Special Issue on Sustainable Energy and Distributed AI
Publication: September/October 2012
Submissions due for review: CLOSED
Sustainability has become a shared global concern. Governments, industries, and citizens worldwide have recognized the need for a more sustainable and responsible use of the planet's resources, and have adopted corresponding energy and climate goals (for example, the EU 20-20-20 goals). A central element of all innovative policies and technologies for sustainability concerns energy and how we are to use, produce, and transport it in much more efficient and renewable ways, thereby reducing carbon emissions. The innovation concept for the sustainable energy systems and networks of the future has become known as the smart grid. Its distinctive feature is the two-way interaction between all parties in the energy value chain—from end customers and distribution and transmission companies, to service and sales companies and markets. Multibillion-dollar investment programs in smart-grid technologies are now underway in the US, EU, China, and other countries.
It is widely recognized that the recent advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) are essential to achieve the sustainable two-way interaction systems of the future. As the term "smart grid" suggests, distributed AI has a special role to play. First, sustainability requires the connectivity and coordination of massive numbers of independent decentralized units. Second, the keyword "smart" has emerged as the universal catchphrase for any sustainability-oriented application, system, service, or practice. Real-time behavior of systems jointly acting as a sustainable ecosystem is inconceivable without significant degrees of built-in automated intelligence at different levels and in various components of the overall network.
Development and deployment of smart sustainable systems come with a wide range of research and technology challenges. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following areas and topics:
- Smart customers: As a result of the two-way interaction possibilities, end-user customers are no longer perceived as the passive consumption-end node of the grid, but take on different roles as cocreating "prosumers":
- Smart appliances, households and buildings, and their decentralized coordination
- Customer demand response and demand-side management
- Two-way interactive residential services exploiting ambient intelligence
- Smart metering and monitoring versus privacy and security in the smart home
- Smart cities: Beyond local advances in sustainability such as the smart home or building, major challenges currently reside in their scaling up to large regions:
- Virtual power plants
- Mechanisms for flexible storage, production, and consumption
- Sustainable mobility concepts, such as electric vehicles
- Technical and commercial demand/supply aggregation
- Green ICT: Although ICT is crucial for sustainability, it has become a major and still-increasing energy consumer itself, posing a number of specific sustainability issues.
- Greening of computer and network infrastructures (for example, data centers, server parks, and Internet provider infrastructures)
- Management for sustainability of grid computing and "the cloud"
- Smart energy networks: Many benefits of applications for sustainability and energy efficiency are nonlocal and depend on network effects resulting from the many collaborating parties in smart grid operations.
- Active distribution grid management and the "Internet of Energy"
- Large-scale two-way integration of local renewable production into the grid
- Smart grid operations such as network balancing, congestion management, and network operations in relation to wholesale, reserve, and service markets
- Safeguarding the smart grid: protection and security of supply
Submissions should not only describe technical research but also show its benefits in terms of sustainability. A special emphasis will be given to research that has matured beyond the design, laboratory, or simulation stage and that reports experiences and lessons learned from deployment in the field.
As distributed AI for sustainability involves (often rather disruptive) socio-technical innovations, we also welcome interdisciplinary consideration of social and economic aspects, such as new sustainable business models, customer service value propositions, market innovations, incentives for adoption, interoperability and standardization issues, and regulatory aspects.
Submissions should be 3,000 to 5,400 words (counting a standard figure or table as 200 words) and should follow IEEE Intelligent Systems style and presentation guidelines (www.computer.org/intelligent/author). The manuscripts cannot have been published or be currently submitted for publication elsewhere.
We strongly encourage submissions that include audio, video, and community content, which will be featured on the IEEE Computer Society Web site along with the accepted papers.
For more information, contact the guest editors:
- Hans Akkermans, The Network Institute, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Rune Gustavsson, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
- Philipp Strauss, Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology, Kassel, Germany
- Doug Fisher, Vanderbilt University
- Information about the special issue's focus: contact Hans Akkermans (include the keyword "sustainability" in the subject line)
- General author guidelines: www.computer.org/intelligent/author
- Submission details: contact email@example.com
- To submit an article: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/is-cs (log in, then select "Special Issue on Sustainability")