Online Optimization, Networks, and Energy (FCS Research Seminar)

FCS RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES | Thursday, May 6 | 11:30 a.m. AST | See MS Teams link below

CSCI 6999 Eligible

Online Optimization, Networks, and Energy
Dr. Xiaoqi Tan
Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Toronto

Many real-world problems involve making sequential decisions, over a certain horizon, in the presence of incomplete or even zero knowledge of the future. Study of such problems falls within the purview of online optimization, a powerful framework that has seen numerous applications to problems in distributed systems, networks, energy sustainability, and beyond.

In this talk, I will present my recent research regarding a general online optimization problem, dubbed sequential multi-agent resource allocation (SMARA). I will highlight the applications of SMARA in networks and energy (e.g., network routing, sustainable data centers, energy systems, and sustainable smart cities), and summarize the recent theoretical progress that has been driven by these applications. In particular, I will present a unified algorithmic framework for different variants of SMARA, and demonstrate how this algorithmic framework can lead to new results that improve the state-of-the-art in a variety of classic online decision-making problems, ranging from online knapsack problems to time series search and online combinatorial auctions. I will conclude the talk with an outlook of future directions towards combining model-driven and data-driven approaches to build a unified framework of sequential decision-making under uncertainty.


Xiaoqi Tan is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. Prior to the current position, he received his Ph.D. degree in electronic and computer engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2018. During his Ph.D., he was a Visiting Research Fellow of Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. His research interests include online decision-making and algorithmic mechanism design, with a focus on applications to computer systems & networks and energy systems. 

Before UW, Ibtasam was the founding co-director of Innovations for Poverty Alleviation Lab (IPAL) at the Information Technology University (ITU). She has authored and led research grants with a portfolio of 1.3M USD, led development teams as product owner, designed and led projects on speech interfaces for low-literate users and on Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MNCH), including the redesign of immunization cards and the creation of digital health records for the province of Punjab in Pakistan. In the Computer Science Department at ITU, she taught Design Thinking, Human-Centered Design, and product development courses to undergraduate and graduate Computer Science students. 

Her work has been funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ, Germany) and Department for International Development (DFID, UKAid) among others. Ibtasam was named an American Association for University Women (AAUW) Fellow for 2020-21, Society for Women Engineers Scholar 2020, Google Women Techmaker (North America) Scholar in 2019, a Marilyn Fries Endowed Fellow in 2016, and the Acumen Fund Regional Fellow for Pakistan in 2015. 




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