Which Data Do Intelligent Buildings Use?


“As an engineer, I am pretty much automatically interested in Germany,” explains Prof. Dr. Sergio Lucia in fluent German. Born and raised in Zaragoza, Spain, 30-year-old Lucia did his master’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Zaragoza. While studying, he also did a year at TU Berlin on an Erasmus scholarship. “I consciously chose Berlin and did a few semesters of German beforehand. I knew from the start that I wanted a career in science.” From Berlin he transferred to TU Dortmund University to do his doctorate. “Berlin felt more international and not very German. Dortmund, on the other hand, was very German.” For his postdoc, Lucia transferred to Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg before spending six months at MIT in the United States. Since May 2017 Sergio Lucia has been professor of Internet of Things for smart buildings at TU Berlin and is thus far one of six professors at the TU Berlin working at the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF).

“My research area focuses on the Internet of Things in the context of intelligent buildings. My main goal is to develop mathematical models to calculate how data derived from the Internet of Things—for example, data from air conditioning systems, lighting, heating systems, movement profiles, and the like—can be used to make the most of intelligent control. My models should calculate in advance which data and communication technologies are required to intelligently control buildings or smart cities. How and how often do data need to be communicated to ensure a certain kind of performance? What is the optimal compromise between energy consumption, latency, package failure rate, and performance? For all of these questions optimizing techniques as well as machine learning play a big role,” says Lucia.

The ECDF excites him not least due to its public-private partnerships. “The very special design of the ECDF permits me direct access to Interdisciplinarity. This kind of work has always fascinated me. I think you learn the most and fastest this way. TU Berlin, with its broad spectrum of disciplines, is the perfect environment for this,” Prof. Sergio Lucia explains his motivation. Indeed, one of his first steps was to work on two doctoral applications at the new international and interdisciplinary HEIBRIdDs, a graduate school run jointly by the Helmholtz Association, the ECDF, and Berlin universities. The graduate school trains young data experts from various fields. “I think this kind of interdisciplinary education is very important and also very interesting because data specialists familiar with their own specialty and data management are needed in all kinds of areas such as materials science, chemistry, and other fields.”