TE4: Topics in Computational Sustainability
Tutorialists: Carla Gomes + others
Website: http://www.cs.cornell.edu/gomes/COURSES/IJCAI-2013/
Monday, August 5th, morning
Computational sustainability is a new interdisciplinary research field with the overall goal of developing computational models, methods, and tools to help manage balancing environmental, economic, and societal needs for sustainable development. The notion of sustainable development --- development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs --- was introduced in “Our Common Future,” a seminal report on the future of our planet, published in 1987 by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development.

We will provide an overview of the field of computational sustainability. We will highlight a number of examples related to our research on biodiversity and conservation, natural resource management, materials discovery for fuel cells, efficient energy generation, power control in smart grids, and the analysis of energy consumption in homes and buildings. Through the examples, we will describe some of the computational challenges and methods for computational sustainability. In particular, our research in this area combines concepts and methods from constraint reasoning and inference, optimization, decision making under uncertainty, machine learning, and dynamic control theory. We will also highlight data sets and challenge problems that may be of particular interest to the AI community.


Carla Gomes is a professor of computer science at Cornell University. Her research has covered several themes in artificial intelligence and computer science, from the integration of constraint reasoning, operations research, and machine learning techniques for solving large-scale constraint reasoning and optimization problems, to the use of randomization techniques to improve the performance of exact search methods, algorithm portfolios, multi-agent systems, and game play. Recently, Gomes has become immersed in the establishment of computational sustainability. Gomes is the lead principal investigator of an award from the National Science Foundation's Expeditions in Computing program, the director of the newly established Institute for Computational Sustainability at Cornell, and a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

J. Zico Kolter is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department and the Computation, Organizations, and Society program in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, supported by a Computing Innovation Fellowship. He received his his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2010 and his B.S. from Georgetown University in 2005. His research focuses on sustainable energy domains, with a focus on core learning, inference, and control tasks within this space. He has worked on a number of applications in this space, include energy disaggregation, wind turbine control, large-scale resource forecasting, and smart grid planning and control.