Category Archives: Energy

A New Focus for Energy Efficiency

Our planet is experiencing worldwide growth in energy consumption and CO2 emission and is experiencing temperature rise and climate change at an accelerating rate. A new series from the Institute of Energy Efficiency at UC Santa Barbara describes a path to reducing our energy consumption and CO2 emission.

The series kicks off with John Bowers, Director of the Institute of Energy Efficiency and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Materials, discussing the evolution of photonics and what the future holds for more efficient, higher capacity data centers, which are important for machine learning and data processing.

Fiber optics has transformed our work and, indeed, our lives, by enabling the Internet through low-cost, high-capacity fiber optic transmission. In data centers, fiber optics is replacing electrical cables, thereby allowing for higher and more economical performance.

Watch — A New Focus for Energy Efficiency

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New GRIT Talks from UCSB

842Get an up-close look at ground-breaking research and innovative technology from UCSB. Geared towards the community, these talks present the best minds from UCSB covering a wide-range of topics in science, medicine, technology and more. Check out these recent programs:


The Challenges That Society Brings to Engineering Designs
Understand the unique challenges that surface when seeking to design and control physical infrastructure such as transportation networks, power grids and data centers.

Why Antibiotics Fail – People Are Not Petri Plates
The standard antibiotic test used worldwide is based on how well drugs kill bacteria on petri plates — not in the body. Drugs that pass the standard test often fail to treat bacterial infections, whereas drugs identified by the “in vivo” test are very effective.

How Biology, Ecology, and Technology Balance Tradeoffs in an Uncertain World
Do complex systems exhibit fundamental properties? This talk looks at tradeoffs between robustness and fragility that occur in biological, ecological, and technological systems.

From Bitcoin to Central Bank Digital Currencies
Rod Garratt, UCSB Professor of Economics, describes his work on a project to build a proof of concept for a wholesale interbank payment system that facilitates payments of central bank digital currency using a distributed ledger.

Overcoming Climate Anxiety at a Time of Global Crisis
Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez discusses how humans can contribute to improving current ocean problems and eventually return the oceans to a more sustainable state.

The Remarkable Learning Abilities of the Human Brain
Greg Ashby studies how people learn new categories of objects. By mapping the neural networks, scientists have been able to identify many important and surprising differences in how we learn.

The Future of Computer Science: The Rock We Tricked Into Thinking
Explore the state of the art in computing and how the demands for energy efficient and intelligent systems is driving the creation of entirely new approaches to the problem.

The Math of Swarming Robots, Superconductors, and Slime Mold
Explore the mathematics underlying systems of interacting agents and how such systems can be analyzed using an age old scientific technique: what happens if we poke it?

Check out these programs and more on UCSB’s GRIT Talks.

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Are Robots Going to Hurt or Help? Let’s Talk Driverless Cars with Jennifer Granholm

8232Imagine a not-too-distant future where gasoline-powered engines disappear and we all travel in electric, driverless cars that don’t pollute the air. And, a future where the actual number of cars on the road decreases because we’ll all participate in a transportation sharing service rather than owning our own vehicles. That’s the vision presented by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in this energetic talk to the Goldman School of Public Policy as she describes its financial and environmental advantages but also outlines the new policy challenges. Among them, how to retrain professional drivers? What to do with empty parking lots? And how to replace the tax revenue generated by gas sales? Granholm’s eye-opening peek into the next decade will give you lots to think about next time you’re stuck in traffic.

Watch now: Are Robots Going to Hurt or Help? Let’s Talk Driverless Cars with Jennifer Granholm

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UCTV Launches New Portal to Sustainability for California

8232As the world’s sixth largest economy and provider of more than half the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables, sustaining California’s vitality is paramount. And, with greater demands from a changing climate and growing population, taking a proactive approach to maintaining sustainable growth for California is critical.

That is what Sustainable California, a new, media-rich web portal hosted by University of California Television (UCTV) is about.

Broadcasting stories of sustainability research and outreach conducted by University of California faculty, scientists and students, Sustainable California
connects users to the science-based, real-world solutions the University of California is creating to maintain the balance of natural resources, biodiversity and sustainable growth in our state.

Principal project partners include UC Water, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and UC Merced School of Engineering among others.

UCTV Director Lynn Burnstan expressed her excitement at inaugurating the new portal, “This is what UCTV is about, connecting Californians to the real-world, inestimable values that the UC provides all of California. We are very excited to be able to join these partners and give the public direct access to what they are doing for all our benefit.”

The launch features Water in the Balance, from UC Merced headquartered UCWater, a 5-minute journey from Sierra Nevada snowpack through the state’s system of dams to groundwater; Introduction to Conservation Agriculture Cropping Systems, from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, featuring California farmers and UC scientists working together to develop sustainable farming practices and Sierra-Net, from Berkeley-headquartered CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, featuring the development of innovative cyber-infrastructure to provide real-time monitoring of the state’s water resources.

The channel’s content is appropriate for audiences of all ages and freely accessible to the public online at uctv.tv/sustainable-cal. The integrated video, article and curriculum format of the channel, in addition to its focus on biodiversity, natural resources, and low-impact living, provides users both a look at and connection to practical solutions and approaches the UC is developing, making it a valuable resource for professional practitioners, educators, and media outlets.

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All About Those 2° C

8232Among the international delegations of climate experts gathering in Paris for COP 21 this month, leading researchers from the University of California are presenting “Bending the Curve,” a thorough report covering their top 10 scalable solutions for reducing global warming and addressing the impacts of climate change.

For a preview of what they are prescribing and why 2° C matter, check out the UC Climate Solutions series, featuring speakers from the UC Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit held at UC San Diego in October. Joining the preeminent UC faculty are California Governor Jerry Brown, UC President Janet Napolitano, energy and other business leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs and UC students who are responding to the call to “Bend the Curve.”

Explore all programs from the UC Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit.

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