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Why New Daedalus?

Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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« Grid-Interop was great! | Thinking about what I want »

I don’t want much.

My early conversations at Grid-Interop this week have been driven by The Green Grid, and the discussions they have been having.

The Green Grid does not refer to the power grid, but to grid computing. In essence, the Green Grid is trying to solve the problems of reliability and efficiency in data centers. Data centers consume large amounts of power and convert it business process and heat. Green Grid operators want to understand the reliability of their power source, they want to know how well the building systems will be able to dissipate the heat, but the only thing they want to manage is the business processes.

Last night I had dinner with Ken Uhlman. Ken has been working on the Green Grid for the last year or so, and is passionate when describing the power distribution and power quality management. Ken has seen many of the same problems I have while working with oBIX. Many of the best engineers are detail oriented and love their work. They love their work so much they want to share it with others, They want to share not only how well their systems work, but all of the details about how they work.

Extraneous details are the enemies of interoperability. Extraneous details vary from implementation to implementation. Extraneous details lead to lock-in.

More importantly, extraneous details increase complexity. Complex systems are difficult for people from a different domain to use. If the complexity is too daunting, people just won’t try it.

So Ken and I were discussing a variety of issues when we came up to the crux. There are five elements of information that the data center needs from its electrical systems.

  • What’s my current burn rate, i.e., how much energy am I using NOW?
  • What’s my current price?
  • What quality of power am I receiving now (may be a complex data type)
  • What is the probability of some sort of failure now and for the near future?
  • ( variant of 2) What predictions for price do you have in the near future?

With that information, and no others, the Green Grid would get the information that it needs.

For internal power systems, (breakers, UPS, generators) he suggested one more feature, for whether a service order has been acknowledged after a fault. Possibly a similar feature with estimated repair time could be added to the external feed—but I wouldn’t wait to get it. The first 5 are enough.

One of my visions is a building agent, enterprise aware, choreographing building systems, and getting input from the grid. The inputs Ken has described would be all I need to come from the grid. With that information, and no more, buildings could be responsive to conditions on the power grid.

See, I don’t want much.

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