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With Petar Durdevic (Prof., Aalborg University).
Fri, Dec 02 @ 12:30 PM   FREE   Cornell Tech, 2 W Loop Road
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"Waste Deep - Using Deep Learning methods to improve Waste Water Treatment"

Treatment of wastewater is a global challenge, where improper or no treatment leads to various environmental issues. Wastewater treatment plants generally aim at reducing the carbon content, & the content of nutrients such as nitrogen & phosphorous. When done properly, wastewater treatment not only prevents pollution but can also be used for energy & nutrient recovery. The most common steps in wastewater treatment can be classified as mechanical, chemical, & biological treatment & combinations of these.

The focus of this talk will be on the modelling & controlling of aerobic biological wastewater process which is incredibly complex as it is dependent on the incoming wastewater characteristics, the multitude of microorganisms that are removing the pollutants & the operating factors. Aerobic processes are energy intensive & thus reduction of nutrients & energy use is an optimization problem, which is the focus of our work.

Wastewater treatment occurs in volumetrically large continuous batches where the system exhibits dynamics that are coupled, nonlinear & varying along with varying time delays. This complicates the control problem significantly.

This talk will introduce the problem of modelling & controlling these processes & show some of our approaches in modeling the system using machine learning & in particular deep learning methods. The goal of our work is to optimize the system, where energy, economy & environment are the constraints in the optimization problem.


Associate Professor Petar Durdevic leads the Offshore Drones & Robots research group at Aalborg University. His research focus lies in Modelling & Control, Deep Learning, Deep Reinforcement Learning applied in process control & robotic systems. He has been working on water treatment for almost a decade, both off- & on-shore & is currently mainly focusing on onshore WWTPs.

In addition, he works on robot visual servo control & condition monitoring, predominantly on wind turbines. He has set up the Robotics lab at Aalborg University Esbjerg Campus. He is also a board member of the research centre Aalborg Robotics at AAU, which promotes research, innovation, education & dissemination within robotics, AAU.

Currently Petar is a Fulbright Fellow at Cornell university, hosted by professor Silvia Ferrari at the Sibley School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.
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