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September 29, 2016

Pitt, CMU, city join MetroLab Network

Pitt has joined Carnegie Mellon University and the City of Pittsburgh in the MetroLab Network, part of the White House’s Smart Cities Initiative. MetroLab was launched last year to create city-university partnerships bringing data, analytics and innovation to city government.

In MetroLab Network’s partnerships the university serves as a research and development arm, and the city serves as a testing ground for technologies and policies. Faculty members and students gain access to real-world laboratories to develop and test tools and programs that utilize information technology, data analytics, sensing and more. Cities benefit from their technical expertise, leading to solutions that reduce the cost of infrastructure and services, making cities more sustainable and resilient, and improving citizens’ quality of life.

Pitt’s first three contributions to the network are:

• The District Energy Initiative, a “grid of microgrids” concept within and around Pittsburgh, which will create a more resilient, efficient, economical and sustainable energy ecosystem for the region.

• The 2nd Avenue Solar Canopy and Direct Current Microgrid and Electric Vehicle Car Charging Station, which will help the city switch some vehicles from gasoline to electric power.

• The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, which supports key community initiatives by making public information easier to find and use. The data center maintains Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh’s open data portal and provides services to data publishers and users. The data center also hosts data sets from these and other public-sector agencies, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations. The data center is managed by the University Center for Social and Urban Research and is a partnership of Pitt, Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh.

Gregory Reed, faculty member in electrical and computer engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering and director of Pitt’s Center for Energy, will oversee the first two projects with Grant Ervin, the city’s chief resilience officer.

Bob Gradeck, project manager of the data center, is overseeing that project with Laura Meixell, analytics and strategy manager for the city.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 49 Issue 3

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