The Second ACM SIGEnergy Workshop on Society, Climate, and Sustainability (SIGEnegy WeCan)

Hello SIGEnegy WeCan22 attendees, welcome to the technical program for the workshop..!!!

We are happy to have a very compelling program that features a mix of talks from prominent researchers in academia, leading experts from industry, and policy experts with experience of facilitating energy transition efforts at city scale. We thank the speakers for submitting their work and accepting our invitation to deliver talks at the workshop.

Logistics: Each talk is alloted 25 minutes, split across 15-20 minutes talk by the speaker followed by 5-10 minutes Q&A from the audience. All the talks will be recorded and shared after the workshop. All the times are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT, GMT-4). Please find a time conversion chart at the end of this page.



Virtual Lobby (08:30am - 08:50am, EDT)

Feeling excited for the talks? Want to test the zoom/video/audio? Any questions for the organizers?
Come and hang out with us before the opening address.

Opening Address (08:50am - 09:00am) [Video]

Minghua Chen (City University of Hong Kong) and Noman Bashir (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)


Session Ⅰ: Computing for Sustainability (09:00am - 09:50am) - Session Chair: Minghua Chen
  • The Software- and AI-Driven Future of Renewables [Video]
    • Shivkumar Kalyanaraman (CTO, Energy & Mobility, Microsoft R&D India)
    • Talk Abstract and Speaker Bio

      Abstract: Deep decarbonization and the rapid electrification of energy will require greater penetration of renewables. As renewables penetration crosses 10-20% of the grid electricity demand (and other supply sources correspondingly adjust), the intermittency and volatility of renewable supply will increasingly dominate. Renewable supply and grid electricity demand matched via a combination of multiple markets, energy storage and an orchestrated portfolio of flexibility resources. The future of renewables will fundamentally be driven by software and AI on the cloud to manage this transition. The logical end point of this is the concept of "virtual battery" where the cloud itself becomes an ultimate flexibility asset for the clean energy ecosystem. This talk will unwrap the various challenges and opportunities around this transition.

      Dr. Shivkumar Kalyanaraman is CTO, Energy & Mobility, Microsoft R&D India (part of Microsoft Cloud for Industry). Previously Shiv was Executive General Manager of Growth Offerings at GE Power Conversion responsible for new Line of Business development in e-Mobility, Commercial & Industrial Solar and digital/AI innovations. Earlier he was at IBM Research - India, and the Chief Scientist of IBM Research - Australia. Before IBM, he was a tenured Full Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, USA. Shiv has degrees from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (B.Tech), Ohio State University (MS, PhD) and RPI (Executive MBA). Shiv is a Distinguished Alumnus Awardee of IIT Madras (2021) & Ohio State University (2021), Fellow of the IEEE (2010), Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering (2015), ACM Distinguished Scientist (2010), MIT Technology Review TR100 young innovator (1999).

  • Accountability Challenges of AI in Smart Grid Services [PDF] [Video]
    • Anna Volkova, Amit Dilip Patil (University of Passau, Germany),
      Seyyed Ahmad Javadi (Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran),
      Hermann de Meer (University of Passau, Germany)
    • Talk Abstract and Speaker Bio

      Abstract: The rising importance and efficiency AI has led to AI being substantially deployed in various domains and its usage growing rapidly. For the smart grid, adopting AI-based methods has transformed established power system functions into more advanced analogs. However, the unstable operation of AI-based services may misguide operators to make incorrect operational decisions leading to substantial consequences. Accordingly, the rapidly growing market of AI-based services calls for raising awareness of accountability of these services. Accountability in grid services is getting even more challenging with respect to the wide availability of the AI-based methods implemented as libraries and the emergence of AI as a service. A key way forward is through smart grid operators monitoring their AI-based services to enable accountability. Accountable AI increases trustworthiness and accelerates acceptance of these services by society. Toward this, a conceptual representation of a monitoring regime for AI-based services is proposed and major challenges to realising it are identified. In addition, this work aims to draw more attention to AI-based services and the issues they raise, given AI increasing prominence and the general calls for the more responsible and accountable use of AI.

