Researchers at QI are exploring the use of novel materials, new technologies and data-driven control systems to lower energy costs and reduce unnecessary use of water and other constrained resources. Institute research efforts focus on three main themes:

  • Reducing campus IT and telecom energy consumption: Research-intensive campus buildings expend most energy to power and cool computers, so QI supports projects to reduce the energy requirements of these computational and storage devices. They also undertake experiments at the intersection of computer architecture with software and algorithms to accomplish the same computational work with radically less energy.
  • Improving energy efficiency through smart buildings and intelligent transportation: QI deploys energy sensor networks to understand the major sub-components of energy demand and to provide strategies to reduce energy use. QI is also working with a growing fleet of renewable energy vehicles and electric-charging stations on the UC San Diego campus, and it is working with regional electrical utilities in Southern California to drive innovations into the emerging “smart” electric grid, connecting distributed renewable energy sources and energy storage.
  • Reducing travel by using virtual/physical collaboration systems: QI has an international reputation for research on using high-resolution video over dedicated fiber-optic networks to reduce the energy cost of commuting and business travel, and it has pioneered multiple large-scale and 3D visualization systems. The institute continues to expand its use of shared virtual/physical workspaces to support research projects throughout QI.

The UC San Diego campus serves as an ideal model for experimentation, because it functions as a ‘mini-city’ equipped with its own buildings, facilities, transportation, hospitals, and residential populations. Lessons learned within the institute’s experimental urban setting can help drive society’s move to a lower-carbon economy.


2014-2015 Round

  • Rapid Prototyping of Electronic Gadgets, PI Steven Swanson (Computer Science and Engineering)

2012-2013 Round

  • Quantum-Structure Enabled Thermal Energy Harvest for Self-Powered Electronics, PI Renkun Chen (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)

2010-2011 Round

  • Emerging Simulation and Visualization Technology for Wind Energy and Automotive Industry, PI David Benson (Structural Engineering)
  • Frictionless Stress Modeling for Biomass Conversion, PI Anjani Didwania (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)
  • A Multi-Spectral Airborne Sensor Platform for Energy and Environmental Audits, PI Falko Kuester (Structural Engineering)