Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society
“The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society—CITRIS—creates information technology solutions for many of our most pressing social, environmental, and health care challenges. CITRIS was created to ‘shorten the pipeline’ between world-class laboratory research and the societal impact of technology through its rapid transfer to established companies, and the creation of start-ups and whole industries.”
CITRIS, one of the Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation (GGDISI), was established in 2001 with investment from the State and from a number of generous private and corporate sponsors. The institute is a collaboration among the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Davis (including its Medical Center campus in Sacramento), Merced and Santa Cruz. CITRIS is a multi-disciplinary institute with engineers working with researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including medicine, public health, law, art, economics and social science. CITRIS is also a convener, bringing together researchers, policy makers and industrialists to work together on issues of importance to California. An important component of CITRIS’s success has been the close working relationships it has with major state and federal bodies, including the California Energy Commission (CEC), the U.S. Department of State and the Federal Communications Commission. CITRIS also has major collaborations with researchers in other parts of the world, including Denmark, France and Germany; collaborations that support its primary mission, but also disseminate its results around the world.
CITRIS’s headquarters are located in Sutardja Dai Hall (SDH) on the Berkeley campus. SDH opened its doors in 2009 and includes the Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory—a two-story, 15,000-square-foot lab that is one of the most advanced labs of its type in the world. The Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory plays a key role in supporting CITRIS’s major research programs.
In recognition of their early cornerstone commitment to the CITRIS initiative and their ongoing generous support of CITRIS, the Berkeley component of the four-campus CITRIS collaboration has been named the Dado & Maria Banatao Institute @ CITRIS Berkeley.
Initiatives: CITRIS research is focused on five major initiatives that promise to bring significant benefits to California, to the U.S. and to the world.
There are significant differences in health resources and outcomes across different regions and population groups in California. The mission of this initiative is to improve access and reduce disparities in health care across California, by creating a statewide, trusted “medical grade” network that will enable providers in more remote parts of that State to access the providers and resources found in the major population centers. The California Telehealth Network (CTN), developed by researchers at UC Davis, is the core platform to link some 863 hospitals, clinics and public health providers across the state. The CITRIS program is supporting the development of cutting-edge new applications and services that will expand CTN’s capacity and improve its performance over time.
California faces a serious, multi-faceted water crisis: over drafting of aquifers, early snow melt causing floods, and the potential catastrophic failure of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta levees, which would result in the poisoning of Southern California’s water supply with salt from San Francisco Bay. This initiative, the first of a series that relate to the sustainability and adaptability of California’s urban communities, will create a state-wide information ‘infrastructure’ that will enable the better management of the state’s limited water resources and save California money by averting the need for new water storage facilities.
CITRIS’s research in energy supports the development of technologies that will enable the potential of the Smart Grid to be realized. California and the country need cleaner industries, more efficient buildings and transportation, more renewable energy, and a smarter grid to integrate the demand-side of the U.S. energy equation. CITRIS has teamed up with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Institute for Energy and Environment to create I4Energy, which focuses on three key areas: (1) integrated sensors—prototyped in the $60M+ Marvell Nanofabrication Lab—to communicate vast amounts of real-time information; (2) data management to gather, process, and direct information; and (3) advanced controls to act on the information, increasing the productivity and sustainability of energy systems.
The CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative (DDI) explores the evolving, dynamic relationships between digital media—including Internet and mobile applications, social media, video games, and large datasets—and democratic practice—including online deliberation, participatory decision-making, fair access, and diverse representation. Our goal is to enhance individual and collective awareness, understanding, and action for people of all backgrounds on critical social, political, and economic issues. DDI creates tools for research and civic engagement to improve the lives of the people of California and around the world.
At the core of CITRIS is the idea that more and better data will significantly improve society’s ability to address its most troubling problems, be they disparities in health outcomes, shortages of water or climate change. The Generating Insight from Big Data program will develop analytical tools that can process data to provide usable, real-time knowledge to decision makers responsible for managing limited resources and making the most efficient and productive use of them.