New Direction for CEE with 2 New Faculty in "Smart Cities"

Featured Faculty: Scott Moura , Alexey Pozdnukhov

Two new faculty members, Dr. Scott Moura and Dr. Alexey Pozdnukhov (L-R), join CEE this fall. They are the first hires in the broad, interdisciplinary area of “Smart Cities”–one of three strategic directions for CEE that will have an increasing impact on research and teaching in the department. The other two strategic directions are “Resilient Systems” and “Engineering for Sustainability.”

As outlined in the department’s strategic plan, CEE recognizes that by the year 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban as opposed to rural areas. A growing and increasingly urban population will require the support of a sustainable infrastructure to enable continued economic growth.

In answer to this need, CEE conducted an extensive faculty search in the area of Smart Cities. Smart Cities faculty will use a broad application of new quantitative and computational tools, but will remain explicitly connected to the domains of civil and environmental engineering.

This approach is in alignment with the vision of the College of Engineering at Berkeley, a worldwide leader in developing engineering solutions to what Dean S. Shankar Sastry calls “societal-scale” challenges. (Societal scale means a large-scale system that is subject to economic forces and legal constraints, such as our transportation infrastructure or our energy and water delivery systems.)

"I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Moura and Dr. Pozdnukhov to the department,” says Chair Samer Madanat. “They will enrich the department’s teaching and research with new quantitative tools and novel paradigms for the management of energy systems and urban transportation."


Meet Scott Moura

Across the world, communities are rapidly urbanizing. These growing cities are characterized by a tightly woven infrastructure where mobility and energy networks are diversifying and merging.

Electrified transportation creates unique mobility options and constraints while simultaneously imposing new energy demands and storage opportunities. Maximizing the efficiency of such cyber physical systems requires a strong fundamental science for modeling, estimation, and control.

Scott Moura’s research focuses on the control science of energy management. The main application areas include batteries and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) infrastructures.

Today, electric vehicle (EV) batteries are conservatively designed and managed. The main reason for this is that one cannot easily monitor the physical limitations of battery charging/discharging.

Using electrochemical modeling and advanced control theory, battery charge times can be reduced by 50 percent, while decreasing battery size/cost by 25 percent. EV batteries also provide a critical opportunity to mitigate stochastic renewable energy generation.

“For example, California will require an additional 4GW of generating capacity to support a 33 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2020,” says Moura. “This can be avoided by leveraging the storage capacity of EV batteries–thereby interconnecting electrified transportation with the power grid. However, there are serious questions to address regarding control, monitoring, communication, public policy, financial models, and battery longevity, to name a few.”

Moura earned his PhD from the University of Michigan. He was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and a former Cal Band member (tenor saxophone). In his first year in the department, he will teach the undergraduate CEE systems analysis course as well as develop a new graduate course in energy systems and control.


Meet Alexey Pozdnukhov

Cities have grown into complex “systems of systems” saturated by aging infrastructures with increasing costs to run and a growing pool of interlinked socio-economic problems needing urgent solutions. At the same time, the ubiquity of ICT (information and communications technology) has provided unprecedented opportunities to enhance the design of modern cities.

There are massive streams of geo-referenced data about human activities and mobility in a city, offering an opportunity to study the dynamics of urban systems in greater depth and scale than ever before. Alexey Pozdnukhov’s research investigates algorithmic ways of achieving this.

“The ubiquitous sensing and communication devices not only generate data, but also provide new opportunities for novel bottom-up control strategies,” says Pozdnukhov.

“The global interconnectivity and the real-time access both to the elements of infrastructure as well as citizens themselves open new ways for designing more adaptive and resilient transportation systems, but require understanding how the space-time structure and dynamics of social networks can be leveraged to make transportation services more efficient, and, in the longer term, drive behavioral changes towards new transportation paradigms such as on-demand car- and ride-sharing.”

Pozdnukhov earned his PhD from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and until recently was a Lecturer with the National Centre for Geocomputation in Ireland. In his first academic year in CEE, he will teach an undergraduate course in transportation systems engineering and a graduate course in streaming data analytics.

Published 10/22/2013