Calit2 Welcomes New Collaborator

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Irvine, Ca, Feburary 7th, 2013 -- Computer network expert Marco Levorato figured out early in his career that computers are just one part of any truly effective communication system. 

The humans who interact with the systems are equally as important.

Levorato brings his research expertise to Calit2.

Levorato, Calit2’s newest FTE professor, brings this tried-and-true perspective to his position as a liaison between Calit2 and the Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. The FTE faculty positions were created to empower the institute to help choose faculty hires interested in multidisciplinary research that bridges academic department research.

The assistant professor of computer science joined the UC Irvine faculty last August. In addition to teaching and conducting his own research on artificial intelligence and machine learning, he is collaborating with the CalPlug Center at Calit2 to develop communication networks for complex systems. These are systems that integrate several smaller systems; for example, smart buildings, smart appliances or a smart energy grid.

“We’re trying to analyze the interaction between the consumer and the technological part of the system,” he says, to create more effective systems. “How can you integrate the behavior of a consumer in the optimization of energy use?”

Levorato’s previous practical experience focused on mobile healthcare sensor networks that tracked childhood obesity; he says the concepts are the same regardless of the type of system. “If we understand the ergonomics of a person’s daily activity we can optimize the technology,” he explains. 

“I think the fascinating part is to understand how the two systems integrate: how the human part can be considered in the optimization of the technological part, and how the technological part can be used to help the human.”

After receiving his doctorate in telecommunications engineering from the University of Padova, in Italy, Levorato worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford and USC, where he added signal processing experience to his credentials. A postdoc Fellow stint at an automatic control lab in Sweden broadened his expertise even more. “My career is not unique,” he comments, “but maybe very uncommon.”

A member of IEEE and the IEEE Communications Society, he won the best paper award at the 2012 signal processing symposium of the IEEE Global Communications Conference (Globecom).

Calit2 Irvine Director G.P. Li sees Levorato as a “good fit” for the institute’s goals. “There is a lot of synergy. His efforts are aligned with ours in energy efficiency, smart homes and buildings, appliances and consumer electronics,” Li says. “He will be a great collaborator.”

Levorato is equally pleased with his appointment. “This experience is very exciting,” he says. “I’m very happy to have this opportunity to apply these ideas in the very supportive environment of Calit2 and ICS.”