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NSF Supports Collaborative Cyber-Enabled Research to Advance Sustainability
[December 18, 2013]

NSF Supports Collaborative Cyber-Enabled Research to Advance Sustainability

(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 -- The National Science Foundation issued the following news release: The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded more than $12.5 million in grants to 17 research groups spanning 15 states, each targeting important societal challenges that can be addressed through computing and communication technologies. The two- to four-year grants will allow researchers to plan, prototype, test and build capacity for new models, technologies and tools to increase sustainability.

Advances in computing and information technology are essential to addressing the global challenge of environmental sustainability. Computational and data-enabled techniques, such as simulation and modeling, sensor technology and machine learning, enable researchers to better understand the complexity of the environment and to deliver solutions to achieve sustainability.

"From tiny, low-power sensors able to monitor and transmit information about the movement and quality of rivers to powerful supercomputers that incorporate petabytes of data to model weather, cyber-enabled technologies have the potential to greatly improve our understanding and management of natural and man-made systems," said Farnam Jahanian, head of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at NSF.

NSF's Cyber-Enabled Sustainability Science and Engineering (CyberSEES) program aims to realize this potential by advancing interdisciplinary research in which the science and engineering of sustainability are enhanced by new advances in computing. It supports research collaborations that bring together computer, communications and control experts with researchers in agriculture, power infrastructure and transportation to develop innovative ideas and prototype systems to preserve the planet.

The program complements the broader NSF-wide SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability) effort, begun in 2012, that funds projects related to hazard mitigation, ocean stewardship and Arctic management, among other topics. All SEES solicitations share a common vision of creating a research and innovation infrastructure that contributes to a sustainable future globally.

The CyberSEES awards range from $300,000 to $1.2 million and support teams of researchers, in some cases across several universities.

"CyberSEES brings together researchers working in computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering with researchers in the geological sciences, biological sciences and emerging areas of sustainability and power systems," said Phillip Regalia, the NSF program officer who oversees the effort. "The CyberSEES program spans many areas because sustainability touches everything on the planet." Among the recipients of the first CyberSEES awards are groups developing integrated management systems for data centers, electric grids and transportation infrastructure; teams working to improve crop production using underground wireless sensors connected to irrigation systems; researchers developing new ways to optimize and visualize ecosystem management in order to facilitate decision-making; teams using machine learning to better predict precipitation based on multiple sources of information; and even consumer-oriented projects, such as one that diagnoses faults in HVAC systems.

"Our new CyberSEES grant will allow continuing progress towards the goal of cyber-enabled sustainable agriculture through inter-disciplinary research involving sensor electronics, antenna design for underground placement, nano-scale technologies for sensing and energy-harvesting, and computing and networking science," said Ratnesh Kumar, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State.

Working with electrical engineers and agronomists, he is developing an integrated system to better manage the nitrogen cycle in soils to maximize plant production while minimizing pollution through runoff.

"There is a huge benefit to society in this work, which strives to create more sustainable ways to power our lives," said Diana Marculescu, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She leads a team of researchers based at CMU, The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State that aims to develop climate-aware hydropower generation able to maximize the energy harvested from rivers, while avoiding disasters like floods.

According to Marculescu, "Small footprint hydroelectric projects could create enough low-carbon energy to power an economy the size of Virginia while minimizing impact to the environment and surrounding communities." As computing and communications technologies get cheaper, smaller and more capable, scientists are finding innovative ways of incorporating them into all aspects of life. Through the CyberSEES program, NSF hopes to embed these emerging technologies in ways that will have a positive environmental and social impact.

2013 CyberSEES Awards Climate-aware renewable hydropower generation and disaster avoidance ( Principal Investigators: Diana Marculescu, Carnegie-Mellon University; Seth Blumsack, Penn State; Ben Hodges, The University of Texas at Austin; Paul Bogdan, University of Southern California Additional Collaborators: Radu Marculescu, CMU In-situ, wireless, energy-harvesting soil moisture/nutrient sensors for managing agricultural resources & environmental impact ( Principal Investigator: Ratnesh Kumar Additional Collaborators: Fernando Miguez, Michael Castellano, Robert Weber, Liang Dong, Iowa State University Data integration for urban metabolism ( Principal Investigator: Maria Cruz Additional Collaborators: Ning Ai, Sybil Derrible, Thomas Theis, Samuel Dorevitch, University of Illinois at Chicago A new framework for crowd-sourced green infrastructure design ( Principal Investigators: Lawrence Band, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Barbara Minsker, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Additional Collaborators: Jack Snoeyink, Mary Whitton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; William Sullivan, Arthur Schmidt, Jong Lee, Kenton McHenry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Fault detection, diagnosis and prognosis of HVAC systems ( Principal Investigator: Krishna Pattipati, University of Connecticut Additional Collaborators: Peter Luh, Robert Gao, Bing Wang, George Kuchel, University of Connecticut Towards sustainable aquatic ecosystems: A new adaptive sampling and data-enabled monitoring and modeling framework ( Principal Investigator: Xiaobo Tan, Michigan State University Additional Collaborators: Elena Litchman, Hayder Radha, Mantha Phanikumar, Guoliang Xing, Michigan State University Imaging polarimetry in urban environments to quantify manmade aerosols ( Principal Investigator: Meredith Kupinski, University of Arizona Additional Collaborators: Russell Chipman, Ara Arabyn, Leslie Tolbert, University of Arizona; David Diner, California Institute of Technology Coupon incentive-based risk aware demand response in smart grid ( Principal Investigator: Pravin Varaiya, University of California-Berkeley; Le Xie, Texas Engineering Experiment Station Additional Collaborators: Evdokia Nikolova, Texas Engineering Experiment Station Enabling sustainable civil infrastructure using interactive formal analytics for structural health diagnosis ( Principal Investigator: Ehab Al-Shaer, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Additional Collaborators: Mary Lou Maher, Matthew Whelan, Xiaoyu Wang, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Precipitation estimation from multi-source information using advanced machine learning ( Principal Investigator: Soroosh Sorooshian, University of California-Irvine Additional Collaborators: Xiaogang Gao, Kuolin Hsu, Alexander Ihler, University of California-Irvine Hierarchical energy management for sustainable residential and mobility ecosystems ( Principal Investigator: Giorgio Rizzoni, Ohio State UniversityAdditional Collaborators: Wei Zhang, Ohio State University Computing and visualizing optimal policies for ecosystem management ( Principal Investigator: Thomas Dietterich, Oregon State UniversityAdditional Collaborators: Claire Montgomery, Ronald Metoyer, Heidi Albers, Mark Crowley, Oregon State University Modeling for sustainability in a changing environment: Emerging infectious diseases ( Principal Investigator: Carrie Manore, Tulane University Additional Collaborators: J. "Mac" Hyman, Tulane University; Christopher Mores, Louisiana State University Dynamic robust optimization for emerging energy systems ( Principal Investigator:Shabbir Ahmed, Georgia Tech Additional Collaborators: Carlos Grijalva, Xu Sun, Georgia Tech Integrated management of data centers, electric grid, and transportation for cyber-enabled sustainability ( Principal Investigator: Wei Zhang, Ohio State University Additional Collaborators: Xiaorui Wang, Ohio State University TNS 24KuanRap-131218 30FurigayJof-4582568 30FurigayJof (c) 2013 Targeted News Service

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