this presentation we will discuss the motivation for this project and detail our findings to date.
09 October 2009
Customizing Commute Ecology: a community-empowered road for electric vehicles
While the auto industry continues to make incremental progress toward competitive electric vehicles, we pose a strategic question: can we effect disruptive change in the economics of electric vehicles by improving the systems-level interaction of a vehicle with each unique commuter? This talk will motivate and describe ChargeCar, a new CREATE Lab project that combines direct community engagement with a hybrid supercapacitor-battery energy management system to increase EV efficiency while decreasing battery duty. We will describe a prototype hybrid system, a national urban commute warehousing program, a local economic development strategy, and early analytical results based on energy models and actual commute data. Following the talk and discussion we will offer rides in an electric car at the Gates Highbay!
11 September 2009
Wind Power: Optimization at All Levels
Of all the renewable energy sources, wind exhibits the greatest promise: production costs per kilowatt-hour are close to those of fossil energy; potential wind power far exceeds total U.S. power demand; wind is rapidly becoming a proven technology as illustrated by countries such as Spain, Germany and Denmark deriving 10-30% of their electricity from wind farms alone. Yet, many challenges remain: the capital cost of wind farms is large; integrating wind sources into the power grid requires substantial upgrades; wind power is variable and power storage and buffering is quite difficult.
The above help to drive down costs further so as to ensure wind practicality, and to provide sufficient and balanced electrical power where needed. Moreover, the ability to model, analyze and optimize wind projects including “what-if” analyses can provide a trusted third-party evaluator for the power industry, vis-à-vis vested-interest wind turbine vendors and providers of other power generation technologies.