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Artificial intelligence system "mimics" the brain to optimize production and consumption of electricity

11 August 2020
Self-Stacked Systems is the name of the new artificial intelligence system that is being developed by a research team from INEGI, CINTESIS, University of Porto, and the University of Harvard, and which is expected to have a significant impact in the way we produce, consume and distribute electricity. 

Modular and designed to mimic the development process of the human brain, the system will "develop itself” to increase efficiency, decrease costs and reduce the environmental footprint in the field of electricity management. 

"The electricity sector is complex - it has multiple sources of energy, with unpredictable electricity production, an increase in consumers who are also producers, among other factors - and it operates with many variables”, explains António Ramos, researcher at INEGI and the Associated Laboratory for Energy, Transports and Aeronautics (LAETA). "Challenges that go beyond what the artificial intelligence solutions that currently exist manage to do, as they are not very flexible and slow to integrate new information". 

The answer to this problem? Mirror the way the human brain works. Inspired by the laws of cognitive development, this system allows for the accumulation of knowledge progressively and in stages, in order to create a library of skills to solve complex problems. This means that "the training of the machine and its use occurs simultaneously, that is, like humans, it learns while making decisions". 

Sofia Ferreira Leite, a CINTESIS researcher who also participates in the project, adds that "with this hierarchical block architecture, we will teach the machine to reflect on itself, advance through stages and correct errors”. 

The Self-Stacked Systems project was recently selected to integrate HiTechOne, a business acceleration and development program for promising research projects. The objective is to create a marketable solution, says António Ramos, so the next steps are to "kick off the development of pilot cases, and increase our infrastructure to be able to keep up with market demands. To this end, we have already initiated important contacts, both inside and outside Portugal”.