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World's Largest Visualization Analytics Display

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the put-it-on-the-big-screen dept.

Earth 24

An anonymous reader writes "An 80-foot wide visualization screen at California ISO graphically displays sensor readings from thousands of smart meters as well as provides predictive analytics. By analyzing the grid and environmental inputs like where the wild fires are burning, Space-Time Insights claims its algorithms head off power outages before they can materialize, turning California ISO operators into forecasters instead of damage controllers. If it keeps the lights on and the air conditioners running, I'm all for it!"

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No budget for pictures? (1)

jnpcl (1929302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36828910)

80-foot HD wall monitors, 8 LCDs on every desk... but no high-def picture of the setup.

California ISO, I am disappoint.

Re:No budget for pictures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36829230)

shitty picture. what the fuck.

Re:No budget for pictures? (2)

machine321 (458769) | more than 3 years ago | (#36829834)

Try this [] instead. Probably not hi-def, but at least larger photos. And a photo of the visualization they're talking about.

Re:No budget for pictures? (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36830326)

Looks klunky.

I bet the did the 80 foot display as a PR stunt to hide the fact that the software's just plain shitty.

Down with lies! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36829000)

Fuck Mohammad, Fuck Allah, FUCK ISLAM!!!!!

Nuh-uh (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36829168)

Unless you don't consider scoping out the Dallas Cowboy's Cheerleaders on the big-screen to be "analysis".

Very nice but (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36829190)

Very nice but, what's this good for anyway? Nothing. Like every oher "control room big display", this is just there to make it look good in pictures. It doesn't have any real use. I'm not sure if we should blame this on NASA or hollywood. People seem to think that a control room needs a big display for... stuff. In reality it just "looks good" but doesn't add any real value or increase productivity.

Re:Very nice but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36829308)

Even the shitty picture in TFA shows dudes in cubes with big-ass displays. The only time they see this 80 foot wall display is on the way back from taking a giant duke.

Re:Very nice but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36829426)

Yet another MBA(or some other career desk jockey) inspired idiotic venture that does nothing but look good in the full color annual report.
Is there something that must be shown on the 80-footer that can't display on the desktop LCD?

"Our installation provides situation intelligence to California ISO," said vice president of Space-Time Insight, Steve Ehrlich. "We provide the monitoring capabilities that allow grid operators to identify, analyze, and act in real-time."

I ain't drinking the kool-aid MBA-boy.

Re:Very nice but (2)

MrOctogon (865301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36829466)

Exactly. I can concede that yes, they do run some cool analytics that help them predict things and do their jobs. Does the giant screen help analyze data? No. Visualization is a result of data analysis, not a tool for it. Whats the story here?

Re:Very nice but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831440)

Visualization is a result of data analysis, not a tool for it. Whats the story here?

As a visualization researcher, you just made me cry. I'll admit that too often visualization is used as result/report and not tool, but that is definitely not the point. The whole idea of visual analytics is to use visualization as the primary tool for analysis. [I'm also a large display researcher, and I'll grant you that in this instance there is little evidence that the screen is helping them perform any analysis, but that is a different issue altogether...]

Re:Very nice but (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36834018)

Actually the big board is something that is of use. It provides a nice general overview of the entire system to all of the operators. Individuals with the local displays can pull up further information on the areas that they are concerned with. Also in case of emergency where people need to react quickly to issues the big board already provides the basic information that everyone needs instead of everyone having to go and open the same stupid display. There is a movement towards a single pane of glass in the industry. As far blaming this on NASA or Hollywood, this has been around for a long time in the industry, the first time I went into a control room I was surprised that Hollywood had not lied to me. This control room was initially setup and build close to 20 years ago and they had multiple displays up at the front of the room. Granted it wasn't a single pane of glass, but it has been this way for a long time. Even talking to the old timers I work with who grew up in the power industry they would still have big displays up at the front of the room, now instead of a paper map with light bulbs in it we have a computer rendered map that can be updated and zoomed to show even more detail to everyone in real time.

Woo? (1)

doublebackslash (702979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36829324)

Geospatial technology? Breakthrough? Worried about more data?

This article reads like an add for cosmetics! "They can't handle the data, we made it shiny and all their problems went away!"
REALLY? They drew some heat maps [] and used existing data to identify choke points. OoooOOHHHHHHH! Now I'm some kinda of impressed. And to do what, exactly? Make rolling blackouts easier to manage? Create jobs so some monkey looking at shiny data can ask plants to ramp up? Or press a button to activate some SCADA function?

