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EECS Faculty Candidate Seminar- Dr. Adam Birchfield

EECS Faculty Candidate Seminar

How the Power Grid’s Graph Properties and Electric Performance Can Be Built into Large Synthetic Datasets

Dr. Adam Birchfield,
Ph.D., Texas A&M University

Wednesday, February 27, 11:00AM

Min H. Kao room 435

Concern for the security of large, high-voltage power grids has driven much interest in understanding their structure through complex network properties, but this same concern has also led to tight restrictions on accessing critical electric infrastructure data. Efforts to build synthetic power grid datasets aim to address both issues, by statistically analyzing actual system properties and reproducing these properties in fictitious datasets that are large, complex, realistic, and totally public. This seminar will focus on a synthetic grid-building methodology that mimics actual transmission system planning, and show that the careful design also achieves observed complex network properties. In the three-stage process, first, substations are geo-located and internally configured from seed public data on generators and population, using a modified hierarchical clustering. Second, a network of transmission lines is constructed at each nominal voltage level to connect the synthetic substations with a transmission grid, with a heuristic inspired by simulated annealing that balances the objectives associated with both geographic constraints and contingency reliability, using a linearized dc power flow sensitivity. In order to scale these systems to tens of thousands of buses, robust reactive power planning is needed as a third stage, accounting for power flow convergence difficulties intrinsic in large grids. The public datasets produced by this model provide researchers and educators in many fields with much-needed power systems test cases that are realistic, detailed, and large. In the power systems discipline, where many results are published using systems which are either simplistic or confidential, new synthetic grids enhance reproducibility of results and scientific rigor.

Adam Birchfield received the B.E.E. degree in 2014 from Auburn University, the M.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering in 2016 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Ph. D. degree in 2018 in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University. Currently, he is launching a startup company in research consulting and software. His research is in the area of power system modeling and computational analysis, including dynamics and stability, synthetic power grids, visualization, and high-impact, low-frequency events.

Wednesday, February 27 at 11:00am to 12:00pm

Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 435
1520 Middle Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996

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