Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Energy
April 21st, 2014
23:33
 

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.

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Greetings! I’m Ted, and I’ll be one of your guides for the next two semesters as my team and I strive to build the ultimate compost solution for the home gardener.

First, an introduction to our program at North Carolina State University. All four of us are seniors in the Electrical Engineering program, specializing in the fairly new Renewable Electric Energy Systems concentration.

From the Electrical Engineering department’s website:

The new concentration evolved to address the need to create a national power system capable of integrating geographically distributed renewable energy and advanced storage systems that will interface with the existing electric utility systems to serve the country’s future electric energy demands.

We’re fortunate that NC State’s Centennial Campus has been blessed with a myriad of resources, from the National Science Foundation- funded FREEDM Center to on-campus businesses who are also contributing to research, with companies cutting-edge companies such as ABB, Inc; Advanced Energy Corporation; Sungard; and WISERsystems, Inc just down the road and sharing funding, research, and even talent with the University.

CenCam_NewMain1

Of course, any post about technology and North Carolina State University would be severely lacking without at least a little bit of bragging about our new library as well.

Hunt_Library_Exterior_2

 

Opened in January of 2013, the James B. Hunt Library has already several awards for sustainability and design innovation. As engineering students, it’s become more than just a place to do homework and study for exams; with over 100 study rooms open to reservation and numerous specialized computer tools and resources, it’s become almost a home away from home for all of us.

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February 26th, 2014
15:12
 

Hello IBM, thank you so much for accepting us into the Students for a Smarter Planet Program! Our team is very excited to join all of the other incredible teams on this website.

My name is Josh, and I am the financial team leader for Apparatus X, an adaptable tool trailer capable of expanding into a workspace, creating a mobile construction site that could be relocated to the site of a natural disaster. Our team is composed of about twenty Architecture and Engineering students at The Pennsylvania State University. We hope to complete the project by the end of this semester, after which it will travel to the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans. Once it arrives, it must expand into a full workspace, storing a wide variety of tools. The trailer will act as a community workspace, facilitating the engagement and education necessary to rebuild a damaged area. The trailer will also be entirely self-sustainable, generating its own power with an array of solar panels on its roof, and using a rainwater collection and purification system to sustainably and efficiently provide water. This system also serves a didactic purpose, demonstrating the possibility to live a green lifestyle. Finally, the trailer must also serve as a micro-living unit, supporting a single resident. The image below shows Apparatus X after it has fully deployed, exhibiting its expandability and multiple work areas.

ApparatusX

 

Apparatus X is divided into three equal sections, displayed in the image below. The first section is the live space, which will contain a kitchen, bathroom, and bed for the resident of the vehicle. The next section is the flex and design space, which will provide a social area for collaborative design. The final area is a work area that provides work surfaces as well as storage space for tools.

Diagram

 

Thank you again for accepting us into your program! We are very excited to post updates on our progress, and learn about the projects that all of the other teams are working on!

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February 11th, 2014
10:16
 

Hello there! Coming up a bit late but now we’re rolling! We are designing a more efficient and economical power conservation solution.
If you were asked about the major power problems faced by consumers in a good number of developing countries like Nigeria, you would mention several things including the problem of inadequate power, with the consumption of the available portion being grossly mismanaged.
“Why then spend so much on electricity when the power consumption management can be made smarter?”
We are unraveling the mystery behind a smarter power ecosystem by designing a smart power monitor. It intends to leverage an android based application that interfaces with an intelligent electrical power consumption monitor over an ad hoc wireless network. The monitor manages all power outlets, isolates unusual power consumption and performs real time switching of electrical appliances. The monitor has the capability of intelligently determining which devices require power based on preferences and expected lack of utilization (Wendy mentioned this too!).
So far, we have developed a scheme for monitoring every power outlet using a low power microcontroller circuit. The data acquired is transmitted over wireless network through a gateway to the android device for monitoring and observation.
Right now, we are focused on the circuit design, microprocessor programming and Andriod application development.
Subsequently, we would provide updates on the progress made as we keep speculating, studying, designing and creating. Be sure to keep tabs on us.

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October 18th, 2013
7:14
 

Big Data Use Cases, Erman Akdogan

Big Data Use Cases

Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. It has been the buzzword of the last couple years, and many businesses today want to “Get Started with Big Data”.

When I start discussing with clients what they want to do with big data, more often than not I get puzzled looks. It is important to have the preparedness to “get started with big data” by having:

  • Pinpointed a line of business in the company to get started with the use cases
  • Identified use cases that serves a true business needs within that line of business
  • Verified that there’s indeed large amounts of meaningful data available to support the use cases

Above is the snapshot of the mindmap showing some sample use cases. You can download the original mindmap from the links at the original post.

 

 

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