Connected Vehicles and Smart Transportation A University-Industry-Government Partnership

2012 Course

As a part of our mission in CVST, the first DEEP (Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program) course titled “Cloud Computing and Smart Infrastructure” took place in the Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Toronto (UofT) from July 9, 2012 to July 13, 2012.

Detailed syllabus of the course is provided in the following tables per day of the week.

Day 1: Monday July 9th


9:30-10:00 Activity: getting to know each other, go around twice speaking about who they are the first time, and mentioning 3 unique good and bad habits they have the second time Objective: Ice Breakers
10:00-10:30 Interactive Intro: Asking about what they want to learn and presenting what they are going to learn Objective: Setting expectations
10:30-11:00 Activity: Tour of server room Objective: Motivation, Identifying cloud computing elements in practice before learning about why they’re needed
11:00-11:45 Active Learning: Problem of traditional data centers -> Why Cloud computing is needed, what cloud computing is! Objective: Understanding why cloud computing is needed and its basic elements
11:45-12:00 Steve Jobs Video regarding Cloud computing Objective: Demonstrate the importance of Cloud Computing in today’s world



1:00-1:15 Activity in groups of 4: Advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing Objective: Analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing compared to traditional data centers
1:15-1:30 Discussion of advantages/disadvantages Objective: Evaluating the benefits and understanding the risks behind Cloud Computing
1:30-2:00 Lecture: Introduction to Amazon Cloud Objective: Illustrate one practical example of Cloud Computing in practice and set required background for activity
2:00-3:30 Activity: Students create their own web servers and websites on the Amazon cloud Objective: Apply principles of cloud computing and illustrate the ease of use and flexibility provided by cloud computing



Day 2: Tuesday July 10th


9:30-10:30 Brief Introduction (small video + flow chart) to Smart Infrastructure and tying it to Cloud computing Objective: Understand the basics of Smart Infrastructure
10:30-10:40 Smart Grid Explained youtube Video Objective: Arousing student interest in Smart Grids
10:40-11:30 Activity: Work in groups trying to highlight the problems Smart grids are trying to solve, how they are trying to solve them and what components are needed Objective: Develop a system design model for a Smart Grid problem from needs, possible solutions, components needed for solutions and functions of each component
11:30-12:00 Discussion and Active lecture: Foundations of smart grids: reducing carbon emissions, coordination, peak to average problem Objective: Develop an understanding for the problems tackled by Smart Grids and the building blocks it needs to solve these problems



1:00-2:00 Activity in groups of 4: Prepare a presentation on: Smart grids haven’t work, mainly because of consumer acceptance. How can individual actions contribute to promote energy efficiency and the success of Smart Grids? What incentives are needed to achieve this? Objective: Illustrate the ways consumer collaboration can achieve the goal of smart grids and social energy benefits
2:00-2:40 Watch 4 10-minute presentations with Nadeem present Objective: Develop communication skills and the ability to present design ideas effectively
2:40-3:30 Guest presentation by Nadeem Abji: How consumer collaboration leading to a Nash Equilibrium can help enable Smart Grids Objective: Reaffirm understanding of social benefits of consumer collaboration




Day 3: Wednesday July 11th

Morning (Transportation)

9:30-10:00 Activity: everyone goes to GB lobby (if GB) or Megabites (if BA) using shortest route, then class is split into two routes and the same activity is repeated Objective: Illustrate the need for Intelligent Transportation systems and the negative effects of selfish driving
10:00-11:00 Active learning lecture, flowing from (congestion) activity, teaching about Speed, Density, Flow, and Travel Time Objective: Learn the basics of transportation
11:00-11:30 Activity: Work in groups of 4 to figure out all that you think you need for Smart Transportation, goal: minimize congestion, use flow charts, inputs, block diagrams, outputs, functions of each block, give hints along the way Objective: Design the blocks of an ITS solution from a system’s point of view, generate ideas and understand the relations between different blocks
11:30-12:00 Discussion: Share findings and discuss what makes Smart Transportation Smart Objective: Compare ideas and validate own design ideas, learn from each other’s creativity and understand the basics of ITS


Afternoon (Optimization and Flow Assignment, SOE, UE)

1:00-2:00 Active learning lecture on developing a flow assignment optimization problem: explaining what constraints/objectives are and  what constraints/objectives are suitable for a Traffic assignment problem Objective: Learn the basics of Optimization and the basics of Flow assignment in transportation
2:00-2:30 Activity (pen and paper) on UE on Fish Network Objective: Understanding what the “selfish driver benefit” is in Transportation by application
2:30-3:00 Activity (pen and paper) on SEO on Fish Network Objective: Understanding what the “social benefit” is in Transportation by application and observation
3:00-3:30 Activity on Braess’s paradox Objective: Motivate the benefits of Traffic Management systems in increasing social walfare through reflection



Day 4: Thursday July 12th


9:30-10:00 Lecture: Introduction to Paramics and traffic modeling Objective: Understand the components of a traffic micro-simulator
10:00-10:30 Activity in groups of 3: Go through demo version Paramics tutorial and ask questions if needed Objective: Getting used to the simulation environment
10:30-12:00 Activity: Build small-network and run UE, SEO. Change network and see Braess’s Paradox Objective: Learn by experience of solving the traffic assignment problem



1:00-2:00 Lecture: Show larger Toronto network model and show different features of the simulator (how to change parameters, how to analyze results) Objective: Identify a real-life network and show how ITS changes affect the performance of different travelers
2:00-3:30 Activity: Different groups of 3 need to come up with creative strategies of minimizing the travel time of a source-destination pair (2 zones) (different between groups), without affecting that of others significantly Objective: Design a real-life solution for an ITS problem during a peak period of an event happening in a particular location, ex. World Cup game



Day 5: Friday July 13th


9:30-10:00 Lecture: Provide additional hints and strategies that could be helpful in achieving better solutions Objective: Illustrate the vast scope of the design space for Engineering solutions and encourage thinking outside the box
10:00-12:00 Activity: Work on improving results and prepare presentations Objective: Understand that the design process is iterative, with simulation, reflection, understanding and tweaking completing a circle



1:00-3:00 Group Presentations, 15 minutes each + questions Objective: Present ideas, show improvement during course
3:00-3:30 Discuss the results from the groups and wrap up the course Objective: Conclude course and add motivating comments for the future