Give me a break. This is a tremendous waste of technology. Something like it was surely wanted, perhaps warranted, but this stinks of "data overload"

They've just turned a gigantic dataset into a gigantic waste of money instead of a tool. Let me know how it all turns out.

Massively defective infrastructure (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36829352)

Californias power infrastructure is massively defective, and outages are similar to third world countries. You can not "test" in quality. Money would be better spent building solid reliable infrastructure replacing the existing. Electric power fails more than once a year, and gas lines explode in residential areas. It should be the norm to *never* have electric outages.

Re:Massively defective infrastructure (1)

doublebackslash (702979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36829436)

Here's to this!

What are your thoughts on the energy storage dreams floating around behind the starry eyes of so many and the thoughts that enough power can actually be produced with non-nuclear non-fossil-fuel methods to not only meet current demands but keep up with the growing demand? I appreciate your directness and insight and would love to know.

Maybe they cause them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36829536)

Of course they can predict power outages... Whenever they first turn on their entire infrastructure for running their analytics display, they probably cause a sufficient blip that when done at the right time, can trigger a widespread outage.

Nerds should be smarter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36829956)

I am disappointed to see so many jump immediately into negative commentary. The utility of the display is that it provides a central point for everyone to see the same events while preserving individual workstations for the actual task at hand and effecting the proper response. Predictive analytics and forecasting are essential for the scientific management of ALL operations and analytics itself is devoted to the "pretty" presentation of these results so that they are acted upon by the correct agencies (i.e. managers) more quickly. If you want to investigate the real math and programming behind this of course it's not going to be in an article on analytics - that is the territory of OR.

Re:Nerds should be smarter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36830808)

I'm smart enough to know that you're Stevie Erhlich.

80 feet, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36830152)

Seems that if you need 8 monitors on your desk and 80 feet of wall screen then you are doing it wrong.

80 feet? (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831034)

And that's the largest?

Maybe linearly, but I'm guessing that some of the CAVE [] systems offer more in terms of area of display when you scale to 6 surfaces. Or what's the largest hyperwall [] ?

Can we come up with some meaningful measurements of data display, before someone tries setting a world record for the heaviest or ugliest?

world's largest collection of buzzwords (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832748)

"Understanding the ISO
The ISO operates a robust and reliable wholesale power system that balances the need for higher transmission reliability with the need for lower costs, and acts as a key platform to achieve California’s clean energy goals."

wow. what does that mean? because i just read it, and i dont "understand the ISO" .

what the do these people do all day?

Re:world's largest collection of buzzwords (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36833908)

As I work in this industry, let me explain. An ISO is an independent system operator. Typically they manage the long haul high voltage transmission lines going between local power providers. Their main function is to move power from where it is generated to where it is needed at the lowest cost. They run a market system where they predict the demand and then accept bids from generators. Once bids have been accepted then they have to solve the distribution problem to actually move the power to the final destinations. Now depending on the ISO they may have some additional control over the individual local power companies such as being able to control generating capacity, but not ISOs have this ability.

Mostly what these people do all day is monitor the grid. In looking at the display it looks like they have the following on the display:

  1. 1. An alarm list
  2. 2. weather map, or possibly a map board that would show line statuses and where issues are
  3. 3. Some system machine statuses (this would be for the machines that are in their data center running the grid)
  4. 4. A substation or region network map

Now what individual operators have up on their multitude of screens would be possibly be similar displays but showing information they care about, network model management, transmission network management displays, market system displays, and so on.

thanks (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836330)

very interesting.

Display wall from used IBM ThinkPads (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840314)

When I was a contractor at IBM Research in the speech group a little over a decade ago, I built a voice-operated display wall from used IBM ThinkPads (It looked a bit like the multi-unit display screen from "Jeopardy" with big borders). My supervisor was a bit shocked when he came back from a two week vacation (when I built it), but he got over it thankfully and fortunately I was not in the room to hear the swearing when he saw it for the first time. :-) It was only possible with the help and cooperation of a few other staff at IBM who shall remain nameless, but have my thanks. I suggested with a little bit of engineering, ThinkPads could be redesigned to snap together and that might be a new selling point for their future usefulness. I still think it is a great idea (if for no other reason than to avoid sending beautiful laptops to "the crusher"), but it was not picked up on much then. I suggested a Watson-like system to go with it, so you could interactively use the display wall via voice to create new inventions and better designs while walking around in front of the display wall, although what I actually implemented back then as far as voice was more like "show slashdot on screen number 5".

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