University of Vermont

UVM CEMS student supports emerging Vermont business in energy conservation

Zhao Li, CEMS graduate student in computer scienceOver the past year, the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) and UVM's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) worked together to successfully match the skills of a UVM graduate student in computer science with the needs of an emerging Vermont software company promoting energy conservation solutions, Kilawatt Technologies. Supported by a fellowship from the Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), graduate student Zhao Li has been working with Kilawatt Technologies for the past four months. Li's work has focused on computational support of the company's innovative energy conservation systems utilizing predictive modeling to minimize energy costs associated with both heating and cooling. "This kind of applied research collaboration with Vermont businesses is an excellent way for UVM to bring entrepreneurial experiences to graduate student education as well as investing in our state's economic development," says CEMS Associate Dean Melody Burkins. Steve Antinozzi, CFO of Kilawatt Technologies, has been extremely pleased with Li's fellowship work. "Zhao Li has provided critical conceptual planning, laying the groundwork for the large-scale application of our conservation systems utilizing predictive modeling. His system allows us to provide clients with a robust statistical validation of our customized energy conservation solutions." This fall, Li will pursue his studies for a doctoral degree in computer science with Department Chair and Professor Xindong Wu, who has been advising him during the fellowship at Kilawatt Technologies and who considers academic-industry interactions a strategic priority for the UVM Department of Computer Science. "I am very happy with all that Zhao has been doing with VCET," says Professor Wu. "Zhao is extremely smart and recognizes that this fellowship is a precious opportunity to put theory into practice."