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Washington State University
WSU Research Smart and Sustainable Systems

Smart and sustainable systems

Automating many aspects of our lives

You’ve heard of smart cars. How about smart homes, smart factories, smart farms, smart power grids, or smart cities? Smart-system applications work to increase safety, ease, and efficiency in practically every field.

Smart systems are based on networks of devices: sensors, actuators, controllers, communication tools, and computational and decision-making components. These devices gather information about your environment, then adapt to support the way you live or work.

WSU faculty researchers take these systems’ operation to the next level by developing new machine learning methods, innovative materials, and reliable sensor networks. They apply their innovations in many ways. For example, researchers in the Energy Systems Innovation Center work to raise the efficiency and security of the nation’s power system. Another study aims to build resiliency against coordinated cyber attacks.

Thanks to research advances, smart systems may help anticipate and manage uncertainties in your own life in years ahead.

Research areas

  • Next generation smart and sustainable buildings
  • Transforming the U.S. power grid
  • Enhancing performance and well-being in cities via digital technologies
  • The Internet of Things
  • Power workers up on a light pole Designing cities for the future

    Measuring urban air quality is one step towards healthier, more sustainable cities

    By 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas. Growing cities strain food, water and energy systems, which in turn has a negative impact on economic, social and environmental sustainability and wellbeing.

    To address these challenges, regional governments, companies and universities are coming together to develop the technology and proposed system changes needed for “smarter” cities. An initiative in Spokane called Urbanova is one of the innovators in this movement, and Washington State University is a founding partner.

    Urbanova is a living laboratory in Spokane’s University District … » More …

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  • A photo of solar panels Transforming the U.S. power grid

    Automating electricity transfer across the state based on need

    To harness renewable resources and mitigate power outages, America needs to evolve the “Smart Grid,” the computer-automated network that distributes electricity nationwide. WSU’s Energy System Innovation Center is answering the challenge.

    The Center is part of the first regional effort to collect renewable energy and share it among buildings across the state. Development of energy-sharing capability will make power distribution more flexible and cost effective.

    Smart distribution of electricity

    The regional initiative demonstrates “transactive technology,” which uses a network of sensors, battery systems, and software to automatically adjust energy loads. Decisions to adjust are based on … » More …

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