The Center for Data Innovation recently published an interview with CITRIS Deputy Director Camille Crittenden discussing new and ongoing research and our emerging work in the area of resiliency.
Center for Data Innovation: The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Camille Crittenden, the deputy director of the University of California’s Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). Crittenden discussed some current projects at the center and its emerging work in the area of resiliency.
Travis Korte: Can you introduce CITRIS and speak a little about its origin and mission?
Camille Crittenden: CITRIS was founded in 2001 as one of four multi-campus Institutes for Science and Innovation at the University of California. CITRIS uses innovation in information technology to address complex areas such as energy production, distribution, and conservation; health care delivery and data analysis; sensor networks for environmental monitoring; and civic engagement through social media platforms. Our mission is to facilitate new connections between academia and industry and, from those connections, to spur the creation and growth of new enterprise. Along the way, our activities create knowledge and provide benefit for students and faculty in higher education, boost California’s economy, and improve the well-being of its citizens.
TK: What are some of the most exciting projects you’re currently working on?
CC: One current project involves faculty from UC Merced and UC Davis developing a ruggedized drone that can take off and land on the surface of running water under windy conditions. Using smart sensing strategies it can collect water samples to analyze eDNA (environmental DNA, shed by all organisms into their environment). This will allow us to collect samples from isolated areas and monitor the health of our water system more comprehensively. A project in our health care initiative will develop a system to collect wireless data from mechanical ventilators from patients in critical care units. By using web-based analytics, researchers will be able to visualize issues in patients with respiratory failure and improve their treatment. This is one of our first projects to use real-time analytics from critical-care instruments to directly improve patient care.
TK: Can you speak about some of the emerging technologies that have influenced and enabled CITRIS’s work the most?
CC: CITRIS researchers are expanding on a prototype system that uses a network of wireless sensors to track snowpack depth, water storage in soil, stream flow, and water use by vegetation in the Sierra—information that is essential to improving usage of this increasingly scarce resource. This project will also develop tools to measure the economic benefits of improved hydrological forecasting using monitoring networks in order to enhance our ability to manage an intelligent water infrastructure.
Researchers in the energy initiative are also combining tools in novel ways to improve automation for mid-sized commercial buildings. The Open BAS project employs an open-source IT architecture, an intuitive user interface, and plug-and-play control devices to improve energy efficiency in buildings under 50,000 square feet.