Abstract: The potential for cascading failure in power systems adds substantially to overall reliability risk. Monte Carlo sampling can be used with a power system model to estimate this impact, but doing so is computationally expensive. This paper presents a new approach to estimating the risk of large cascading blackouts triggered by multiple contingencies. The method uses a search algorithm (Random Chemistry) to identify blackout-causing contingencies, and then combines the results with outage probabilities to estimate overall risk. Comparing this approach with Monte Carlo sampling for two test cases (the IEEE RTS-96 and a 2383-bus model of the Polish system) illustrates that the new approach is at least two orders of magnitude faster than Monte Carlo, without introducing measurable bias. Moreover, the approach enables one to compute the sensitivity of overall blackout risk to individual component-failure probabilities in the initiating contingency, allowing one to quickly identify low-cost strategies for reducing risk. By computing the sensitivity of risk to individual initial outage probabilities for the Polish system, we found that reducing three line-outage probabilities by 50% would reduce cascading failure risk by 33%. Finally, we used the method to estimate changes in risk as a function of load. Surprisingly, this calculation illustrates that risk can sometimes decrease as load increases.
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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).