Sunday, November 18, 2012

Open PhD/Postdoc Positions at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria

1 Postdoc and 1 PhD researcher on Smart Energy Systems (full-time)

We work on integrating energy generators and consumers into a smart electricity grid. The goal is to build up a microgrid lab and perform applied research with industrial partners. One PhD and one Senior Researcher will be hired. We are a highly motivated international team of researchers situated at the Lakeside Science & Technology Park/University of Klagenfurt, Austria. We offer best work conditions, a beautiful campus with a pleasant, intercultural work environment, and a highly competitive salary. Potential candidates should have a master's degree (for PhD position)/a doctoral degree (for postdoc position) in computer science, computer engineering, mathematics, physics or related studies and should have skills in creative problem solving, energy systems, and the use of the English language. Further information about the project can be found here.

PhD researcher on Complex Systems Engineering (full-time)

We are offering a position for a researcher within the MESON (Modeling and Engineering of Self-Organizing Networks) project. We are a highly motivated international team of researchers situated at the Lakeside Science & Technology Park/University of Klagenfurt, Austria. We offer best work conditions, a beautiful campus with a pleasant, intercultural work environment, and a highly competitive salary. Potential candidates should have a master's degree in computer science, computer engineering, mathematics, physics or related studies and should have skills in creative problem solving, Java programming, the use of the English language and knowledge in at least one of the following subjects: Complex systems, Machine Learning, Multi-agent systems, Smart Grid. Further information about the MESON project can be found on the project webpage:

Information for Applicants

Research will be conducted at the Institute of Networked and Embedded Systems under the supervision of Professor Wilfried Elmenreich. Working language is English. The institute cooperates with national and international partners from industry and academia and is part of the research cluster Lakeside Labs. Women are especially encouraged to apply. Please mail applications containing a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, copies of academic certificates and courses, list of publications, and contact details of two references in a single PDF file to by deadline of January15th, 2013.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Keeping an eye on my Photovoltaic System

Guest Post by Benjamin Steinwender

At my home place we have recently installed two photovoltaic systems with a total peak power production of 15 kW. From the first moment my dad confronted me with this idea, I wanted to record time series data of any measurement signal I could obtain from the system. Most promising was the fact of an included web server on the power converter.


Storing time series data over long periods can lead to high disk usage. Fortunately, I came across RRDtool (round-robin-database tool) - when I installed a monitoring solution for a FEM simulation server cluster and its UPS some time ago.

RRDtool stores data in a circular buffer so that its file size remains constant over time. However, older data will be overwritten after some time. The idea is to store the data in so-called round-robin archives with a consolidation function applied in order to keep the interesting properties. In my special application, the following archive sizes are used:
  •     10080 x 1 minute samples for 7 days
  •     11760 x 5 minute maximum & average values for 40 days, 20 hours
  •     4704 x 30 minute maximum & average values for 98 days
  •     2604 x 2 hour maximum & average values for ~ 7.2 months
  •     2678 x 1 day maximum & average values for ~ 7.3 years
This gives plenty of storage with a reasonable file size of roughly 420 kB per data series.


To ease the data presentation and acquisition, cacti is used. This web-based application (favorable a Linux web server + PHP and MySQL required) is based on the RRDtool and provides Data Input Methods and Graph Templates as well as a nice graphical user interface to view the recorded data. Cacti primarily supports data acquisition via SNMP queries, but the power converter does not provide such interface. However, custom scripts can also be used.


Therefore, a PHP script has been written to fetch the current web page of the power converter and a simple HTML DOM (document-object-model) parser was used to extract the required field values. The tools run on a 24/7 NAS server where a cron job invokes the cacti poller (and thus the script) once every minute.


