Abstract: Using data from the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) for 1984–2006, we find several trends. We find that the frequency of large blackouts in the United States has not decreased over time, that there is a statistically significant increase in blackout frequency during peak hours of the day and during late summer and mid-winter months (although non-storm-related risk is nearly constant through the year) and that there is strong statistical support for the previously observed power-law statistical relationship between blackout size and frequency. We do not find that blackout sizes and blackout durations are significantly correlated. These trends hold even after controlling for increasing demand and population and after eliminating small events, for which the data may be skewed by spotty reporting. Trends in blackout occurrences, such as those observed in the North American data, have important implications for those who make investment and policy decisions in the electricity industry. We provide a number of examples that illustrate how these trends can inform benefit-cost analysis calculations. Also, following procedures used in natural disaster planning we use the observed statistical trends to calculate the size of the 100-year blackout, which for North America is 186,000 MW.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).