My research spans security, privacy, and optimization of data collection particularly as applied to the Smart Grid, an augmented and enhanced paradigm for the conventional power grid. I am particularly interested in optimization approaches that take a notion of security and/or privacy into the modeling explicitly. At the intersection of the Intelligent Transportation Systems, Smart Grid, and Smart Cities, I am interested in data privacy and energy usage in smart parking lots. Protection of data and availability, especially under assault through a Denial-of-Service attacks, represents another dimension of my area of research interests. I am working on developing data privacy-aware bidding applications for the Smart Grid Demand Response systems without relying on trusted third parties. Finally, I am interested in educational and pedagogical research about teaching computer science, Smart Grid, cyber security, and data privacy.
In the next-generation power systems (Smart Grid), a large number of distributed energy devices (e.g., distributed generators, distributed energy storage, loads, smart meters) are connected to each other in an internet-like structure. Incorporating millions of new energy devices will require wide-ranging transformation of the nation’s aging electrical grid infrastructure. The key challenge is to efficiently manage a great amount of devices through distributed intelligence. The distributed grid intelligence (DGI) agent is the brain of distributed energy devices. DGI enables every single energy device to not only have a certain intelligence to achieve optimal management locally, but also coordinate with others to achieve a common goal. The massive volume of real-time data collected by DGI will help the grid operators gain a better understanding of a large-scale and highly dynamic power systems. In conventional power systems, the system operation is performed using purely centralized data storage and processing approaches. However, as the number of DGIs increases to more than hundreds of thousands, it is rather intuitive that the state-of-the-art centralized information processing architecture will no longer be sustainable under such big data explosion. The ongoing research work illustrates how advanced ideas from IT industry and power industry can be combined in a unique way. The proposed high-availability distributed file system and data processing framework can be easily tailored to support other data-intensive applications in a large-scale and complex power grids. For example, the proposed DGI nodes can be embedded into any distributed generators (e.g., roof-top PV panel), distributed energy storage devices (e.g., electric vehicle), and loads (e.g., smart home) in a future residential distribution system. If implemented successfully, we can translate Smart Grid with high-volume, high-velocity, and high-variety data to a completely distributed cyber-physical system architecture. In addition, the proposed work can be easily extended to support other cyber-physical system applications (e.g., intelligent transportation system).
My research focuses on developing and applying computational and data-enabled methodology in the broader area of sustainability. Main thrusts are as follows:
1. Human mobility dynamics. I am interested in mining large-scale real-world travel trajectory data to understand human mobility dynamics. This involves the processing and analyzing travel trajectory data, characterizing individual mobility patterns, and evaluating environmental impacts of transportation systems/technologies (e.g., electric vehicles, ride-sharing) based on individual mobility dynamics.
2. Global supply chains. Increasingly intensified international trade has created a connected global supply chain network. I am interested in understanding the structure of the global supply chain network and economic/environmental performance of nations.
3. Networked infrastructure systems. Many infrastructure systems (e.g., power grid, water supply infrastructure) are networked systems. I am interested in understanding the basic structural features of these systems and how they relate to the system-level properties (e.g., stability, resilience, sustainability).
My research interests are in the digital diagnosis of material damage based on sensors, computational science and numerical analysis with large-scale 3D computed tomography data: (1) Establishment of a multi-resolution transformation rule of material defects. (2) Design of an accurate digital diagnosis method for material damage. (3) Reconstruction of defects in material domains from X-ray CT data . (4) Parallel computation of materials damage. My team also conducted a series of studies for improving the quality of large-scale laser scanning data in reverse engineering and industrial inspection: (1) Detection and removal of non-isolated Outlier Data Clusters (2) Accurate correction of surface data noise of polygonal meshes (3) Denoising of two-dimensional geometric discontinuities.
Our research is concerned with evidence-based optimization, the idea of optimizing complex systems holistically, exploiting the unprecedented amount of available data. It is driven by an exciting convergence of ideas in big data, predictive analytics, and large-scale optimization (prescriptive analytics) that provide, for the first time, an opportunity to capture human dynamics, natural phenomena, and complex infrastructures in optimization models. We apply evidence-based optimization to challenging applications in environmental and social resilience, energy systems, marketing, social networks, and transportation. Key research topics include the integration of predictive (machine learning, simulation, stochastic approximation) and prescriptive analytics (optimization under uncertainty), as well as the integration of strategic, tactical, and operational models.
The video above is of a planned evacuation of 70,000 persons for a 1-100 year flood in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Region using both predictive and prescriptive analytics and large data sets for the terrain, the population, and the transportation network.
My research is on the design of efficient (approximation) algorithms for combinatorial optimization problems. I work on deterministic optimization models, as well as richer models that handle uncertainty in data: stochastic, robust and online optimization. I am also interested in algorithms for scheduling and energy-efficiency in data centers.
Professor Balzano and her students investigate problems in statistical signal processing and optimization, particularly dealing with large and messy data. Her applications typically have missing, corrupted, and uncalibrated data as well as heterogeneous data in terms of sensors, sensor quality, and scale in both time and space. Her theoretical interests involve classes of non-convex problems that include Principal Components Analysis (or the Singular Value Decomposition) and many interesting variants such as PCA with sparse or structured principal components, orthogonality and non-negativity constraints, and even categorical data or human preference data. She concentrates on fast gradient methods and related optimization methods that are scalable to real-time operation and massive data. Her work provides algorithmic and statistical guarantees for these algorithms on the aforementioned non-convex problems, and she focuses carefully on assumptions that are realistic for the relevant applications. She has worked in the areas of online algorithms, real-time computer vision, compressed sensing and matrix completion, network inference, and sensor networks.
Amitabh Sinha, PhD, is Associate Professor of Technology and Operations in the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor, and Co-Director of the Tauber Institute for Global Operations.
Amitabh’s current research primarily focuses on the operational aspects of ecommerce/omnichannel retail. For instance, one of his ongoing research projects explores the optimization of order fulfillment by online retailers; another examines the design of retail stores and inventory management for omnichannel fulfillment through stores. Another recent research project examines the potential impact of platform capitalism (also called the sharing economy) in a business-to-business setting for ecommerce warehousing. The primary methodological tools are optimization, simulation, and machine learning.
My research group is engaged in fundamental research in the following areas: Statistical learning theory: We are developing theory and algorithms for predictions problems (e.g., learning to rank and multilabel learning) with complex label spaces and where the available human supervision is often weak. Sequential prediction in a game theoretic framework: We are trying to understand the power and limitations of sequential predictions algorithms when no probabilistic assumptions are placed on the data generating mechanism. High dimensional and network data analysis: We are developing scalable algorithms with provable performance guarantees for learning from high dimensional and network data. Optimization algorithms: We are creating incremental, distributed and parallel algorithms for machine learning problems arising in today’s data rich world. Reinforcement learning: We are synthesizing concepts and techniques from artificial intelligence, control theory and operations research for pushing the frontier in sequential decision making with a focus on delivering personalized health interventions via mobile devices. My research group is pursuing and continues to actively search for challenging machine learning problems that arise across disciplines including behavioral sciences, computational biology, computational chemistry, learning sciences, and network science.
Amy Cohn, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Thurnau Professor in the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Director of the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety. Her primary research interest is in robust and integrated planning for large-scale systems, predominantly in healthcare and aviation applications. She also collaborates on projects in satellite communications, vehicle routing problems for hybrid fleets, and robust network design for power systems and related applications. Her primary teaching interest is in optimization techniques, at both the graduate and undergraduate level.