Photo by Adam Lau
The CITRIS principal investigator and engineering professor’s research harnesses mathematics to examine the distributed systems—air traffic control, highways, city streets, and more—that power our daily lives.
“My entire career and history as a faculty member has been one of deep collaboration and connection to CITRIS,” said Alexandre Bayen, a UC Berkeley professor of engineering and a principal investigator (PI) at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute (CITRIS). “From moving into Sutardja Dai Hall when it opened in 2009, to supporting the launch of interdisciplinary research projects, CITRIS has propelled my academic career.”
Bayen’s research employs mathematics to model distributed parameter systems. Applications from his research and teaching in the College of Engineering include transportation networks—such as air traffic control and highway systems—and distribution systems, such as those used for water. Bayen studied mathematics as an undergraduate student at Ecole Polytechnique in France. He then came to the US to study aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, where he earned his doctorate in 2004 before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 2005. He’s currently the director of Institute of Transportation Studies and a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
“My entire career and history as a faculty member has been one of deep collaboration and connection to CITRIS. From moving into Sutardja Dai Hall when it opened in 2009, to supporting the launch of interdisciplinary research projects, CITRIS has propelled my academic career.”
The research conducted at Bayen’s Mobile Sensing Lab has frequently intersected with CITRIS programs and research thrusts, resulting in several collaborations. One such project was the Floating Sensor Network. Begun in 2011, this project launched a network of mobile sensors to offer real-time, high-resolution data in hard-to-map waterways.
One region of focus for the Floating Sensor Network was the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which provides drinking water to millions of Californians and is the largest freshwater tidal estuary in the western US. Introducing sensors to the state’s complex and hard-to-track waterways provided researchers with information about pollutants, salmon migration, and how freshwater and salt mix in the delta’s ecosystem. The resulting data from the sensors’ deployment helped create what Bayen calls “water maps” that can help guide further research, the use of government funds for environmental management, and public policy decisions.