Thursday, 20 October 2016

EPRI EU NILM 2016 review

"NILM is a challenging problem. But it’s not impossible." This was one of Prof Bin Yang's five concluding messages of his keynote talk at EU EPRI NILM 2016. I think this sums up pretty much every NILM researcher's feelings, but lets face it, there wouldn't be much much need to hold such a conference if NILM was an easy problem. In his talk, Bin started with the fundamentals of source separation, and went on to relate energy disaggregation to a number of other separation problems, including image segmentation and speaker diarisation. Our other keynote talk was given by Chris Holmes of EPRI, who described their motivation for co-organising the workshop, as well as their recent work in evaluating a large number of NILM vendors in both North America and Europe.

In addition to the two keynote talks, the workshop featured 25 other talks from NILM vendors, academics and utilities. The workshop was attended by roughly 100 people across the two days, from countries far beyond Europe, including Japan and Korea. While we did our best to live stream the event, bandwidth limitations affected the audio and video quality on the first day, but the stream made a miraculous recovery for the second day. A playlist of (most of the) individual presentations is available on YouTube:

I personally really enjoyed the event, and given the attendance numbers and feedback we've received so far, I think it confirms the demand for NILM-focused events on both sides on the Atlantic. Having said that, I hope to see you all next year, and don't forgot to bring your NILM bingo card ;)

Update 21.10.2016: replaced live stream videos with playlist of individual presentations.

Monday, 17 October 2016

EPRI EU NILM 2016 livestream

The stream of day 1 of the EPRI EU NILM workshop is now live:

Update 21.10.2016: A playlist of individual presentations is now available on YouTube:

Unfortunately the lack of bandwidth at the venue meant only 19 of the 27 talks were of acceptable quality. Apologies to the speakers to the other 8 speakers!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A competition for energy disaggregation algorithms

Cross-posted from Jack Kelly's blog:

Now that I've (finally!) submitted my PhD thesis, I can focus on designing and implementing a competition for energy disaggregation algorithms. EDF Energy have kindly given me post-doc funding from now until the end of December 2016 to work on the NILM competition.

The broad plan is to first consult with the NILM community and create a specification for the NILM competition which works for everyone. Then I plan to implement a web application which can run the NILM competition.

Right now, I'm writing a survey on the design of a competition for energy disaggregation algorithms. The aim of the survey is to systematically collect feedback about the design of the competition. I plan to launch the survey on the morning of Friday (30th September). Before Friday, I'm really eager to hear feedback on the survey itself. For example: is the survey missing any vital questions? Do some questions not provide sufficient options? Do some questions not make sense?!

Please note that, prior to Friday, the aim is to get feedback on the design of the survey itself. So please don't actually submit any answers yet! I'll write another blog post when the survey is ready to accept answers.

It's probably best to provide feedback about the survey in public on the relevant thread on the Energy Disaggregation Google Group. If you want your feedback to be private then, by all means, email me directly at!

And please do get in touch if you have feedback on any aspect of the proposed NILM competition.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Last chance to register to EPRI EU NILM 2016

We've added a few more spaces to EventBrite and extended the registration deadline until the 3rd October. Register now for your free space:

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Online NILM Communities

A number of online NILM communities have sprung up over the past couple of years, so in this post I've tried to list all those that I can remember. Please leave a comment if there are any I've missed!

Energy Disaggregation Google Group

This Google Group was set up by Jack Kelly back in January 2015. The group is open to join immediately, and members can post new topics to the group or reply to existing topics. At the time of writing, the group contains 35 threads covering a wide range of topics, including data sets, conferences, job postings and appliance modelling.

NILM Workshop LinkedIn Group

This LinkedIn group was originally set up by our friends at Green Running in 2015 to facilitate networking between attendees of the 2015 EU NILM workshop. The group currently boasts 72 members, and we'll definitely be encouraging attendees of the upcoming 2016 workshop to join the community.

Conduit NILM Users Group

This Conduit Community was set up by PNNL in August 2015 as an online resource to support their open monthly calls aiming to produce a standardised NILM evaluation protocol. I've previously written posts about the outcomes of the first and second conference calls, their decision to develop a data-driven protocol, and also their recent vendor survey.


This wiki was set up by a collaboration between Jack Kelly and Green Running in an effort to build a community-driven collection of NILM knowledge. The wiki currently includes pages covering NILM data sets, common appliance power demands and existing NILM companies, although new contributions are encouraged!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Announcing EPRI EU NILM 2016

We’re pleased to announce that the European Workshop on Non-intrusive Load Monitoring will be held on the 17-18th October 2016 in London, UK. This year’s workshop is a collaborative effort between the organisers of EU NILM 2014 and EU NILM 2015 and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The aim of the European NILM conference series is to bring together all of the European researchers that are working on the topic of energy disaggregation in both industry and academia. The aim of EPRI is to facilitate a collaborative dialogue between industry stakeholders – manufacturers, utilities and researchers, to create opportunities to enable technology maturation and market adoption of NILM devices in the European market. See for full details.

Important dates

  • Registration deadline: 17th September 2016
  • Presentation abstract submission: 17th September 2016
  • Workshop dates: 17-18 October 2016

Call for presentations

We invite attendees to submit presentation abstracts via this Google Form by 17th September 2016. We build a balanced agenda from a combination of invited speakers, submitted presentations, lightning talks and a poster/demo session. We strongly encourage new and relevant submissions in the field and also welcome submissions from companies with challenges, results or data which they’d like to share with the community. Possible topics include but are not limited to algorithms, evaluation of NILM algorithms, datasets and applications. Since the workshop will not feature published proceedings, a previous or future appearance at other venues will not be an issue.

Call for sponsors

We have a number of sponsorship options for the workshop available. Options include sponsoring a lunch or the evening reception, exposure on the website and slides, as well as a space for a small information stall at the event. Please contact us via form at the bottom of for further information.

We look forward to welcoming you in London!

Friday, 29 July 2016

PNNL to use data-driven protocol for NILM vendor evaluation

PNNL recently held their fourth NILM Protocol Development Advisory Group conference call, in which it was decided that they would use a data driven protocol to evaluate the accuracy of NILM products. To give a bit of background to this decision, the choice was between the following two options:

Data driven - use (potentially existing) data collected from real homes to evaluate the accuracy of NILM products

Lab test - collect new data from an artificial lab home, in which the schedule of appliances is programmed rather than operated by humans

In my opinion, this is definitely the right decision given the diversity of loads and schedules of use in real homes. Although theoretically this is possible to simulate in an artificial lab home, in practice I would still be concerned that some reality gap might exist between the data collected from lab homes and real homes. However, monitoring real homes is more difficult than lab homes given the inherent intrusion into people's homes, and clearly a careful approach to data collection will be required to ensure the integrity and usefulness of the resulting data set.

A summary of the meeting is available via the advisory group's Conduit community.