IEEE Conference on Technologies for Sustainability Nov 11-13 2018




Monday Morning Keynote

RAPID: Robot Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery

Stefano Carpin, Department of Computer Science Engineering, University of California, Merced


Agricultural irrigation consumes about 70% of the world’s freshwater. Emerging sensing technologies such as UAVs equipped with heterogeneous sensors can provide farmers with detailed maps of water use and ground conditions. However, closing the sensing-actuation loop to adjust irrigation at the plant level remains an unsolved challenge. RAPID (Robot Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery) explores an alternative approach whereby a team of humans and robots move through fields to adjust low-cost adjustable drip irrigation emitters. RAPID is designed for cost-conscious farm managers to be retrofit to existing irrigation systems and incrementally expanded to increase irrigation precision and reduce water usage. The project involves the design, development, and evaluation in the field of robust co-robotic systems compatible with existing drip irrigation infrastructure in vineyards and orchards.


Stefano Carpin is Professor and Chair of the department of Computer Science and Engineering at UC Merced. He received his “Laurea” (MSc) and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Padova (Italy) in 1999 and 2003. Since 2007 he has been with the School of Engineering at UC Merced, where he established and leads the UC Merced robotics laboratory.  His research interests include mobile and cooperative robotics for service tasks, and robot algorithms. He published more than 100 papers in international journals, conferences, and workshops, and he is a Senior Member of the IEEE. He is an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE), an associate editor for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L).  In 2018, he won the Best Conference Paper Award at the yearly IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE). Since he joined UC Merced his research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, DARPA, USDA, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Lab, the Department of Commerce (NIST), the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), Microsoft Research, and General Motors.


Monday Lunch Keynote

Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Technology: Differences, Challenges and Opportunities

Mark Werwath, Northwestern University


Most of the latest thinking in entrepreneurship as documented by Steve Blank and Alex Osterwalder in the last ten years has caused the lean startup revolution. This revolution has been embraced by entrepreneurship schools and incubators around the world and even the NSF ICORPS have embraced this methodology in a comprehensive way. This talk will look at clean tech startups and clean tech entrepreneurship and explore where lean startup methodology applies well and where this methodology alone is not reflective of the clean tech industry realities. While lean startup is geared towards mostly digital startups, the question to ask is how are clean tech based startups substantially different from most digital startups and what do clean tech startups need to consider in order to succeed?


Mark Werwath, a certified project management professional (PMP), has been an engineering project manager for 15 years, managing complex system (software) and product development, IT, and manufacturing and radio network system implementation projects in four continents. He currently operates Werwath Portoflio Group, a consulting business in the portfolio management space. Prior to this role, he founded, a web-based portal for project planning, project management, and resource recruiting in the software development space from 2007 to 2009. In 2000, he founded the project management consulting firm Prolima, which operated until 2003.

He has managed a large number of new product development projects in the aerospace business and the telecom industry. Mark has also advised numerous start-ups, including Energy Vault, FEW Spirits, Equityhub, and Highland Solutions.

Werwath’s industrial experience has primarily been focused in various businesses within Motorola where he worked for 22 years and is most well known for implementing the proprietary infrastructure technology for the Nextel network. Werwath’s work has always been technology specifically focused on (telecom) systems engineering, complex infrastructure development projects, and business process engineering.

Werwath now teaches full time at Northwestern University as a clinical associate professor. Mark is also the director of the Masters in Engineering Management program at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. Werwath had previously led (from 2005 through 2012) product strategy as executive director at WMS gaming, a medium sized gaming equipment company based in Chicago.

Werwath has a BSME degree from the University of Illinois (1981), a master’s in Engineering Management degree from Northwestern University (1987), and has completed his PhD at Benedictine University in Organizational Development (2003).


Monday Dinner Keynote

Dr. Peter Gevorkian
President, Vector delta Design Group, Inc.

Dr. Peter Gevorkian is president of Vector delta Design Group, Inc. an Electrical Engineering and Solar Power Design Consulting organization located in La Canada Flintridge, California, specializing in industrial, commercial and residential projects. In the past several years, the company extended its expertise in the field of renewable energy sources such as solar power, fuel cells and micro-turbine cogeneration.

Dr. Gevorkian holds a B.SCE in electrical engineering, an M.S. in computer science and PhD. in electrical engineering. Since 1971 he has been active member of Canadian and California board of professional engineers and member of California Society of Energy Engineers and Association of Southern California Energy Engineers.

Dr. Gevorkian has taught computer science, automation control, renewable energy systems engineering and has authored several technical books in renewable energy systems design and published many technical papers for national and international symposiums.

Dr. Gevorkian was recipient of the American Institute of Architect (AIA) 2007 Engineering Merit Award for renewable energy systems engineering design and exceptional contribution to the advancement of solar power co-generation in building design and AIA 2007 Design Honor Award recipient for outstanding engineering design for the Metropolitan water District’s Museum of Water & Life Museum located in Hemet California.

In 2008 Dr. Gevorkian received the prestigious Design Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects for LEED™ accreditation for Metropolitan Water & Life Museum, Hemet, California as
one of the Ten Best US Green Building Designs for 2008.