Save a watt hour

A few words (or another way of saying “why this blog?”)



Save a watt hour

Hello data scientists, students, or curios people about smart energy management,

My name is Marc, I am currently a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and this is my first post in a series I intend to have on my new blog. So let’s begin…

Back in 2013, I took over a postdoctoral research associate position at the University of Southern California focusing on a relatively new area, that of smart grid data analysis. I joined as a member of the USC team working on the $120M Los Angeles DWP Smart Grid Regional Demonstration Program (SGRDP) project funded by the US Department of Energy.

For me, this was both a challenge and an opportunity as I had a background in distributed systems resource management with a focus on algorithms, systems, and just a bit of machine learning, mostly neural networks run using the Weka tool.

The story behind this rather drastic change of directions relates to the IPDPS 2012 conference in Boston where I participated with a workshop paper on scientific workflows. It is there that I saw the job ad and decided to apply as my then-current position as a postdoc at the University of Strasbourg was coming to an end.

Story short, I got the job and relocated there with my wife for a 2-year contract. Despite initially focusing on the system side of the Service Oriented Architecture that we were building, I gradually got a hands-on experience alongside many of the students I had supervised during that time on time series analysis using ARIMA, Regression Trees, Neural Networks and the widely used (in the Demand Response programs) ISO models.

More on my experience there to come in future posts.

So why SaveAWattHour? Simply because I kind of fell in love with smart grids and the complex things you can do around them from a software and data science point of view. The project itself is not new as the first website and Android app were released back in 2014 (the app is still available but an upgrade will be released soon) but were, due to many reasons I will not get into right now, not maintained for several years, until now.

So what shouldn’t you expect to find in this blog? Well, if you are looking for some in-depth technical details on the engineering and hardware aspects of smart grids this is not the place for you. I am a computer scientist focusing on software not hardware, sorry guys.

Instead, you will find a lot about data analytics (with examples) on real-life datasets and what it involves, from cleaning the data to analyzing and visualizing the results. I will be using Python and an online Jupyter Notebook so if you are a fan of them stay tuned.

Students can also find my posts useful as they will address some real-life aspects regarding time series data analysis which are not always tackled at school.

Even if you are not a student, programmer, or data scientist you will still find a lot about how to optimize your energy consumption at home or work as I will be discussing various topics on this subject.

I will be posting here regularly as my time allows me so don’t get panicked if your favorite subject has yet to be addressed. Also, if you have any suggestions for specific topics let me know.

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