Tech Billionaire Tom Siebel Launches Institute To Tackle Proliferation Of Power Grid Data
The nation’s energy infrastructure is getting equipped with millions of sensors — everything from vibration sensors on nuclear power plants to the internet-connected thermostat on the wall of someone’s house — and is starting to produce data on the scale of petabytes (a million gigabytes). Pretty soon, just about everything will be measured, and knowing what to do with all this data with analytics and machine learning is a looming challenge.
Tech billionaire Tom Siebel on Tuesday announced the formation of the Siebel Energy Institute, which will attempt to tackle the challenge of putting this data to good use.
Siebel, who made his fortune with Siebel Systems, an early customer relationship management software company that Oracle bought for $5.8 billion in 2006, is putting in $10 million of his own money into the new institute, which will team up with a number of big research universities: University of California, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, École Polytechnique, University of Tokyo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Politecnico Di Torino, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. S. Shankar Sastry, the dean of the engineering school at UC Berkeley, will head up this new institute.
Two times a year, the institute will hand out grants of between $25,000 to $50,000 for original research proposals into this area. Researchers can then look to raise money from foundations like the National Science Foundation to fully fund their work. The Siebel Energy Institute may continue to fund researchers projects even after the initial investment.