Creating an Extensible Data Exchange and Analytics Sandbox for Smart Water infrastructures
Lead PI:
Nalini Venkatasubramanian

The importance of water to civilization is unquestionable; over centuries, this critical community lifeline has become complex with multiple subsystems (drinking water(DW), wastewater(WW), and stormwater(SW)) to import, deliver and haul away water. Today, these infrastructures are designed and operated separately by an array of local governments, water districts, and regulatory agencies - all subjected to stress caused by aging, urbanization, failures, extreme events, and demand/supply variabilities. This proposal brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners in computer science, civil engineering, public policy, and social ecology to create a Smart Water data-exchange framework, SWADE, that will serve as a repository and sandbox for collecting, sharing, exploring, analyzing, and curating information about diverse community water systems.

SWADE will utilize recent advances in IoT and big data systems to create a holistic understanding of these interacting platforms - the framework integrates static and dynamic data from infrastructures and communities with domain-specific models/simulators and analytics services to create new levels of efficiency and resilience in co-executing systems. Innovative research will address tradeoffs (e.g. cost, accuracy) in data collection, develop semantic approaches for joint data representation and storage, explore data cleaning and refinement mechanisms, promote community engagement to drive policy-based exchange to address data-sharing barriers and design novel analytics to understand resilience and societal impact of water policies. Innovations to existing infrastructures require public acceptance; to achieve this, the team includes practitioners at water agencies in Southern California (e.g. Orange County, Irvine, Los Angeles) and Illinois who will help create and instantiate the SWADE framework; interactions with agencies in Florida and Maryland will help ensure transferability of SWADE.

Through SWADE, communities around the nation can learn and share lessons with each other, experiment with sample data/networks to understand design choices as they plan future investment in water systems. This project can help guide policy research on information interchange in other complex community infrastructures (e.g. water-energy-food nexus, transportation networks) where socioeconomic and geopolitical constraints play a role in determining what can be shared and exchanged. Educational outreach will leverage efforts of the Water UCI Center, and campus programs including RET, REU, K-12, and women in STEM programs at UCI and SDSU. Our programs will focus on promoting broader participation by allowing citizens from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to contribute to the essential research mission of ensuring safe and reliable water services for the future.

Nalini Venkatasubramanian
Nalini Venkatasubramanian is a Professor of Computer Science in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.[1] She is known for her work in effective management and utilization of resources in the evolving global information infrastructure. Her research interests are Multimedia Computing, Networked and Distributed Systems, Internet technologies and Applications, Ubiquitous Computing and Urban Crisis Responses.[2] Dr. Venkatasubramanian's research focuses on enabling effective management and utilization of resources in the evolving global information infrastructure. She also addresses the problem of composing resource management services in distributed systems.[3] Born and raised in Bangalore, she received her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1998.[4][1] From 1991 to 1998, she was a member of technical staff and software designer engineer for Hewlett-Packard. In 1998, she joined UC Irvine as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science.
Performance Period: 10/01/2020 - 09/30/2024
Institution: University of California-Irvine
Award Number: 1952247