Bharathan Balaji

Research Scientist
Amazon AI Lab
Email: bhabalaj at

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2018

Please see my LinkedIn page for the latest updates and Google Scholar page for list of publications.

I'm interested in creating computing systems that leverage modern software and hardware technologies to transform domains such as buildings, education and sustainability. I like to create practical applications that enhances current systems and enables innovation. My research projects apply principles from cyber-physical systems, machine learning and human computer interaction.

I worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar at University of California, Los Angeles, working with Mani Srivastava. In my 2 years as a postdoc, I worked on various projects with topics ranging from animal sensing systems, optimizing push notifications to reduce annoyance, automating grading for hardware homeworks and making smart homes devices safer. I helped launch the first workshop on the Internet of Safe Things in 2017. I helped develop the Brick schema for building automation, and it is slowly being adopted by industry and slated to be adapted as an ASHRAE standard.

I did my PhD in Computer Science at UC San Diego, and my advisors were Yuvraj Agarwal and Rajesh Gupta. My PhD research focused on improving energy efficiency of buildings, by creating software applications that exploit existing infrastructure to provide services such as information organization, fault detection, personalized control and occupancy sensing. My Masters research focused on creating low power, low cost, wireless sensors that augment the existing building infrastructure. During my PhD, I worked as an intern with Dr. Du Li at Ericsson Research, where I created an WiFi based occupancy sensing solution. As a Masters student, I also worked with Prof. Ramesh Rao at Calit2, improving energy efficiency of 802.11b protocol using software defined radio.

I got my Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology. During my undergrad, I worked with Prof. Ashwin Kothari to apply machine learning techniques for handoff prediction in cellular networks. I also worked with Prof. Aliasgar Contractor at IIT Bombay, to create Lab-on-Chip sensors using microelectronic manufacturing technologies.

Download my CV

Brick: Towards a Unified Metadata Schema For Buildings

Bharathan Balaji, Arka Bhattacharya, Gabriel Fierro, Jingkun Gao, Joshua Gluck, Dezhi Hong, Aslak Johansen, Jason Koh, Joern Ploennigs, Yuvraj Agarwal, Mario Berges, David Culler, Rajesh Gupta, Mikkel Baun Kjærgaard, Mani Srivastava, Kamin Whitehouse
ACM Conference on Embedded Systems For Energy-Efficient Built Environments (BuildSys), 2016
Audience Choice Award, Nominated for Best Paper Award

Genie: A Longitudinal Study Comparing Physical and Software Thermostats in Office Buildings

Bharathan Balaji, Jason Koh, Nadir Weibel, Yuvraj Agarwal
ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp), 2016

All Publications