Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
April 21st, 2014

This past weekend, the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC) hosted its second annual Cleanweb Hackathon. This event was a powerful embodiment of BERC’s mission – to connect, engage, and educate its members in order to foster innovation and action; it was a forum for attendees to learn about the trends in cleanweb, learn about basic application development skills, and build connections with each other. After an evening of mingling and a morning of skills training, the 40+ participants (who hailed from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and the greater Bay Area) raced to build web-based applications to address current challenges in energy and water.

Winners of BERC’s 2014 Cleanweb Hackathon

The Hackathon, which was selected as Students for a Smarter Planet project, posed questions across different tracks. Each team selected a track to focus on; one grand prize was awarded for the winner, and individual prizes were awarded within each track. Fueled only by pizza, optimism, and an irrepressible desire to change the world, our teams sought to address these questions:

  • Energy: How can our appliances and devices work for us by saving money and increase the ability of the power grid to make use of intermittent renewable power? Define a new approach to controlling appliances and devices that is responsive to electricity prices and other real-time and predictive data streams (e.g., weather forecasts).  
  • Water: California is an ongoing drought, yet not enough action is being taken by individuals, businesses, and cities to conserve water and lower the collective water footprint of our society! Design a web application or visualization that can lead to better understanding and action on water use in California. Consider both direct water use as well as indirect water use (from our consumption of food and electricity for instance).

Our judges were impressed by the resourcefulness and creativity of the teams. In a matter of hours, they devised innovative ways to meaningfully use energy and water data, employ sensors in entirely new applications, and empower consumers with the data they need to take action on energy and resource issues. And now (drumroll please!), here are the 2014 Cleanweb Hackathon winners:

  • GRAND PRIZE: Smarter Sprinklr - A combination of open source hardware and software to make intelligent home irrigation schedules based on current weather, drought, seasonal, and user-based information.
  • WINNER – WATER: QE Design – Different foods from different places can have the same nutrition, but require vastly different amounts of water. Given all the data available today, what’s the optimal way to eat, to sustain both ourselves and the Earth? QE Design’s solution analyzes USDA and Water Footprint Network data to make diet recommendations.
  • WINNER – ENERGY: Greenvite - The smart, green, social way to organize a meeting and book a conference room with your colleagues. The app analyzes available conference rooms and time slots, and then calculates associated energy use and costs (taking into account weather, HVAC loads, time of day, and other data), so that the least amount of energy is used while saving money.
  • RUNNER-UP – ENERGY: DashPower - The app allows building managers to catalog and forecast energy costs, and compare those to their allotted budget. The app was designed with school facility managers in mind, since energy costs are the 2nd highest line item expenditure for schools after teacher salary.

Please check out our winners’ apps! Although the competition ended this weekend, we hope that these projects will live on (in fact, we’ve got a track record for being the launching pad of cleanweb apps! Check out last year’s winners Watttime and Thermostatly). And while the teams competed for cash prizes, the real winners here are the students and our community. The teams’ innovative yet practical applications inspired us all to consider our everyday use of energy and resources in novel ways.

Bookmark and Share

Our very first IBM Students for a Smarter Planet Blog to kick-start this long-term project on big data analytics for environmental problem!!
On the 5th April, 2014, we finally have a chance to meet with our collaborators on this project, the professional staffs at the Hong Kong Clean Air Network, which is a non-government organization (NGO) that focuses on air quality issues in Hong Kong (and to certain extent those in Mainland China). Air pollution is a serious major problem that has plagued Hong Kong and also increasingly in many cities in Mainland China. This problem requires all levels of involvement from the society, and definitely long-term commitment. Trained as future engineers and computer scientists, we want to do our part as well, no matter how small it is.

The staffs at the Hong Kong Clean Air Network also provide all kinds of air quality monitoring equipments for loan to the public and to encourage the public to know more about the health impacts of air pollution. Truly altruistic bunch of great people!

We learnt a lot about scientific approach to air quality from them, probably things that we would never be able to learn at a university.  We borrowed an air quality monitoring sensor from them for our project. This is actually a product from TSI Inc. Here is the official website for this product: Here are the things we have:


Basically, this sensor can measure the air quality by the amount of fine particulate matter in mg/m3. The sensor can displays real-time aerosol concentration readings and can be recorded at programmable time intervals of 1 sec, 1 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes. The measuring area is the worker breathing zone, or area measurements with a respirable cyclone for this sensor. In order to capture the air quality statistics at the street level, we need to connect the sensor with a tube, and place the mouth of this tube near our noses as shown in the picture below. 


We are so excited to have a first recording soon!

Bookmark and Share
March 24th, 2014

With a slight lull in the coding and application development, we have just begun a complete stop-till-done phase in developing code for the integration framework. We expect to soon complete the first fully functional demonstartion of the SQL-Framework for Business Artifacts using BASQL queries in 2 months time.

The brief lull, was due to our preparation in submitting to a prestigious conference a research paper on this work. Results of acceptance/rejection are due in May – fingers crossed!

Anyway here are technical milestones we achieved as we are several weeks into the app-development process:

1) Creation of Artifacts with specifying Tasks, States and Data Attributes from Command line has been completed. See snapshot below:




2) Editing Artifact Attributes via BASQL Syntax. See snapshot below:



3) Viewing Artifact Content from the Command Prompt. See below:



With the brisk pace, we believe we are right on course to completing the project on time as originally envisaged. Stay tuned – the project only begins to become exciting from now on!

See you soon,

Raymond and Team

Bookmark and Share

IBM scientists are partnering with National Geographic Kids to set a Guinness World Records title for the world’s smallest magazine cover.

You can participate by voting for your favorite National Geographic Kids cover here:

Bookmark and Share
February 27th, 2014

Hi all,

The Business Artifacts team is happy to report an all systems go! We have been successful in representing all aspects of business artifacts in simple 2-D tables that can be manipulated in any leading SQL clients.
To be more precise, we provide a one-to-one mapping of how we have mapped all features of Business Artifacts to the corresponding features in any database client:

The Business Artifact Information Component to the SQL Tables

In Business Artifacts, there is an explicit information component that holds and processe variables along the business process. The variables are defined, updated, retrieved or destroyed as per the requirements in the process flow. These variables include firm process variables that indicate quantity as well as life-cylce variables, corresponding to the state of the Business Artifact.
This component is implemented, by just defining all information components - that is all the attributes and their instances in the traditional database model. For instance, in the above considered business artifact, the information
component is described as under:

/SQL Code /
Create Table Payment_INSA ( ID int , Student_Name string , Accomodation_Rent int ,
Restauration_Rent int , Paid Bool , Retired Bool ) ;

Insert into Payment_INSA values (777 , John , 330 , 230 , ’True ’ , ’ False ’ ) ;
/ Creating Instance /

Tasks in the Business Artifact Business Process Management to (Stored Procedures) Routines in SQL

Tasks in the Business Artifact centred Business Process Management world are various decision making, input and activity centres that manipulate, update and read the information components of the Business Artifacts as well as specify
life-cycle states of the artifacts based either on input activity by an external agent or based on some pre-requisite decision rules that are applied to the state variables of the business artifacts.


These aspects are capable of holding all information possible pertaining to a given business process. As such, we have completed all pre-processing necessary and are beginning coding! This is an exciting phase and we hope to make greater strides in the course of the following month!

A bientot!

Raymond and Team

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe to this category Subscribe to Analytics

ChatClick here to chat!+