The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has issued a call for 2012 EERE Postdoctoral Research Awards, intended to provide recent Ph.D. recipients with opportunities to conduct research at universities, national laboratories, and other research facilities. This year’s program builds upon 14 inaugural awardees funded in 2011, and includes at least one research topic that requires a strong computer science or software background. The deadline to submit an award application is May 1, 2012.
According to the EERE website:
The objective of the EERE Postdoctoral Research Awards is to create the next generation of scientific leaders in energy efficiency and renewable energy by attracting the best scientists and engineers to pursue breakthrough technologies in a highly prestigious postdoctoral research program. To meet this objective, EERE Research Participants will have access to unique education and training opportunities, top scientists in their field, and state-of-the-art projects and equipment. As a result, innovative technologies will be developed that will have a real impact on the economy by providing energy efficient and affordable technologies; in the environment by providing clean energy technologies; and in the quality of life for all Americans by enhancing their energy choices.
Applicants are asked to identify research topics that best match with their research interests. At least one topic from EERE’s Building Technologies Program (BTP) — which seeks “to develop technologies, techniques, and tools for making buildings more efficient, productive, and affordable” — calls for specific advances in computing (following the link):
DOE has heavily supported the development of whole-building simulation tools such as [the EnergyPlus (E+) Energy Simulation Software]. A critical aspect of the success of E+ and its future adoption relates to the number and complexity of parameters necessary to create an input file that accurately matches data from the as-built structure. This project entails prioritizing E+ variables via sensitivity analysis through the process of parametric exploration, high performance computing for creating and storing millions of simulations, machine learning systems to characterize the effect of individual variable perturbations, and intelligent algorithms for adapting an existing E+ model to approximate sensor data. An applicant with experience in building energy modeling, preferably with a strong computer science or software background, is needed to inform the parametric analysis, perform sensitivity analysis, guide algorithm development, and analyze tuned parameters to ensure physical plausibility. A prototype system will be demonstrated using 3 reference buildings and a ZEBRAlliance research home with over 250 sensors. The applicant will be required to work closely with the existing E+ teams and must have a mentor that is currently working in this area. For more information on EnergyPlus, please visit [the website].
Applicants must identify potential research facilities and research mentors, and they must discuss their research proposal with, and obtain approval from, the mentors before submitting an application.
(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)