Toronto Networking Seminar

Organized by Department of Computer Science and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto

When Internet Data Centers Meet Smart Grids

Xue Liu
McGill University

Date: December 12,  2:10pm
Location: BA 4164 (Bahen Centre)


The operations of todays Internet data centers (IDCs) require gigantic amount of electricity. Companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo pay tens of millions of dollars annually for electricity. This trend continues with the emergence of cloud computing, where data and computation hosting are out- sourced to IDCs, for reliability, management, and cost benefits etc. In the mean time, smart grids, which are information-enabled power systems, have gained significant momentum. Using two-way information technology, smart grid enables energy efficiency through intelligent matching of loads to demands. In this talk, I will present several of our recent work focusing on how to operate Internet data centers efficiently in the smart grid environment. We show through the close interaction and coordination between the IDCs and the smart grid, we can significantly reduce the power costs and risks associated with IDC operations.


Xue Liu is an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at McGill University. He is also affiliated to the Department of ECE, Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM), and Centre for Advanced Systems & Technologies in Communications (SYTACom). Before that, he was the Samuel R. Thompson Chaired Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Dr. Liu obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. He obtained his B.S. degree in Mathematics and M.S. degree in Automatic Control both from Tsinghua University, China. His research interests are in real-time and embedded systems, data centers and Internet technologies, cyber-physical systems, and software reliability. Dr. Liu has been granted 1 US patent and filed 4 other US patents, and published more than 100 research papers in major peer-reviewed international journals and conference proceedings, including the Year 2008 Best Paper Award from IEEE Transactions on Indus- trial Informatics, and the First Place Best Paper Award from the Fourth ACM Conference on Wireless Network Security (WiSec11). Dr. Lius research has been reported by news media including the New York Times, NewScientist, CBC, MIT Technology Reviews Blog, The Register, Yahoo news, Slashdot etc. Dr. Liu's past and ongoing research is supported by NSERC (Discovery, Strategic, CRD), US National Science Foundation, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, FQRNT, CRIAQ, Amazon, Bombardier, Thales, MDEIE etc.