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Dr. Tao Leads NSF-funded Research Network

Dr. Yongxin Tao, Betty L. Gordon Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, received $92,000 for the develop a student-centered approach that will build on the success of the program and maximize student access and flexibility as a working learner in a virtual environment. The VIFI system is an open-source software system, jointly developed with PI institution University North Carolina at Charlotte, and provides new foundational and transformative infrastructure solutions for data-driven discovery from distributed, fragmented data without moving massive data across the network or without needing to expose raw datasets to consumers. 

The $4M project under NSF DIBBs program started in 2016 when Dr. Tao was with the University of North Texas.  He has led the project from 2016 until its projected completion in 2021.  The multi-disciplinary SHBE team includes the researchers in architecture, construction, and mechanical engineering and computer and social science, from UNT, FSU, LSU, CMU, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.  Collectively they developed and demonstrated the VIFI-enabled modeling of building energy consumption due to the sustainable building design and operation, and resiliency of buildings and sites due to natural or man-made disasters. The data types in modeling include building structure, heating and cooling systems, occupancy behaviors, social-economic factors, and natural environments.  Through this research, the team contributes to the advance of knowledge in data sharing and security issues related to individual, as well as city-level, building design and operation.  

In addition to SHBE projects, VIFI is also demonstrated by researchers from Caltech, JPL and Levine Cancer Institute in the areas of health sciences, earth Science, and astronomy.