Data acquisition is now successfully running since about 1 month. The total power production from last week can be seen in the following figure. The light-blue area represents the power output of the smaller (5 kW) system and the stacked dark-blue area is the power output of the larger (9.8 kW) system. From the data series we can even infer on the weather – the figure indicates that is was sunny at the weekend, cloudy on Monday, Tuesday and Friday and rainy on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Smart Grids @ SASO2012

We (Anita Sobe and Istvan Fehervari) are currently at the SASO 2012 in Lyon, the main conference on self-organizing and self-adaptive systems, with approximately 100 attendees. The topics of the talks are very wide spread and therefore the attendees and speakers come from different fields where they apply and analyze various SASO systems.

The first day we attendted the Workshop EVAL4SASO, a special session dedicated for the problem of evaluating such complex SASO systems. Here, we presented our paper:

A. Sobe, I. Fehervari, W. Elmenreich
In IEEE SASO Workshop Eval4SASO, Lyon, France, September 2012

It presents a generic evolutionary framework for rapid prototyping and evaluating research ideas on the design and behavior of evolved complex systems. To illustrate its capabilities, we demonstrated a short demo on a sample problem of dynamic pricing in smart microgrids. FREVO is easy to use and we hope it will assist many researchers and engineers. For further details and downloads, see:

We were positively surprised by the high number of attendees focusing their work on Smart Grids. Although the Smart Grid research field is broad and was also reflected by the diverse presentations, all researchers agreed that there are many dynamic and complex problems that should be tackled by the help of self-organizing algorithms and mechanisms.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Design Guidelines for Smart Appliances

From July 5-6 2012 the tenth Workshop on Intelligent Solutions in Embedded Systems (WISES) took place in Klagenfurt, Austria. On this workshop Wilfried Elmenreich and Dominik Egarter presented their paper called "Design Guidelines for Smart Appliances".

Possible software solution for smart appliances:
waistline architecture model
Embedded intelligence can help controlling and reducing the energy consumption of appliances to a significant amount. Such a smart appliance will consist of a communication interface, a local processing and decision unit and the appliance's actual function. Sophisticated functions for such a device will involve a notion of real-time with a respective time format, a generic database that contains energy usage logs, error messages, warnings and real-time measurements for power usage, and an embedded self-description that allows to integrate the device into a system with minimum manual configuration. While there exists concepts for smart plugs and smart outlets that can be applied to smarten an existing device, in general we need to assume that the variety of appliances and technologies will require the support for various architectures including software solutions that integrate into the functions of an appliance with existing computing power, e.g. a DVD player or a state-of-the-art television set. Thus there is a need for architectural services with flexibility for different hosting systems while keeping the interoperability with respect to a smart home control system.

Wilfried Elmenreich, Dominik Egarter, "Design Guidelines for Smart Appliances", Proceedings of the 10th International Workshop on Intelligent Solutions in Embedded Systems (WISES’12), pp. 76-82, July, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

National Energy Production in Comparison

Guest Post by Lizzie Dawes

Of the individual countries looked at (Austria, UK, Germany, USA), Austria produces the most renewable energy, in terms of proportion. Unsurprisingly, given its area, the USA produces the most renewable energy. The USA was second only to China in its investment in renewables, spending $51 billion (around 41 billion Euros) in 2011. 
As can be seen from the graphs, Austria produces more hydroelectric power than any other type of power – including conventional thermal power. Why is this? Is it because Austria has ample opportunity for hydroelectric power stations? Is it because Austria’s waterways are not vital for commerce, with Austria being landlocked? Is it because Austrians are more receptive to the idea of renewable energy and are prepared for hydroelectric power stations to be built? 

Perhaps the answer lies in Austria’s geography – Austria is mountainous, to a degree that Britain and Germany are not – 68% of Austria’s land is above 500m. The majority of its hydroelectric power stations are in mountainous regions. Similarly, most of Britain’s hydroelectric power plants lie in mountainous regions – in Scotland and Wales, largely.

It is not as if other countries lack opportunity for hydroelectric power –Britain has mooted the idea of a barrage on the River Severn for decades, for example. Recently, there have been plans for more plants along the Mississippi River (USA), some of which have been abandoned as the price of natural gas has fallen.