      Anna Volkova is Research Associate and PhD Candidate at University of Passau supervised by Prof. Dr. Hermann de Meer. She received the Diploma degree in information systems security from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (Russia) and the Master of Computer Science degree from the University of Passau. She contributed in multiple software-defined networking, smart grid communication and information security research projects and currently works on resilience of smart grid communications in the project “Blackstart” funded by DFG.

Break + Networking (09:50am - 10:00am)

Session Ⅱ: Sustainable Energy Systems (10:00am - 11:10am) - Session Chair: Minghua Chen
  • Non-intrusive Load Monitoring: A Promising Path to the Society for Responsible Energy Utilization and Sustainability [PDF] [Video]
    • Gopinath Rajendiran (Atsuya Technologies Pvt. Ltd)
    • Talk Abstract and Speaker Bio

      Abstract: Responsible use of energy resources, conserving environment and improving well-being of the society are the major goals towards developing smart sustainable cities, and energy management is the inherent part of the smart sustainable cities programme. Due to high demand of energy in various sectors, energy management has become essential to utilize the available energy efficiently and understand energy usage behavior of the users in order to avoid possible energy wastage. In recent years, non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) technique has become popular and emerging approach to monitor events and energy consumption of appliances/electrical utilities in buildings using single energy meter. The information about energy consumption at appliance level would help consumers to understand their appliance usage behavior and take necessary steps for reducing energy consumption. The recent advancements in smart metering and internet of things (IoT) have made significant progress in real time implementation of non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) algorithms in residential and industrial environments. The motivation of this presentation is to address the challenges towards developing more accurate NILM systems and its future perspectives for effective energy management in buildings. NILM can also be used for anomaly detection, predictive maintenance, load forecasting, and energy disaggregation of distributed energy resources in buildings. Therefore, creating awareness about the importance of NILM and incorporating its potential applications as the features of NILM system would help achieve responsible energy utilization in residential/industrial environments and conserve energy consumption towards developing smart sustainable cities for the society.

      Dr. Gopinath Rajendiran is a researcher and a data scientist at Atsuya Technologies. Prior to this, he has worked as a research associate at CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation. His work focuses on improving the non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) systems using deep learning algorithms.

  • Everybody is Equal but Some are More Equal Than Others? A Common Man's Cry on Rampant Climate Injustice Otherwise called "The New Economic Hitman" [Video]
    • Naveed Arshad (Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan)
    • Talk Abstract and Speaker Bio

      Abstract: With Climate Change the world is dealing with the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. Unfortunately, the strategies of addressing climate change does not include much input from the common people that are facing the brunt of climate change. Be it research endeavors or funding distribution mechanisms; the common man is not part of the discussion at any level. At the macro level we also see that Climate Change is apparently becoming another economic hitman tool. Nations that are already suffering catastrophically from climate change are now put into a position to get more loans to adapt or mitigate climate related challenges they never created. In this talk, we will look at what is going on in the mind of a common man and how can we develop better research approaches that addresses the plight of the common man. Moreover, we will also look on how the world can help nations at risk and not be another economic hitman for already struggling nations?

      Dr. Naveed Arshad is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department at Lahore University of Management Sciences. He is also the Director of Energy Informatics Group (EIG) at LUMS. His research interests include short, medium and long term forecasting of energy demand, renewable energy generation forecasting for wind and solar resources, demand side management in agricultural, residential and industrial sectors, energy efficiency, and renewable energy integration in existing building stock. Dr. Arshad holds MS and PhD in Computer Science from University of Colorado at Boulder.

