Scalable Causal Learning for Predicting Adverse Events in Smart Buildings

Shared by RODNEY MARTIN, updated on Feb 26, 2016


Author(s) :
Aniruddha Basak, Ole Mengshoel, Stefan Hosein And Rodney Martin.

Emerging smart buildings, such as the NASA Sustainability Base (SB), have a broad range of energy-related systems, including systems for heating and cooling. While the innovative technologies found in SB and similar smart buildings have the potential to increase the usage of renewable energy, they also add substantial technical complexity. Consequently, managing a smart building can be a challenge compared to managing a traditional building, sometimes leading to adverse events including unintended thermal discomfort of occupants (too hot or too cold). Fortunately, todays smart buildings are typically equipped with thousands of sensors, controlled by Building Automation Systems (BASs). However, manually monitoring a BAS time series data stream with thousands of values may lead to information overload for the people managing a smart building.We present here a novel technique, Scalable Causal Learning (SCL), that integrates dimensionality reduction and Bayesian network structure learning techniques. SCL solves two problems associated with the naive application of dimensionality reduction and causal machine learning techniques to BAS time series data: (i) using autoregressive methods for causal learning can lead to induction of spurious causes and (ii) inducing a causal graph from BAS sensor data using existing graph structure learning algorithms may not scale to large data sets. Our novel SCL method addresses both of these problems.We test SCL using time series data from the SB BAS, comparing it with a causal graph learning technique, the PC algorithm. The causal variables identified by SCL are effective in predicting adverse events, namely abnormally low room temperatures, in a conference room in SB. Specifically, the SCL method performs better than the PC algorithm in terms of false alarm rate, missed detection rate and detection time.

show more info
Publication Name
Publication Location
Year Published


642.7 KB 0 downloads


Add New Comment