All posts by Sebastian Ament

Computational Sustainability Doctoral Consortium 2018

Last week, over 40 graduate students and junior researchers from 15 different universities met at Cornell University for the 3rd annual Doctoral Consortium on Computational Sustainability Doctoral Consortium (CompSust-2018).

The consortium ran from Friday the 14th through to Sunday the 16th. On Friday, we had over 20 student talks featuring a wide range of sustainability topics from computational techniques for wildlife preservation to advances in the analysis of power grid measurements.

At lunch, Prof. Stefano Ermon of Stanford gave a seminar, based on his IJCAI Computers and Thought award talk, on using computational advances in AI and Machine Learning to further human well-being across the globe. One part of his talk focused on mapping sustainable development goals, for example poverty measures.

In the afternoon, Prof. Warren Powell of Princeton gave a tutorial about a unifying framework for stochastic optimization and sequential decision making. We learned how a wide range of decision making problems under uncertainty can be related to one another, allowing advances in one domain to be applied to new problems from another.

The slides for Dr. Powell’s tutorial can be found here. A web version of his new book on the same subject can also be found here.

On Saturday, students formed groups for a “collabo-thon”: an extended working session to foster new interdepartmental collaborations between students in the CompSust community! For example, a group around Priya Donti and Bryan Wilder worked on optimal sensor placement for the power distribution grid. In particular, they were attempting to optimize for the quality of voltage regulation outcomes based on our choice of sensor placement. This uses ideas of Priya’s work in task-based end-to-end model learning, as well as Bryan’s work in influence maximization.

Dr. Guillaume Perez also gave a tutorial on constrained generation problems after lunch. We learned how to generate pieces of text which simultaneously rhyme and follow a certain style, which is an NP-complete problem! The slides of the tutorial and the jupyter notebook for the tutorial can be found here.

On Sunday, the consortium concluded with a hike around Cornell’s Beebe lake and a picnic in the botanical garden.

Thank you to everyone who attended the DC and especially to all of the wonderful speakers who presented tutorials and talks at the event. We are looking forward to seeing all of you again at next year’s Doctoral Consortium or at our biweekly CompSust Open Graduate Seminar (COGS)

All the best,

Amrita, Kevin, and Sebastian

The CompSust-2018 Organizing Committee