I’ve been meaning to write overviews of different research groups who do interesting work in related areas. Fortunately, we happen to collaborate with many such research groups through the TerraSwarm mega-grant. I recently found myself assigned to a project that is primarily directed by folks at UCSD. Figuring out who is who, who does what, and who needs to know about my existence and doesn’t yet has made getting involved more challenging than I was expecting. By this point I think I have figured everything out, but the experience has been good motivation for me to discover in a systematic way just who is over there at UCSD.
The System Energy Efficiency Lab
The System Energy Efficiency Lab (SEELab) is directed by Prof. Tajana Rosing. SEELab explores energy consumption at all scales, from CMOS design to mobile devices to datacenter operations to the power grid.
Prof. Tajana Rosing. Tajana is the director of SEELab, and the lead on the SmartCities theme of TerraSwarm. In 2001 she received a PhD from Stanford on “Dynamic Management of Power Consumption.” While getting her PhD she began working at HP, and after she got her degree she continued her work there, while maintaining research engagements at UCSD (only now on behalf of HP). After three years she became faculty at UCSD, and three years after joining UCSD she picked up an additional appointment on the executive board of the San Diego Supercomputing Center. (Her lab definitely has a large-scale systems flavor between that appointment, the datacenter research, and the MuSyC mega-grant she was also a theme leader on.) She also led the NSF CitiSense project, which received press. CitiSense was broadly about designing and deploying a pub/sub architecture called Open Rich Services (OSR) in order to provide infrastructure support for city-scale mobile (phone) sensor data. The goal was to gain insight on the individual impacts of citizen behavior on the environment and health using community-based sensing. She has published over 150 publications, received best paper awards, given invited talks, and managed over $130 million in grant money in total.
Baris Aksanli. Baris is a fourth year PhD student. Holy cow this guy has a lot of publications! Fourteen! A couple are best papers and a paper at ISCA. He was a double-major in computer engineering and math at Bogazici University in Turkey. Now he is doing smart grid stuff, but he also has gotten a lot of mileage (read: papers) out of datacenter efficiency. This is also the guy who seems to be the point of contact for organizing collaboration, since he told me he’s the one I should email if I have future telecon/coordination issues.
Alper Sinan Akyurek. Sinan is also a fourth-year PhD student, has a BSc and MSc already from Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkey. At METU he was a part of a research group that focuses on the algorithmic side of network communications (especially over wireless links), but his PhD research area is in grid-level power systems operations, specifically smart grid behavior (which I guess makes sense – still looking at network flow dynamics). Also, he worked for five years before the PhD. His up-to-date resume has five publications, four conference papers and one journal article.
Jagannathan (Jug) Venkatesh. Jug is yet another fourth-year PhD student. He is interested in smart grid stuff as well as energy efficient mobile computing. He has five papers including a best paper. (Maybe I should check out this ISCC conference I keep seeing, and the HotPower workshop?) He went to UVA for undergrad (woo!) and double-majored in EE and CS.
Christine Chan. Christine isn’t working on the S2Sim project, but she is here at the TerraSwarm localization workshop which kicks into gear tomorrow, so I figured I should take a more in-depth look. Christine is a third-year PhD student, who got her BS in computer science from UIUC. She has two publications, and so far she seems to be really focused on low-level energy efficiency, like server-level. However, her research interests on her workshop introduction slides says she’s interesting in context-awareness for building automation, so maybe she’s switching scale.
I looked over the research projects, but basically the bios of the people above seem to capture the high-level picture. SEELab’s current projects are on smart cities, datacenters, multi-processor systems (thermal), and mobile phone platforms.
Tajana currently has one postdoc and eleven PhD students. The eleven students seem to be fairly evenly divided between a large-scale (datacenter/smart grid) focus, a low-level (processor/machine level) focus, and a mobile/smartphone focus. There might be more towards the large-scale end, but surprisingly there doesn’t seem to be one area that dominates the rest. Interesting!
What I find so impressive about Tajana’s research group is that while the students seem to have strengths in a particular scale/system, in general people in the group seem to be able to move from micro scale to macro scale with no problem. Very flexible! When I first read SEELab’s description I thought that there was no way they could really be going into such depth on energy consumption at all those different levels of scale, and that surely one would dominate, but it turns out that the group is very balanced!