Is hydroelectric the answer, though? Germany has invested heavily in renewable energy – 200 billion Euros have been pledged to build offshore wind farms. Indeed, Germany’s investments appear to have been successful – it now produces nigh on four times the energy from renewable sources as the UK and well over twice as much as Austria. 

It should also be noted that even Austria has not run away with itself building hydroelectric power plants – a protest at the Hainburger Au in 1984 stopped the construction of a hydroelectricity power station there, due to the impact the power station would have had on the environment. 

Austria, as can be seen from the graphs, has never produced any nuclear power, after a referendum in 1978, deciding that the Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant was never to be used and since then, Austria has never operated a nuclear power plant. An interesting twist in Zwentendorf’s tale is that it has become, at least for the present, Austria’s largest solar power station.
Another factor to take into consideration is that most renewables (wind, solar, hydroelectric, for example) cannot be used constantly - they depend on the time of day, weather, etc. 

It is obvious that there are still issues to be solved, with regard to providing energy, even through renewable sources – careful consideration will still be needed on how to provide power when renewable sources currently cannot – either new ways of generating energy need to be found, or further investment is needed in geothermal, biomass, or nuclear energy.

All graphs based on data from US Energy Information Administration

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Smart Microgrids: Overview and Outlook

Our paper "Smart Microgrids: Overview and Outlook" by Anita Sobe and Wilfried Elmenreich has been accepted for the Smart Grid Workshop of the ITG INFORMATIK 2012 conference, taking place from 16th to 21st September 2012 in Braunschweig, Germany.

The idea of changing our energy system from a hierarchical design into a set of nearly independent microgrids becomes feasible with the availability of small renewable energy generators. The smart microgrid concept comes with several challenges in research and engineering targeting load balancing, pricing, consumer integration and home automation. In this paper we first provide an overview on these challenges and present approaches that target the problems identified. While there exist promising algorithms for the particular field, we see a missing integration which specifically targets smart microgrids. Therefore, we propose an architecture that integrates the presented approaches and defines interfaces between the identified components such as generators, storage, smart and “dumb” devices.

Anita Sobe, Wilfried Elmenreich, "Smart Microgrids: Overview and Outlook", ITG INFORMATIK 2012, Workshop on Smart Grids, September, 2012 [PDF]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Self-Organization and Smart Grids

The Research Days are an annual event concentrating on the core competence of Lakeside Labs - Self-organizing Networked Systems.  During this workshop organized by Lakeside Labs GmbH in cooperation with the University of Klagenfurt, international experts devote themselves to a special topic in self-organization. The event is organized as a five days workshop in July. It takes place at Lakeside Labs in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, Austria, near a beautiful lake and Alps scenery. Invited experts, local professors, and young researchers discuss and elaborate ideas in the field of Self-Organizing Systems (SOS). The main emphasis of the workshop is on soliciting discussions and creating new ideas regarding a topic related to self-organizing systems. The event greatly supports scientific exchange, networking, establishment of international collaborations, and joint research projects. 

The research days 2012 will target at discussions in self-organization and its application in smart grids. Research and development on applications of self-organization have the potential to provide results across the established domain borders of existing research and engineering disciplines. Self-organization is thus the new paradigm to cope with the emerging complexity of networked applications. Due to the increasing complexity of components, networks and, thus, systems build of these, we face such applications more and more often. One of the great challenges of our time is the transformation of our energy system from fossil fuel resources to sustainable resources. Another chance is the intelligent integration of the behavior of all users (generators and consumers) of an electricity grid to optimize the operation of the system, e.g. by balancing energy consumption based on availability.

The research days will take place in the week of July 9-13, 2012. The opening event will start at 9:30 on Monday July 9. The days will close on Friday, July 13, at noon. A detailed workshop schedule will follow a few weeks before the event.
The registration fee for the workshop is € 500. The technical program including social event takes place from Monday to Thursday. Friday holds a special session were project collaboration and future issues are discussed. Please register until Mai 31 via email at
The research days have taken place annually since 2008. Notable results from previous Research Days have been research collaborations, several joint papers, organization of conference special sessions, and the conception and submission of joint research projects in the EU FP7 framework.

