Valentin Robu appointed professor in AI for Smart, Decentralised Energy Systems

TU Eindhoven announced the appointment of Valentin Robu as professor in Artificial Intelligence for Smart, Decentralised Energy Systems. He is Senior Researcher in the Intelligent and Autonomous Systems (IAS) group of Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica.

Publication date
28 Nov 2023

The appointment is with the Electrical Energy Systems group of the TU Eindhoven and started on 1 November. Valentin Robu will devote 20 percent of his time to the professorship. His core research expertise is in the area of multi-agent systems and distributed AI, more specifically designing strategies and interactions between strategic agents, such as in negotiation and auction settings.

Smart grids

A large part of his research in recent years has focused on using AI techniques to address challenges in building next-generation energy systems and smart grids. Some examples of challenges in this area: coordination of charging between multiple electric vehicles, such that the capacity of the distribution networks is not exceeded, using game-theoretic models for the integration of renewable energy suppliers into existing grids or incentive design for distributed demand-side response.

Over his career, Robu has collaborated with many researchers in many countries, and co-authored over 150 journal papers, conference papers and book chapters. He has won a number of awards, such as the 2019 UK Innovation of the Year Award (awarded by the IET, the UK's Institute for Engineering and Technology), for his work on network monitoring with Scottish Power Energy Networks. He also won the 2018 Low Carbon Transport Award, from the British Renewable Energy Association, for the work on hybrid vessels on the Thames in London. His research was featured in a number of venues, such as the Conversation, the BBC, the Economist, Nature, World Economic Forum, the US Congres Research Service etc.

Robu says: “Artificial Intelligence is becoming ever more important in the planning and operation of our energy systems. This is due to mounting uncertainty, brought about by renewable generation and new loads, such as EV charging, as well as increasing decentralisation, with individual prosumers acting autonomously, based on their own goals and private information. Dealing with these challenges requires new techniques, both from machine learning, but also from multi-agent systems and algorithmic game theory.”

portrait of Valentin Robu

Academic background

Before coming to the IAS group at CWI as a tenured researcher in 2020, Valentin Robu was associate professor at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, where he was part of (and co-founded) the Smart Systems Group. Before Heriot-Watt he was a senior research fellow in the Agents, Interaction and Complexity Group at the University of Southampton for 5 years (2009 - 2014). He obtained his PhD at CWI and TU Eindhoven (July 2009). Robu was also a visiting scholar in the Economics and Computer Science research group at Harvard University on several occasions (Fall 2015, Summer 2018), and a research affiliate in the Collective Intelligence group at MIT (2018-2023).

Top collaborations

In the course of his career, he has collaborated with researchers from many top institutions, such as MIT, Harvard, Santa Fe Complex Systems Institute, IIT Delhi, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nagoya Institute of Technology, Microsoft Research, TU Delft, University of Toronto etc. He was also investigator or co-investigator in a number of projects, including CESI - the UK's National Research Centre for Energy Systems Integration, CEDRI (Community Energy Demand Reduction in India), and ORCA, the UK Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets Hub.

Text: TU Eindhoven