Andrew Chien
Professor of Computer Science, University of Chicago
ESB 1001
andrew chien


With ambitious new “renewable portfolio standards” of 50% in California by 2030 and for 20% of electricity for the entire United States by 2030, both excluding hydroelectric, the power grid faces dramatic challenges in absorbing higher levels of variability, whilst continuing to deliver reliable, cheap energy.  And with the DOE’s recent Wind Power vision indicates a 35% national RPS from wind is possible by 2050, the challenge continues beyond these nearer term goals.

As generation variability increases, limited transmission produces a phenomenon known as “stranded power” – energy that is generated, but goes unused because it cannot be transmitted to any point of use.  We are exploring the possibility of creating “dispatchable” loads that can exploit such power and generate value.  One such system is Zero-Carbon Cloud (ZCCloud) that provides cloud computing services, with the resulting revenue improving the economic viability of renewables.   Such dispatchable loads can increase the efficiency and stability of the grid, as well as the economic viability of high RPS operating points. Initial studies show that ZCCloud can create high-value, computing resources with payback periods as short as several years.


Andrew A. Chien’s research interests focus on systems spanning applications, system software, networking, and architecture. He is well known for his contributions to cluster computing, high-speed communication, computer architecture, and parallel programming. His current interests include cloud/grid applications, system software, and architecture; computer architecture for Exascale computers; and programming models and tools for post–Moore’s Law computing substrates. He leads the Large-Scale Systems Group (LSSG), which focuses on the critical research questions underlying how to build robust, scalable large-scale systems that pervade the internet, high-performance, and enterprise computing.

From 2005 to 2010, Chien served as vice president of research at Intel Corporation, where he led global long-range research as well as global government and university collaborations. From 1998 to 2005, he was the SAIC Endowed Chair Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, where he created and served as founding director of the Center for Networked Systems. Chien has advisory roles with the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), the U.S. Department of Energy, and several leading universities. He fills editorial roles forCommunications of the Association for Computing Machinery (CACM) and theInternational Journal of Grid Computing.

Chien is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been honored with numerous awards, including a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award and a Bridgegate 20 Award for Entrepreneurship. He earned his PhD and SM in computer science and SB in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chien joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2011.