  • DERConnect - A Distributed Energy Resources Interconnection Testbed [PDF] [Video]
    • Jan Kleissl, Adil Khurram, Keaton Chia, Scott Brown, Aditya Mishra, Jorge Cortes, Raymond de Callafon,
      Rajesh Gupta, Sonia Martinez, David Victor (University of California, San Diego)
    • Talk Abstract and Speaker Bio

      Abstract: DERConnect is a $39M National Science Foundation funded testbed for the control of Distributed Energy Resources. DERConnect is unique in that it promotes decentralized control architectures for large amounts of heterogeneous DERs. In this way, DERConnect emulates future autonomous energy grids where control implementation will increasingly be pushed to the grid edge. DERConnect establishes the communications architecture, and intercompatible software, hardware-in-the-loop, and real-life testbeds for grid-interactive testing. Use cases focus on power system services such as frequency regulation, but can cover any type of grid interaction. DERConnect also enables grid-interactive building tests, cybersecurity tests, and human-in-the-loop tests.

      Jan Kleissl researches the interaction of weather with engineering systems in solar power and the electric power grid. Kleissl received a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University in environmental fluid mechanics. He is the Director of the UC San Diego Center for Energy Research, Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and the director of the DERConnect NSF research facility at UC San Diego.

Break (11:10am - 11:15am)

Session Ⅲ: Data Analytics for Sustainability (11:15am - 12:30pm) - Session Chair: Abel Souza
  • Remote Sensing of Energy Systems: Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities [Video]
    • Kyle Bradbury (Duke Energy Initiative, Duke University)
    • Talk Abstract and Speaker Bio

      Abstract: Energy systems are rapidly evolving in both the developed and developing world as are both their climate impacts and infrastructure risks from natural hazards. In the electricity sector, increases in demand, integration of clean but intermittent resources like wind and solar, and growth in small-scale solar generation each make planning, monitoring, and maintaining energy systems and their climate interactions more complex and information intensive. Effective decision-making and modeling will be crucial to ensure continued energy security for both developed and developing nations. Unfortunately, precise information about energy systems—a vital resource for such modeling and decision-making—is often limited. A large emerging body of work has worked to fill these information gaps by analyzing satellite imagery and other remotely sensed data using machine learning techniques. We will discuss a review our team conducted of recent applications of these techniques demonstrating the diverse ways these techniques are being used including some of our work at the Duke University Energy Data Analytics Lab. These applications also reveal numerous challenges to both the practical application of remote sensing based techniques and to the advancement of research in this space—we will discuss these challenges and the opportunities they reveal about the future intersection of remote sensing data and energy and climate systems.

      Dr. Kyle Bradbury brings experience in machine learning and statistical modeling to energy problems. He completed his Ph.D. at Duke University, with research focused on modeling the reliability and cost trade-offs of energy storage systems for integrating wind and solar power into the grid. Kyle holds a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Duke University where he specialized in statistical signal processing and machine learning, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University. He has worked for ISO New England, MIT Lincoln Laboratories, and Dominion.

  • Opportunities for Energy Data Analytics to Enable Sustainable Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa [Video]
    • Jay Taneja (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
    • Speaker Bio

      Jay Taneja is an Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst. He studies the application of computing tools to measuring and managing infrastructure in industrialized and developing regions, including energy and building systems, but also transportation, water, and sanitation systems. Prior to joining UMass Amherst, he was a Research Scientist at IBM Research - Africa. He completed his Ph.D.and M.S. in Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley and B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University.

  • Creating Sustainable, Data-driven Buildings Using Sense, Act, and Scale Framework [Video]
    • Bharathan Balaji (Amazon Sustainability)
    • Speaker Bio

      Bharathan Balaji is a research scientist in Amazon working on sustainability. He is interested in developing methods and systems that help make the world a better place: by reducing waste, through education, and with automation. Prior to joining Amazon, he was a postdoc at UCLA. Before that, he completed his Ph.D. at UCSD.

Lunch Break + Networking (12:30pm - 01:00pm)

Bring your breakfast/lunch/dinner over zoom.


