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  • richardmitnick 9:53 am on August 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Google,   

    From wired: “How Much Can You Save With Solar Panels? Just Ask Google” 

    Wired logo

    Wired

    08.18.15
    Cade Metz

    1
    Google

    If you’re considering solar power but aren’t quite sure it’s worth the expense, Google wants to point you in the right direction. Tapping its trove of satellite imagery and the latest in artificial intelligence, the company is offering a new online service that will instantly estimate how much you’ll save with a roof full of solar panels.

    3
    The first three concentrated solar power (CSP) units of Spain’s Solnova Solar Power Station in the foreground, with the PS10 and PS20 solar power towers in the background

    On Monday, the company unveiled Project Sunroof, a tool that calculates your home’s solar power potential using the same high-resolution aerial photos Google Earth uses to map the planet. After creating a 3-D model of your roof, the service estimates how much sun will hit those solar panels during the year and how much money the panels could save you over the next two decades. “People search Google all the time to learn about solar,” says Google’s Joel Conkling. “But it would be much more helpful if they could learn whether their particular roof is a good fit.”

    2
    Google

    The service is now available for homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, central California, and the greater Boston area. Google is headquartered in California, you see, and project creator Carl Elkin lives in Boston. Based in the company’s Cambridge offices, Elkin typically works on Google’s search engine, but he developed Project Sunroof during his “20 percent time“—that slice of the work week Googlers can use for independent projects.

    How Google Parses Your Roof

    Elkin’s own home has solar panels, and he once volunteered with Solarize Massachusetts to promote solar in the Bay State. He and Google see Project Sunroof pushing solar use further still. “We people want to go solar but don’t understand how cheap it is,” Elkin says. “I wanted people to understand that they can actually save money.”

    As Google notes in a blog post announcing Project Sunroof, the time is ripe for such a tool. “This is an extremely useful thing,” says Roland Winston, a professor at the University of California, Merced, who specializes in solar energy. “Solar technology is cheaper than ever.” Indeed, others have developed services along these lines, including academics and companies like Geostellar and Mapdwell.

    But Google’s service is a bit different. It has Google behind it—and the company is taking a particularly comprehensive approach. In analyzing satellite images of your home, Google uses “deep learning” neural networks to separate your roof from the surrounding trees and shadows. “Even a strong solar advocate like me wouldn’t recommend putting solar panels on your trees,” Elkin says. Mimicking the web of neurons in the human brain, this sort of neural network is the same technology used to recognize faces on Facebook or instantly translate from one language to another on Skype.

    Project Sunroof also simulates the shadows that typically cover your home on any given day (see animation above), and it tracks local weather patterns. “We’re able show how much energy is hitting each part of your roof,” Conkling says. And if you like, you can further hone that company’s calculations by providing how much you typically spend on electricity (otherwise, the service relies on public utility rates in your area).

    Beyond Elkin’s personal crusade, Google has a long history of advocating for solar power. In addition to investing in solar as a means of powering its global network of data centers, the company previously has invested in residential solar projects. But this isn’t mere charity work. Project Sunroof also recommends solar providers in your area, and it plans to eventually take a referral fee from these providers. “We want to help people understand the potential of solar power,” says Conkling. “But we can make some money off of that as well.”

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 2:34 pm on January 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, Google, ScienceSprings   

    A Note About the ScienceSprings Fan Page at Facebook 

    Some time ago, as an experiment, I started a Fan Page for ScienceSprings at Facebook. I assumed it would be a total flop. I mean, you know, it is hard enough to get people to be interested in Science; how far can one go in asking for their allegiance.

    A problem occurred through my own ignorance: since I “Liked” the page, entires there went through to my own Facebook page, and I assumed that they went to all of my “friends” at Facebook. But my daughter let me know that was not the case. She commented that she had not seen anything from me in quite a while. So, I put a note on the Fan Page that I needed to stop using it.

    Now, just today, a friend explained to my how it all works. So I started in the business of bringing the Fan Page up to date from about December 8, 2012, until the present.

    Well, the digirati at Facebook went nuts, told me I was going “too fast” and “blocked” me for two days. Too fast? What does “digital” mean? How can one go “too fast”?

    Anyway, now that I know how it works, I will be re-energizing the page for all of those interested.

    BTW, ScienceSprings is now also at Google+. You can search “Richard Mitnick”, or, I am told, you can actually search “ScienceSprings”. If you are using Google+, please search me up and add me to your circles.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:45 am on April 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Google, , ,   

    From the WCG Chat Room Forum: Google to Donate 1 Billion Core Hours to Research 

    i1

    1 billion core-hours of computational capacity for researchers
    April 07, 2011

    Posted by Dan Belov, Principal Engineer and David Konerding, Software Engineer

    We’re pleased to announce a new academic research grant program: Google Exacycle for Visiting Faculty. Through this program, we’ll award up to 10 qualified researchers with at least 100 million core-hours each, for a total of 1 billion core-hours. The program is focused on large-scale, CPU-bound batch computations in research areas such as biomedicine, energy, finance, entertainment, and agriculture, amongst others. For example, projects developing large-scale genomic search and alignment, massively scaled Monte Carlo simulations, and sky survey image analysis could be an ideal fit.

    Exacycle for Visiting Faculty expands upon our current efforts through University Relations to stimulate advances in science and engineering research, and awardees will participate through the Visiting Faculty Program. We invite full-time faculty members from universities worldwide to apply. All grantees, including those outside of the U.S., will work on-site at specific Google offices in the U.S. or abroad. The exact Google office location will be determined at the time of project selection.

    Technical Specifications and Requirements

    Proposals that are ideal for Google Exacycle include, but are not limited to, research projects like Folding@Home, Rosetta@Home, various [other] BOINC projects, and grid parameter sweeps. Other examples include large-scale genomic search and alignment, protein family modeling and sky survey image analysis.

    The best projects will have a very high number of independent work units, a high CPU to I/O ratio, and no inter-process communication (commonly described as Embarrassingly or Pleasantly Parallel). The higher the CPU to I/O rate, the better the match with the system. Programs must be developed in C/C++ and compiled via Native Client. Awardees will be able to consult an on-site engineering team.

    Preference will be given to projects that are fairly high-risk/high-reward with the potential to drastically transform the scientific landscape. Even projects that yield negative results can still provide public data that the community can continue to analyze. At completion of the project, we recommend, but do not require, that all the researcher’s data be made freely available to the academic community.

    We are excited to accept proposals starting today. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. PST May 31, 2011. Applicants are encouraged to send in their proposals early as awards will be granted starting in June.

    More information and details on how to apply for a Google Exacycle for Visiting Faculty grant can be found on the Google Exacycle for Visiting Faculty website.

     
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