University-Industry Engagement Week

Indiana universities partner with industry on AI-based effort to cut energy use among manufacturers


By David Schwartz
Published: August 2nd, 2022

A partnership that brings Indiana’s research universities together with major industry partners will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help small and mid-sized Indiana manufacturers lower their carbon footprints, which also training students for careers in the emerging field of energy analytics.

Researchers will develop advanced manufacturing data models and analytics applications, which will provide recommended processes and protocols to manufacturing companies so they can reduce their energy consumption, increase factory efficiency, and enhancing sustainability.

The project is a collaboration among Indiana University (IU), Purdue, Notre Dame as well as industry and nonprofit partners Amazon Web Services (AWS), Conexus Indiana, Energy Systems Network, and the Emerging Manufacturing Collaboration Center.

“Currently, over 95% of Indiana manufacturers do not have analytics to correlate their energy usage with factory assembly lines, machines, shifts, operator usage patterns, and more,” said Raj Acharya, associate vice president for research and AI innovation at IU and principal investigator on the project. “This understanding, coupled with solutions to detected problems, will allow manufacturers to immediately see the improvement in their energy usage processes.”

In addition to the industry-focused research, the effort will also create educational resources, including a raw data repository and new curricula, and provide students with hands-on experience in developing and implementing analytics models to evaluate energy data.

The larger effort is connected to two concurrent programs:

  • AnalytiXIN, an initiative facilitated by the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership to develop a digital community, including a place-focused collaboration hub in Indianapolis, that will encourage industry engagement with academic data science research; and
  • Energy INsights, which helps participating Indiana manufacturers improve energy efficiency in their factories by integrating an AWS-connected platform, cutting-edge computer and sensor hardware, and AI and data science software tools.

Researchers at the three universities will collect and analyze data gathered from Energy INsights and university testbeds to develop applications and a raw data repository, or a “data lake,” for use by the broader industry, research, and education communities. The researchers will package their apps into customizable assets on the AWS cloud, where they’ll be available to manufacturers.

“Our university’s role in this one-of-a-kind project speaks to the world-class quality of the informatics, computing and engineering research program that we’ve built at IU,” stated IU Vice President for Research Fred H. Cate. “This is a great example of how IU faculty and students are working at the forefront of emerging fields of research to help make Indiana a better place to live and work.”

According to Acharya, the partnership is one of the first research projects to combine the fields of energy, AI, and manufacturing. “No single curriculum currently offers this diverse set of training disciplines, presenting both a challenge and a unique opportunity,” Acharya said. “As part of this effort, we will create a unique training and education curriculum at the intersection of engineering, computer science, AI, machine learning and technology.”

The two-year project will offer extensive hands-on experience and industry internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

Source: News at IU

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week