The following video gives a nice impression of a past instance of the Research Days:

Further Links

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1st International Conference on Smart Grids and Green IT Systems


1st International Conference on Smart Grids and Green IT Systems
19 - 20 April, 2012
Porto, Portugal

In collaboration with EDP, SIEMENS, Schneider Electric and Efacec
Sponsored by INSTICC
INSTICC is Member of WfMC and OMG
Media Partner: SmartGrid

  Regular Paper Submission: January 23, 2012 (deadline extended)
  Authors Notification (regular papers): February 22, 2012
  Final Regular Paper Submission and Registration: March 6, 2012

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Submitted papers will be subject to a double-blind review process. All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings, under an ISBN reference, on paper and CD-ROM support. JSEF
The proceedings will be submitted for indexation by Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index (ISI), INSPEC, DBLP and EI (Elsevier Index).
Best paper awards will be distributed during the conference closing session. Please check the website for further information (
All papers presented at the conference venue will be available at the SciTePress Digital Library ( SciTePress is member of CrossRef (

We would like to highlight the presence of the following keynote speakers: Charles Sheridan (Intel Labs Europe, Ireland) and Nikos Hatziargyriou (National Technical University, Greece). More names will be announced soon at the SMARTRGREENS 2012 conference website (

Workshops, Special sessions, Tutorials as well as Demonstrations dedicated to other technical/scientific topics are also envisaged: companies interested in presenting their products/methodologies or researchers interested in holding a tutorial are invited to contact the conference secretariat. Workshop chairs and Special Session chairs will benefit from logistics support and other types of support, including secretariat and financial support, to facilitate the development of a valid idea.

Please check further details at the SMARTRGREENS 2012 conference web site. There you will find detailed information about the conference structure and its main topic areas. This conference is co-located with CSEDU 2012 (4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education -, CLOSER 2012 (2nd International Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science - and WEBIST 2012 (8th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies - Registration to SMARTGREENS will enable free attendance to any sessions of CSEDU, CLOSER and WEBIST 2012 as a non-speaker.

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Joaquim Filipe,  Polytechnic Institute of Setubal / INSTICC, Portugal

Brian Donnellan, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland
Joao Peças Lopes, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Joao Martins, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal



    - Architectures for Smart Grids
    - Smart Grids Modeling
    - Smart Grid Specific Protocols
    - Scalable Infrastructures for Smart Grids
    - Standards for Smart Grids
    - Load Balancing in Smart Grids
    - Smart Grid Security and Reliability
    - Smart Grids and Renewable Technologies
    - Sensors for Smart Grids
    - Real-Time Systems
    - Fault Tolerance and Disaster Recovery in Smart Grids
    - Integration of Smart Appliances
    - Smart Cities
    - Smart Homes (Domotics)


    - Optimization Techniques for Efficient Energy Consumption
    - Economic Models of Energy Efficiency
    - Greener Systems Planning and Design
    - Energy-Efficient Transmission Technologies
    - Energy Monitoring
    - Virtualization for Reducing Power Consumption
    - Scheduling and Switching Power Supplies
    - Performance Evaluation of Green Computing Systems
    - Energy Profiling and Measurement
    - Renewable Energy Resources
    - Embedded Sensor Networks
    - Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    - Energy Management Systems (EMS)


    - Algorithms for Reduced Power, Energy and Heat
    - Qos and Green Computing
    - Green Software Engineering Methodologies and Tools
    - Virtualization Impact for Green Computing
    - Pervasive Computing for Energy Efficiency
    - Green Data Centers
    - Green Architectures for Grids, Clouds and Clusters
    - Green Computing Models, Methodologies and Paradigms
    - Green Communications Architectures and Frameworks
    - Sustainable Wireless Communication
    - Energy Efficient Network Hardware
    - Energy-Efficient Communication Protocols
    - Teleworking and Remote Collaboration
    - Education on Green Computing and Communications
    - Case Studies on Green Computing and Communications