Abstract: In a cascading power transmission outage, component outages propagate nonlocally; after one component outages, the next failure may be very distant, both topologically and geographically. As a result, simple models of topological contagion do not accurately represent the propagation of cascades in power systems. However, cascading power outages do follow patterns, some of which are useful in understanding and reducing blackout risk. This paper describes a method by which the data from many cascading failure simulations can be transformed into a graph-based model of influences that provides actionable information about the many ways that cascades propagate in a particular system. The resulting “influence graph” model is Markovian, in that component outage probabilities depend only on the outages that occurred in the prior generation. To validate the model, we compare the distribution of cascade sizes resulting from n-2 contingencies in a 2896 branch test case to cascade sizes in the influence graph. The two distributions are remarkably similar. In addition, we derive an equation with which one can quickly identify modifications to the proposed system that will substantially reduce cascade propagation. With this equation, one can quickly identify critical components that can be improved to substantially reduce the risk of large cascading blackouts.
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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).