Zoltan Nagy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Enigneering
UT Austin
Research Summary
Buildings contribute to more than 30% of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming. And a large part (up to 30%) of that can be directly attributed to humans, and human behavior in buildings. Therefore, we are working on building control systems that can learn from the behavior of the occupant through interaction to improve the energy consumption. Through interaction, we can ensure that a) comfort constraints are not violated, and b) the system adapts to the occupants.
A large part of developing these systems is Internet Of Things (IoT) devices, which we develop to be deployed quickly in buildings in order to measure parameters which are otherwise inaccessible. Recently, we built a simple and low-cost method to analyze occupancy rates in buildings based on bluetooth signals of mobile phones. The same technology can be used to understand how people move between buildings, on a campus for example.
Another thrust of my research is using big data and deep learning approaches in urban energy environments, i.e., for the energy management of smart cities. We are currently working on models that can take 100s-1000s of buildings with their spatial distribution in a city like Austin, and observe how energy generation (eg through photovoltaic), storage (thermal,  or electrical) and demand (occupant use) are influenced by urban form, and how policies on development have effect on these.
Expertise:
My formal background is in mechanical engineering, robotics and controls. I have done extensive work in analyzing building operation and optimizing building systems that center around the occupant (occupant-centered building control). My group is researching and developing methods to analyze large amounts of data using deep learning and reinforcement learning approaches. 
Collaborative Interests:
My goal is to collaborate with colleagues who study and analyze human behavior in various areas, and use the knowledge to adapt technical systems to improve lives, whether is through operation of buildings or rehabilitation of patients.
Please see my website.