Lauren Henderson, a sophomore in the Mechanical Engineering Department, participated in the 2016 Villanova Match Research Program for First Year Students. She then had the opportunity to present her research, "Models for improving the energy efficiency of data centers," at the Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2) conference in Binghamton, NY.
On her experience:
"For the past ten weeks, I have been working on developing the Graphical User Interface (GUI) for Villanova’s Thermodynamic Analysis of Systems (VTAS). VTAS is a tool for modelling data center cooling systems. Data centers are large areas of storage containing servers, generators, racks etc. that provide companies with access to the cyber world, deliver power and maintain security. They are the essential as they are the “power houses” of a company. These centers, however, consume anywhere from 20 to 30 times more electricity than the average office. Therefore, in order to avoid overheating and center crashes, cooling systems are vital for the upkeep of these “power houses”. Cooling systems are costly and consume a large amount of energy. VTAS models cooling systems so companies can operate at not only maximum cost efficiency, but also maximum energy efficiency. The GUI for VTAS is the link in between the analysis tool and the user. It provides access to VTAS. My work has been aimed at improving the functionality of the GUI, which in turn will increase the accessibility and industrial use of VTAS. This included synchronizing the GUI with the VTAS manual, which required the removal of unnecessary components and the addition or editing of missing or erroneous information, fixing of misalignment problems regarding buttons and text boxes, reordering and adding screens which solved problems concerning confusing or misleading messages and buttons and adding a home page that allows for screen jumping capabilities. All of these were suggestions made by the investors in VTAS at last year’s Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2) conference, and of which were extrapolated on at this year’s conference in Binghamton, New York, where my work was showcased."