School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh
10 Crichton Street
+44 131 651 3091
Mobile: +44 7879 671 811
Secretary: +44 131 650 3100
Fax: +44 870 130
My research focus in the last few years has moved from computational
neuroscience and neuroinformatics to the application of
machine-learning methods in energy-related areas. I also have a
subsidiary interest in developing new approaches to macroeconomics
based on accounting of real flows in the economy.
- IDEAL: Intelligent Domestic Energy Advice Loop.
Reducing energy demand from existing dwellings through occupant
behaviour change is crucial for meeting UK carbon emission reduction
targets and will help the increasing numbers of households struggling
to pay their energy bills. This project explores the
interaction of energy technologies and householder behaviours related
to energy in a sample of 600 dwellings. Using wireless sensing,
machine learning, and natural language generation technologies, we
will construct an intelligent advice loop that will provide
information to householders on what activities they are engaging in
which use energy and how much energy is used for each one, together
with suggestions for what they might do to reduce their energy
expenditure; for example: "Last week you spent £10 on hot water for
showers, if you reduced your average shower time from 15 minutes to 12
minutes you could save £100 per year". If we can show that this loop
is effective in helping people to reduce their energy demand, then we
expect that energy suppliers and other companies will start to offer
it as a service to households to help them keep their energy costs
I am Principal Investigator on this project and have most interest in
the machine learning methods we apply to infer behavours from noisy
sensor data. I also oversee the software engineering aspects of the
data pipeline and the feedback channels.
- Learning Energy Systems.
This EPSRC-funded Research-in-the-Wild project will develop a
collective "Learning Energy System" involving people, objects, data
and machines, focussed on schools. Central to this is a digital system
designed to align human needs and comfort with building energy
systems, with the aim of to reducing overall energy demand. This
project differs from many energy reduction projects. The building
user; as a sensor of conditions; as a driver of energy demand; as an
individual; and as a collective, is at the heart of the "Learning
Energy System". Dynamic interactions between people and technology
will be set up using innovative mobile applications.
I am a Co-Investigator on this project, focussed on the machine-learning and HCI methods necesary to provide appropriate feedback to pupils and staff, and to enable them to interact with the system through easy-to-use interfaces.
- 4see macroeconomic model
This project, led by Arup, is a multidisciplinary collaboration aimed
at understanding the long-term drivers and constraints on evolution of
the macroeconomy, in the tradition of biophysical economics. We use
system dynamics modelling methods together with extensive analysis of
national macroeconomic data to enable evaluation of policy options
related to natural resources (principally energy). The fundamental
theses of this work is that, in contrast to standard macroeconomic
- There are serious constraints on substitutability in the short
and medium term. An obvious example is the forty-year commitment
to energy sources.
- The system does not tend to an equilibrium but is a complex
chaotic system that nevertheless in the right circumstances
exhibits stability and strong patterns (think of weather and
- Energy is a fundamental enabler of economic activity, and in a
time of uncertain energy supplies can act as a significant
constraint on economic activity.
I currently have one Ph.D. student and am open to taking on more
students who are interested in working in areas related to my
- Sergio Elizondo Gonzalez is working on a combination of machine-learning and agent-based methods to address the balance of supply and demand in future electricity networks (the Smart Grid).
I am Co-Director
Environment and Society
, which brings together Ph.D. students across the
University who are working on interdisciplinary projects within the
information for PhD
Other ActivitiesI am a member of the EU Smart Cities Initiative Stakeholder Platform,
in the Energy Efficiency and Buildings Working Group. Within this
group, I am Topic Coordinator for the "Living Labs and the Smart City"
topic. We are developing a set of proposals for the European
Commission to advise them on key innovations to focus on over the
period to 2020.
From September 2002 to July 2006 I
was Founding CEO of the business that has become ResearchSpace Ltd, which provides an online Electronic Lab Notebook. I continue to advise and support the company.