The HorizonEurope project HEDGE-IoT started January 2024. The 3.5 year project will build on existing technology to develop a Holistic Approach towards Empowerment of the DiGitalization of the Energy Ecosystem through adoption of IoT solutions. For VU, this project allows us to continue with the research and development initiated in the InterConnect project on data interoperability and explainable machine learning for smart buildings.
Researchers from the User-Centric Data Science group will participate in the project mostly in the context of the Dutch pilot, which will run in Arnhems Buiten, the former testing location of KEMA in the east of the Netherlands. In the pilot, we will collaborate closely with the other Dutch partners: TNO and Arnhems Buiten. At this site, an innovative business park is being realized that has its own power grid architecture, allowing for exchange of data and energy, opening the possibility for various AI-driven services for end-users.
VU will research a) how such data can be made interoperable and enriched with external information and knowledge and b) how such data can be made accessible to services and end-users through data dashboards that include explainable AI.
The image above shows the Arnhems Buiten buildings and the energy grid (source: Arnhems Buiten)
The InterConnect project gathers 50 European entities to develop and demonstrate advanced solutions for connecting and converging digital homes and buildings with the electricity sector. Machine Learning (ML) algorithms play a significant role in the InterConnect project. Most prominent are the services that do some kind of forecasting like predicting energy consumption for (Smart) devices and households in general. The SAREF ontology allows us to standardize input formats for common ML approaches and that explainability can be increased by selecting algorithms that inherently have these features (e.g. Decision Trees) and by using interactive web environments like Jupyter Notebooks a convenient solution for users is created where step by step the algorithmic procedures can be followed and visualized and forms an implementation example for explainable AI.
Recently, generative art has been one of the fields where AI, especially deep learning has caught the public eye. Algorithms and online tools such as Dall-E are able to produce astounding results based on large artistic datasets. One class of algorithms that has been at the root of this success is the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), frequently used in online art-generating tools because of their ability to produce realistic artefacts.
but, is this “””real””” art? is this “””real””” creativity?
To address this, Fay investigated current theories on art and art education and found that these imply that true human creativity can be split into three types: 1) combinational, 2) explorative and 3) transformative creativity but that it also requires real-world experiences and interactions with people and the environment. Therefore, Fay in her thesis proposes to combine the GAN with an Internet of Things (IoT) setup to make it behave more creative.
She then designed a system that extends the original GAN with an interactive IoT system (implemented in an Arduino-based prototype) to simulate a more creative process. The prototype of the design showed a successful implementation of creative behaviour that can react to the environment and gradually change the direction of the generated images.
The generated art was evaluated based on their creativity by doing task-based interviews with domain experts. The results show that the the level to which the generated images are considered to be creative depends heavily on the participant’s view of creativity.
On 1 October 2019, the Horizon2020 Interconnect project has started. The goal of this huge and ambitious project is to achieve a relevant milestone in the democratization of efficient energy management, through a flexible and interoperable ecosystem where distributed energy resources can be soundly integrated with effective benefits to end-users.
To this end, its 51 partners (!) will develop an interoperable IOT and smart-grid infrastructure, based on Semantic technologies, that includes various end-user services. The results will be validated using 7 pilots in EU member states, including one in the Netherlands with 200 appartments.
The role of VU is to develop in close collaboration with TNO extend and validating the SAREF ontology for IOT as well as and other relevant ontologies. VU will lead a task on developing Machine Learning solutions on Knowledge graphs and extend the solutions towards usable middle layers for User-centric ML services in the pilots, specifically in the aforementioned Dutch pilot, where VU will collaborate with TNO and VolkerWessel iCity and Hyrde.