Yapan Liu is a Ph.D. candidate working with Professor Bing Dong at SyracuseCoE since 2019. Yapan’s research focuses on “big data” based urban-scale human mobility studies, occupant behavior modeling, and building-to-grid control. His research goals include understanding how people use buildings at an urban scale – how people move from one location to another – to improve building energy efficiency and maximize the flexibility of the grid.

Yapan obtained his mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree in China. He arrived at Syracuse University in 2016 for his master’s program. After completing his master’s degree, he worked for a start-up company in Syracuse, after which he returned to Syracuse University to begin his PhD studies. Before joining Prof. Dong and SyracuseCoE, Yapan worked on traditional engineering in machine design, manufacturing, and 3D modeling. His previous experience prepared him for SyracuseCoE-affiliated projects. For example, Yapan relied on his extensive knowledge of 3D modeling to support a study of indoor building air quality in cities. 

Takeaway “For me, the biggest takeaway is the application of our major or research. I think the CoE provides us with a lot of opportunities to practice or apply our knowledge with hands-on work. For me, I did some work in the TIEQ lab, like connecting sensors/wires and setting up the energy monitoring system. My biggest takeaway from the CoE is that we can learn things by doing it – by doing hands-on work.”

SyracuseCoE Highlights “Something I will miss for sure is the people here. We have a rather small group here at the CoE, so we know each other and talk to each other a lot; we are friends with each other. So I will miss the people here. Here in CoE, we are learning to manage the systems in our office or lab, so I think that is something we may not be able to do in the future if we join a company or work for a company. It is very flexible [at the CoE] and I will miss that.”

Immersive Experience “Xuezheng did some experiments here, and I was the participant. Instead of doing research, we sometimes also have the chance to be a participant to experience others’ research here in CoE.”

Favorite SyracuseCoE Space “I think I have many favorite spaces in the building. I like the Wellness room. It is on the second floor, it is a single-room space. I can lock the room and have a nap there. It is a very private space. I also like that you can adjust the temperature and other settings in the TIEQ Lab and see how the system responds. You can feel it in the space. The TIEQ Lab is quite unique, and I will miss that space.”

Favorite SyracuseCoE Event “Potluck! So we have the annual Thanksgiving potluck, and people bring different dishes to share. We share food, we have conversations together, I think I will definitely miss that.”

Xuezheng Wang is a Ph.D. candidate and student researcher at SyracuseCoE TIEQ Lab, focusing on research control and optimization of building energy systems. Xuezheng joined Professor Bing Dong’s team at SyracuseCoE during the last year of his master’s program, focusing on controlling the HVAC System in shrinking the operation time of the HVAC system.

Now in his Ph.D. program, he has worked on the Honeywell Syracuse Next Generation IAQ Research project, which focused on predictive control of the indoor environment and activities, allowing him to yield the best control sequence. Currently, Xuezheng is working on the preparation for the SyracuseCoE test bed for energy monitoring.

Real-World Prep “At the beginning of this year, I presented my research work during one workshop in the CoE. There were some [people] in the industry and researchers, it was my first time presenting my research in front of other people. The SyracuseCoE provides a platform for me to receive input from different aspects and broadcast my research. The CoE provides very unique resources. There are many systems in this building which is quite rare to find. If we go somewhere else we will not be able to find such resources.”

Takeaway “We can apply our research on the real system [..] For me, the CoE test bed meetings are different from my previous projects. Not only do I need to apply my knowledge to my projects, but I also learn more about teamwork. This is different from only doing research, as you have to coordinate and communicate with other people to move things forward.” 

Highlights “I will miss the people here. We come from another country, and we are here by ourselves. The staff here is very nice and have helped us a lot. They help us like our family. I will definitely miss that a lot.”

Favorite SyracuseCoE Space “The TIEQ Lab. Without the TIEQ Lab, I would not be able to join this group. During my master’s, I assisted a lot with the lab’s experiment setup. We ran a bunch of experiments in the lab, and I spent a lot of time there. I also really like the office that we are sitting in right now [on the 4th floor].”

Favorite SyracuseCoE Event “Like Yapan said, the Potluck is really good. There were people from different countries at the potluck, and we could appreciate dishes from different cultures, which was really good. I also quite enjoy the showcases at CoE. We got to meet a lot of different people while making our research public. We also get different opinions from different people: some people are in the industry, some people are still in the academy, and we get to meet other students.”