Session Ⅳ: Sustainable Computing (01:00pm - 01:50pm) - Session Chair: Mohammad Hajiesmaili
  • A Holistic Approach for Datacenter Sustainability [Video]
    • Bilge Acun (Fundamental AI Research (FAIR) / Meta)
    • Speaker Bio

      Bilge Acun is a Research Scientist at Fundamental AI Research (FAIR), SysML team. She is working on making large scale machine learning systems more efficient through algorithmic and system optimizations. She received her Ph.D. degree in 2017 at the Department of Computer Science at Universtiy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, advised by Professor Laxmikant V. Kale. Before joining Facebook, she worked at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center as a Research Staff Member. Her research interests include Systems for Machine Learning, Parallel and Distributed Computing, Energy Efficient Computing, High Performance Computing (HPC), Smart Runtime Systems.

  • Breaking the Barriers of Stranded Energy through Multi-cloud and Federated Data Centers [Video]
    • Colleen Josephson (VMWare Research, UC Santa Cruz), Victor Firoiu (VMWare Research)
    • Talk Abstract and Speaker Bios

      Abstract: Globally, renewable energy (solar, wind) generation has grown rapidly over the last decade. Renewable energy has very low carbon intensity and a zero marginal operating cost, and so is a critical component to achieving zero carbon computing and should not be wasted. However, pervasive imbalances in renewable generation and the transmission capability limitations that prevent the grid from transporting energy to where it is needed causes generation to be temporarily curtailed and wasted. Renewable energy curtailment is increasing rapidly in the U.S. and globally. Potential solutions include co-located battery storage and construction of more transmission capacity. But these approaches do not yet scale due to cost, and traditional loads cannot be physically moved. On the other hand, many computation workloads (such as some learning or big data) can be flexible in time (scheduled for delayed execution) and space (transferred across any geographical distance with limited cost). This opens the possibility of shifting workloads in time and space to take advantage in real time of any amount of excess renewable energy, which otherwise would be curtailed and wasted. Initial results show that a single datacenter that time shifts load can reduce its emissions by 19% or more annually. Although conceptually simple, such workload shifting presents significant challenges. This talk will provide an overview of VMware's approach to sustainability innovation, and a discussion of some of our ongoing work in shifting datacenter workloads in time and geography.

      Colleen Josephson is a Senior Research Scientist in the Office of the CTO at VMware and an Assistant Professor at UC Santa Cruz. Her research interests include wireless communication and sensing systems, with a focus on technologies to enable and improve sustainable practices. She is on the Green Software Steering Committee within VMware, and she also leads the Societal and Economic Needs and GreenG Working Groups within the ATIS NextG Alliance, which seeks to identify and characterize societal demands and economic needs to set forth a sustainable 6G business case to position North America as the global leader in aligning 6G with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Colleen completed her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and, in 2020, she was named a Rising Star in EECS. Before beginning her Ph.D., she worked at Cisco Meraki as a wireless engineer and holds a Bachelor's of Science and Master's of Engineering from MIT.

      Victor is Research Director with the VMware Academic Program, leading research engagements with academic research groups and fostering collaboration with internal research teams and product groups in the areas of Networking, Distributed Systems, Performance and Sustainability. He is the recipient of the ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award 2008 and ACM SIGMOBILE Test of Time Award in 2018. Victor pioneered practical Network Coding and co-authored IETF Differentiated Services standards. He was founding co-chair for the IRTF Building Differentiated Services and for the IRTF Network Coding Research Groups. Previously, Victor held Senior Principal Scientist and Research Management positions at BAE Systems, Nortel Networks and Bay Networks. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Break + Networking (01:50pm - 02:00pm)

Session Ⅴ: Leadership and Communication (02:00pm - 02:50pm) - Session Chair: Noman Bashir
  • Seeing Like a City: How a Greater Understanding of City Hall Builds Stronger Academic Partnerships [Video]
    • Mike Bloomberg (GroundWork Data, Cornell Tech)
    • Speaker Bio

      Mike Bloomberg is the Co-Founder of Groundwork Data and Visiting Researcher at Cornell Tech. Prior to this, he was the Chief of Staff to Mayor Alex Morse in Holyoke, MA. His current work examines the costs and benefits of a set of innovative strategies for undergrounding utility lines in non high-density cities. He completed his MBA in Computer Technology Administration and Management at Cornell Tech and B.S. in Political Science at UMass Amherst.

