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Prof. Amro M. Farid joins the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center as an affiliated Researcher

We are happy to announce that Prof. Amro M. Farid has joined the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center (UMTC) as an affiliated researcher.  The announcement can be found as a blog post here.  By entering the UMTC affiliated researcher network, the LIINES and UMTC will be able to more closely collaborate on interesting transportation research.  Naturally, some of these areas include transportation electrification, intelligent transportation systems, and connected & automated vehicles.
The University of Massachusetts Transportation Center (UMTC) is located at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, 214 Marston Hall. The UMTC conducts research on all aspects of Transportation including Travel Behavior, Transportation Modeling, Sustainability, Freight, Transit, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Optimization, Transportation Finance and Policy, Emission Estimation and Modeling, Commercial Motor Vehicle research, Safety, Human Factors, GIS, Climate Change and Economic Development.
The UMTC is funded in part by the MassDOT, New England Transportation Consortium and National UTC Consortiums.
In depth materials on LIINES electrified transportation systems research can be found on the LIINES website.

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Prof. Amro M. Farid presents at Transactive Energy Systems Conference

On Tuesday May 17, 2016, Prof. Amro M. Farid presented at the Third International Conference and Workshop on Transactive Energy Systems in Portland, Oregon.   The presentation entitled:  “Microgrids as a Key Enabling Transactive Energy Technology for Resilient Self-Healing Power Grid Operation” featured some of the LIINES’ recent research on resilience in power systems.

Building upon the recent IEEE Vision for Smart Grid Controls, the presentation advocated the concept of resilience self-healing operation in future power grids.  This continues to be an important area of LIINES research and has been the subject of several recent blogposts.  (See here, here and here).  The concept of resilient power systems effectively means that healthy regions of the grid can continue to operate while disrupted and perturbed regions bring themselves back to normal operation.   A key technology enabling this resilience is microgrids because they are often able to island themselves from the rest of the grid and continue to operate successfully.   In this presentation, the microgrids were controlled with a transactive energy control architecture that couples several control layers to achieve both technical reliability as well as cost effectiveness.  Furthermore, the presentation showed the ability for several microgrids to self-coordinate so as to demonstrate “strength-in-numbers” when adverse power grid conditions like net load ramps and variability arise.   The presentation concluded with the need for significant new research where transactive energy control concepts are intertwined with recent work on power grid enterprise control.


In depth materials on LIINES smart power grid research can be found on the LIINES website.


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The LIINES Commitment to Open-Information

 Good science is reproducible.   This means that it must be publicly available, its contributions transparently communicated, and its data accessible.  These are principles that drive the everyday work of every individual’s research at the LIINES.  We now wish to go further and make a commitment to Open-Information.
Beginning today, the LIINES will seek to leverage its website to make all of its research 100% reproducible by the public at large.   This includes:
  • Sharing all input datasets used to conduct the research for which no prior proprietary or security commitments have been made.
  • Producing scientific publications in such a way that scientific peers can accurately verify & validate the work.
  • Making the content of all conference, journal and book-chapter publications freely available in author preprint form.  (Note: Most publishers allow self-archiving and open-distribution of author preprints).
We believe that the LIINES’ research has broad applicability to academia, industry, government and the public at large.   However, traditional publication venues are often only subscribed by academic universities and a handful of well-funded industrial companies.   All-too-often the people that can benefit from this work, never get a chance to see it.   This slows down the work’s potential impact and is counter to the LIINES mission.   It is for these reasons, that the LIINES makes its Open-Information commitment.
While it is natural that making all of this information available will take some time, we will be sure to keep blogging to keep you up to date of new additions to the LIINES website.  For now, feel free to visit the LIINES Datasets Repository which includes both data from our publications as well as a collation of several relevant and openly available datasets.
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Journal Paper Accepted at Applied Energy Journal – Demand Side Management in a Day-Ahead Wholesale Market: A Comparison of Industrial & Social Welfare Approaches

The LIINES is pleased to announce the acceptance of the paper entitled: “Demand Side Management in a Day-Ahead Wholesale Market: A Comparison of Industrial & Social Welfare Approaches” to Applied Energy Journal for publication. The paper is authored by Bo Jiang, Prof. Amro M. Farid, and Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi.

The intermittent and unpredictable nature of renewable energy brings operational challenges to electrical grid reliability. The fast fluctuations in renewable energy generation require high ramping capability which must be met by dispatchable energy resources. In contrast, Demand Side management (DSM) with its ability to allow customers to adjust electricity consumption in response to market signals has been recognized as an efficient way to shape load profiles and mitigate the variable effects of renewable energy as well as to reduce system costs. However, the academic and industrial literature have taken divergent approaches to DSM implementation. While the popular approach among academia adopts a social welfare maximization formulation, defined as the net benefit from electricity consumption measured from zero, the industrial practice introduces an estimated baseline.   This baseline represents the counterfactual electricity consumption that would have occurred without DSM, and customers are compensated according to their load reduction from this predefined electricity consumption baseline.


