Minimal progress

The past week I spent essentially all my cycles on part I of my second Algorithms assignment (presentation of the results is today). Unfortunately, this left little time to work on my dissertation. Based on my discussion last week with Philip, I need to get concrete about what my hypothesis is and what research questions I am trying to address. In parallel, I need to create more detailed use cases and start mocking up the user interface.

I’m now seriously considering narrowing my focus from sensors that try to track the majority of a person’s carbon outputs, to just one area. This would significantly reduce the amount of “plumbing” effort required to get to the point where I could do research. One idea I am pursuing is using the floor-by-floor metering project underway at Saunders Hall as the experimental regime. Based on prior research, we can expect that making people aware of their electricity usage will lead to 5-15% reductions in usage, and competitions can reduce that even further (at least for the duration of the competition). However, this model treats the actual energy reduction behaviors as a black box: we give people feedback on their usage, and they “do stuff” that ends up reducing their usage. I think there is a lot of opportunity to provide support to the users to help them maximize their energy reductions, and that support can be customized to a micro-environment such as a floor of a building.

Planned items from last week:

  • Work on detailed scenario for vision document
    • not done
  • Incorporate Yuka’s edits into literature review
    • got edits back from Yuka, just started incorporating them

Other accomplishments this week:

  • Starting looking into meter data collection at Saunders to support historical baseline data for contest
  • PET research plan incorporated into 2 proposals for the UH Sustainability Institute grant

Hours worked: < 5 (target: 30 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Incorporate Yuka’s edits into literature review
  • Make final pass through lit review
  • Submit research portfolio to grad chair
  • Work on hypothesis and research questions for Saunders metering idea

Pointers to work products:

  • N/A

Cool links:

  • None
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