The Ikerbasque researcher at the Biofisika Institute José Vilar has obtained the Horizon Big Data Award from the European Commission, which is endowed with 1.2 million euros, this being the first time it has been granted to a researcher in Spain.
The European Commission, within the Horizon Awards, proposed as a challenge in 2018 to create software that would allow predicting the flow of electricity through the electricity grid of a whole country, since electricity can not be stored on a large scale and, in consequense, you have to produce what you consume. In this sense, an excess in the production entails losses (sometimes millionaire) both environmental and for the electrical network itself, whereas a deficit in the production can generate a default of electricity supplies for users.
The challenge involved predicting the effects of both the electricity consumption of individual users and businesses and other factors that influence the generation of electricity, ranging from atmospheric conditions to the electricity generated by renewable sources, ie wind turbines, cells solar, etc.
In this context, the "starting point" for the challenge launched by the European Commission was data from 1,912 electricity lines taken every 5 minutes during a year, which meant analyzing more than 200 million data. From that analysis, researchers had to develop software that could receive new data continuously and autonomously predict the flow of energy through the network during the next hour.
84 applications from different countries presented to this challenge of the European Commission, and finally 23 researchers proposed various solutions. José M.G. Vilar, Ikerbasque researcher at the Biofisika Institute, mixed research center of the UPV / EHU and the CSIC in Leioa, "has won the challenge" in first position, worth 1.2 million euros, what makes it the first Spanish researcher to achieve a Horizon Award.
The winner was selected for both the accuracy of the prediction and the speed of the same, which is essential for corrective actions to be applied in real time.
The methodology developed by José Vilar is based on "very innovative ideas" and can have applications in different areas of knowledge such as energy or biomedicine. As he pointed out, "many of the social and industrial challenges that must be resolved, ranging from epidemiology to climate change, transport and energy production and transmission, are based on examining historical records and predicting how they will evolve."