  • Telling the Story of Climate, Sustainability, and Modern Computing to the General Public [PDF] [Video]
    • Soroya Rowley, George Porter, Monica Stufft (University of California, San Diego)
    • Talk Abstract and Speaker Bios

      Abstract: In this work, we describe an interdisciplinary project between Theater practitioners and a Computer Scientist to engage the public with storytelling about the environmental impacts of modern computing, including cloud computing and e-waste.

      Soroya Rowley has been practicing applied theatre in San Diego since 2008 and was a co-founder of the theatre company Circle Circle dot dot (CCdd) that produced original community-based theatre between 2011 and 2020. Rowley earned a Master's in Peace and Justice Studies and is now teaching at the University of San Diego and the Old Globe Theatre.

      George Porter is an Associate Professor in the Systems and Networking Group in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

      Monica Stufft is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre where she teaches courses in Theatre and Performance Studies and is involved in production work, both as a director and dramaturg. Her specializations include popular culture, theatre historiography, writing, as well as cultural, gender, and performance theory.

Break + Networking (02:50pm - 03:00pm)

Brainstorming Session with the Audience (03:00pm - 03:50pm) [Video]

An open, vibrant conversation between all of the attendees. Panelists include Minghua Chen, Jay Taneja, and David Irwin

Panelist Bios

Minghua Chen is a Professor at the School of Data Science, City University of Hong Kong. He is also the Director of Design and Analysis of Networked, Computing, and Energy (DANCE) Systems Lab. His research interests include online optimization and algorithms, energy systems (e.g., smart power grids and energy-efficient data centers), intelligent transportation systems, distributed optimization, delay-constrained network coding, machine learning in networked and societal systems, and capitalizing the benefit of data-driven prediction in algorithm/system design. Minghua received his B.Eng. and M.S. degrees from the Department of Electronic Engineering at Tsinghua University. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at University of California Berkeley.

Jay Taneja is an Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst. He studies the application of computing tools to measuring and managing infrastructure in industrialized and developing regions, including energy and building systems, but also transportation, water, and sanitation systems. Prior to joining UMass Amherst, he was a Research Scientist at IBM Research - Africa. He completed his Ph.D.and M.S. in Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley and B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University.

David Irwin is an an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He leads the Sustainable Computing Lab, which focuses on designing distributed software systems with an emphasis on improving efficiency and sustainability. He is also the Smart Energy Lead for the Center for Smart and Connected Society (CS2), and an affiliate of both the Energy Transition Institute and the Center for Data Science, all at UMass Amherst. He is also a member of, and helped establish, ACM's Special Interest Group on Energy Systems and Informatics (SIGENERGY). He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Duke University and B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

Moderated by Noman Bashir.

Moderator Bio

Noman Bashir is a Research Fellow at the Laboratory for Advanced System Software (LASS), University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst. His research work focuses on designing sustainable, equitable, and explainable systems. During his Ph.D., he worked as a student researcher at VMWare Research Group and Google. He recently completed his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering at Sustainable Computing Lab, UMass Amherst. He received his M.S. in Energy Systems Engineering from National University of Science and Technology, Pakistan and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan.

Concluding Remarks (03:50pm - 04:00pm) [Video]


Time Conversion Table

Please find the time conversion table consisting of all the timezones where our speakers are located at.

Time Conversion Table