Enabling Portable Building Applications through Automated Metadata Transformation

Arka Bhattacharya, David E. Culler, Jorge Ortiz, Dezhi Hong and Kamin Whitehouse

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2014-159
August 19, 2014

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-159.pdf

Sensor network research has facilitated advancements in various domains, such as industrial monitoring, environmental sensing, etc., and research challenges have shifted from creating infrastructure to utilizing it. Commercial buildings provide a valuable setting for investigating automated metadata acquisition and augmentation, as they typically comprise large sensor networks, but have limited, obscure 'tags' that are often meaningful only to the facility managers. Moreover, this primitive metadata is imprecise and varies across vendors and deployments. Extracting meaningful information from a building's sensor data, or control applications using the data, depends on the metadata available to interpret it, whether provided by novel networks or legacy instrumentation.

This state-of-the-art is a fundamental barrier to scaling analytics or intelligent control across the building stock, as even the basic steps involve labor intensive manual efforts by highly trained consultants. Writing building applications on its sensor network remains largely intractable as it involves extensive help from an expert in each building's design and operation to identify the sensors of interest and create the associated metadata. This process is repeated for each application development in a particular building, and across different buildings. This results in customized building-specific application queries which are not portable or scalable across buildings.

We present a synthesis technique that learns how to transform a building's primitive sensor metadata to a common namespace by using a small number of examples from an expert, such as the building manager. Once the transformation rules are learned for one building, it can be applied across buildings with a similar metadata structure. This common and understandable namespace can enable analytics applications that do not require apriori building-specific knowledge.

Initial results show that learning the rules to transform 70% of the primitive metadata of two buildings (with completely different metadata structure), comprising 1600 and 2600 sensors, into a common namespace took only 21 and 27 examples respectively. The learned rules were able to transform similar primitive metadata in about 60 other buildings as well, enabling writing of portable applications across these buildings.


BibTeX citation:

@techreport{Bhattacharya:EECS-2014-159,
    Author = {Bhattacharya, Arka and Culler, David E. and Ortiz, Jorge and Hong, Dezhi and Whitehouse, Kamin},
    Title = {Enabling Portable Building Applications through Automated Metadata Transformation},
    Institution = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2014},
    Month = {Aug},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-159.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2014-159},
    Abstract = {Sensor network research has facilitated advancements in various domains, such as industrial monitoring, environmental sensing, etc., and research challenges have shifted from creating infrastructure to utilizing it.
Commercial buildings provide a valuable setting for investigating automated metadata acquisition and augmentation, as they
typically comprise large sensor networks, but have limited, obscure 'tags' that are often meaningful only to the facility managers. Moreover, this primitive metadata is imprecise and varies across vendors and deployments. Extracting meaningful information from a building's sensor data, or control applications using the data, depends on the metadata available to interpret it, whether provided by novel networks or legacy instrumentation.

This state-of-the-art is a fundamental barrier to scaling analytics or intelligent control across the building stock, as even the basic steps involve labor intensive manual efforts by highly trained consultants. Writing building applications on its sensor network remains largely intractable as it involves extensive help from an expert in each building's design and operation to identify the sensors of interest and create the associated metadata. This process is repeated for each application development in a particular building, and across different buildings. This results in customized building-specific application queries which are not portable or scalable across buildings. 

We present a synthesis technique that learns how to transform a building's primitive sensor metadata to a common namespace by using a small number of examples from an expert, such as the building manager. Once the transformation rules are learned for one building, it can be applied across buildings with a similar metadata structure. This common and understandable namespace can enable analytics applications that do not require apriori building-specific knowledge.

Initial results show that learning the rules to transform 70% of the primitive metadata of two buildings (with completely different metadata structure), comprising 1600 and 2600 sensors, into a common namespace took only 21 and 27 examples respectively. The learned rules were able to transform similar primitive metadata in about 60 other buildings as well, enabling writing of portable applications across these buildings.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Report
%A Bhattacharya, Arka
%A Culler, David E.
%A Ortiz, Jorge
%A Hong, Dezhi
%A Whitehouse, Kamin
%T Enabling Portable Building Applications through Automated Metadata Transformation
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2014
%8 August 19
%@ UCB/EECS-2014-159
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-159.html
%F Bhattacharya:EECS-2014-159