BTS IRIS – SUJET TYPE No 2

(sujet fabriqué par Michael Grant)

Durée : 2 h - Dictionnaire bilingue autorisé


The Adaptive House, Boulder, Colorado

1 [In contrast to standard computerized homes that can be programmed to perform various functions, the crux of our project is to develop a home that essentially programs itself by observing the lifestyle and desires of the inhabitants, and learning to anticipate and accommodate their needs. The system we have developed controls basic residential comfort systems – HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), water heater, and interior lighting.]

2 The system monitors the environment, observes the actions taken by occupants (eg, turning up the thermostat, turning on a particular configuration of lights), and it attempts to infer patterns in the environment that predict these actions. If the actions can be reliably anticipated, the system can perform the actions automatically, freeing the occupants from manual control of the home. A secondary consideration of the system is to conserve energy resources, when possible.

3 We have constructed a prototype system in an actual residence. The home laboratory is equipped with an array of over 75 sensors which provide information about the environmental conditions we are monitoring – temperature, ambient light levels, sound, motion, door and window openings – and actuators to control the furnace, space heater, lighting units, and ceiling fans.

4 Control systems in the residence are based on neural network reinforcement learning and prediction techniques. Neural networks are artificial learning devices inspired by the workings of the human brain. These networks are made up of hundreds or thousands of simple neuron-like processing units, which, through their interactions, achieve complex behaviors, and have the ability to learn from experience.

5 Some examples of what the system can or eventually will do include: predicting when the occupants will return home and determining when to start heating the house so that a comfortable temperature is reached by the time the occupants arrive; detecting statistical patterns of water usage, such that hot water is seldom if ever used in the middle of the day on weekdays, allowing the water heater to shut off at those times; inferring where the occupant is and in what activities the occupant is engaged – perhaps he is reading at the kitchen table – and controlling lighting patterns and intensities accordingly, even anticipating which rooms are about to be entered and turning on the lights before the room becomes occupied.

6 By inferring occupancy and usage patterns in the home, the system can make life more comfortable and conserve energy at the same time.

Mike Mozer (http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~mozer/house/)


1 - COMPREHENSION (10 points)

DOCUMENT-RÉPONSE

A/ Fill in the blanks in the following sentences with words taken from paragraph 1 (4 points):

1/ The axis on which our entire project turns is that of an intelligent home that teaches itself to ..................... its occupants' requirements.

2/ The system ..................... the occupants' habits and deduces patterns in the environment that precede them.

3/ If the occupants' behavior can be ..................... predicted, the Adaptive House's control systems can liberate its owners from the difficulties of ..................... control.

B/ Are the following statements true or false? Supply the relevant quotation from the text to justify your answer. (6 points – No points will be given without quotations!)

1/ It's impossible to design a home that will be intelligent enough to manage its programming by itself.

True False
Quotation:

2/ One advantage of a home capable of deducing from the behaviour of its occupants, how to program its systems and appliances, would be a more efficient use of resources.

True False
Quotation:

3/ While the Adaptive House is a good idea, no working model of it exists to prove whether it would really fulfil its promises.

True False
Quotation:

4/ A great number of sensors and actuators are all that is required to make the Adaptive House respond to its occupants' needs.

True False
Quotation:

5/ The design of the Adaptive House's control systems resembles the neuronal structure of the brain.

True False
Quotation:

6/ The Adaptive House would be unable to cope with an individual's particular habits that might differ from those of most people.

True False
Quotation:

Corrigé

2 - TRANSLATION - Translate into French the passage from "In contrast to..." to "... an interior lighting." (Paragraph 1, between square brackets) (5 points)

Corrigé

3 - EXPRESSION - Discuss the following question in English and express your opinions: 
Although the first automated homes using the Adaptive House technology will, of course, be expensive, do you think such homes will become the norm for house-owners in the near future? (120 words approximately)
(5 points)

Corrigé

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