In response to the academic and industrial literature gap, our paper rigorously compares these two different approaches in a day-ahead wholesale market context. We developed models for the two methods using the same mathematical formalism and compared them analytically as well as in a test case using RTS-1996 reliability testing system. The comparison of the two models showed that a proper reconciliation of the two models might make them dispatch in fundamentally the same way, but only under very specific conditions that are rarely met in practice. While the social welfare model uses a stochastic net load composed of two terms, the industrial DSM model uses a stochastic net load composed of three terms including the additional baseline term. While very much discouraged, customers have an implicit incentive to surreptitiously inflate the administrative baseline in order to receive greater financial compensation. An artificially inflated baseline is shown to result in a higher resource dispatch and higher system costs.

The high resource scheduling due to inflated baseline likely require more control activity in subsequent layers of enterprise control including security constrained economic dispatch and regulation service layer. Future work will continue to explore the technical and economic effects of erroneous industrial baseline.

About the Author:

Bo Jiang conducted this research in collaboration with her Master’s thesis advisor Prof. Amro M. Farid and Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research interests include renewable energy integration, power system operations and optimization. Bo is now pursuing her PhD at MIT Mechanical Engineering Department.

A full reference list of Smart Power Grids and Intelligent Energy Systems research at LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page: http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines




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Energy-Water-Food Nexus Research Integral to the IEEE Smart Cities Conference

In addition to its overall success, the IEEE Smart Cities Conference also presented significant research on the Energy-Water-Food Nexus.
On Monday, a two-hour energy-water nexus special session was held featuring multiple aspects of LIINES research.
  • The presentation entitled “Extending the Energy-Water Nexus Reference Architecture to the Sustainable Development of Agriculture, Industry  & Commerce.” provided a high level overview of the types of couplings that exist not just within the energy and water infrastructure but also within end-uses in the agricultural, industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.  Water and energy balance principles were used to systematically highlight the existence of trade-off decisions with the energy-water nexus.
  • The presentation entitled “Extending the Utility Analysis and Integration Model at the Energy Water Nexus” featured LIINES research done in collaboration with the Water Environment Foundation (WEF).   This work argued the need for integrated enterprise management systems within the water utility sector to support sustainable decision-making.
  • The presentation entitled “The Role of Resource Efficient Decentralized Wastewater Treatment in Smart Cities” featured LIINES research done in collaboration with the German startup Ecoglobe.  This work argued the need for resource-efficient decentralized wastewater treatment facilities as a key enabling technology in the energy-water-food nexus.  It then presented Ecoglobe’s WaterbaseTM as such a technology.
On Wednesday, a three hour workshop entitled “Smart Food at the University of Guadalajara (UDG)”  was lead by Diana Romero and Prof. Victor Larios.   It featured the university’s efforts to bring hydroponic farming to future cities.  The workshop also highlighted the UDG’s collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory’s City Farm Initiative.
Both sessions drew participation of 40-50 conference attendees and active dialogue during the Q&A sessions.  It is clear that a smart city — by all definitions — is one that actively manages the supply and demand for energy, water, and food as an integral activity.   These two sessions demonstrated this need and looks to become a central theme within the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative and its flagship international conferences.

A full reference list of energy-water nexus research at the LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page:  http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines

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IEEE Smart Cities Conference Establishes Itself as Premier Conference

Several days ago, we wrote a blog post to announce the beginning of the First IEEE Smart Cities Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.   Now that the conference draws to a close, we can firmly say that the conference by all measures has been a tremendous success.  The conference had over 500 registered participants drawing from academia, industry, and government — fully in agreement with the triple-helix model of innovation.  From industry, dozens attended from IBM and Intel alone.   The conference also benefited from the presence of the Governor of Jalisco, The Honorable, Aristóteles Sandoval, as well as several generous industrial sponsors.
The conference also distinguished itself for its focus on civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and innovation.   Aside from the ample opportunity for networking and lively conversation, the conference featured a “Student Hackathon”.   For two days, student teams were challenged to develop, in real-time, cloud-based Smart City Apps on iOS and Android platforms.  The winning teams developed apps for smart transportation, healthcare, and community service and won monetary prizes of 500 & 1000USD.  The LIINES wishes these teams all the best as they form small businesses to bring their apps to the market.
With such participation, and despite the landfall of Hurricane Patricia only 24 hours earlier, it is clear that the First International IEEE Smart Cities Conference has established itself as a premier international conference and the flagship of the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.  Please do stay tuned for announcements for the 2nd International IEEE Smart Cities Conference to be held in the idyllic mountain city of Trento, Italy in September 2016.  Interested readers can join the IEEE Smart City Initiative and its associated LinkedIn group.
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Searching for Smart City LIINES

Today, Monday October 26th 2015, the first International Smart Cities Conference begins in Guadalajara, Mexico and will continue until Wednesday October 28th.  It is the premier annual conference sponsored by the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.  Smart Cities are innovative, conceptual, and city-wide technology-human-infrastructure integration platforms.  The conference brings a broad perspective to Smart Cities drawing from a variety of disciplines.  This is evidenced by its 9 tracks including:
  1. Smart Grids
  2. Internet of Things (IoT)
  3. Smart Homes & Buildings
  4. Smart Transport
  5. Smart Environment,
  6. Smart Manufacturing & Logistics
  7. Open Data
  8. Smart Health
  9. Smart Citizens
Here, at the LIINES, the concept of Smart Cities is one to which we have been paying attention for quite some time.  Naturally, with the four research themes of Smart Power Grids, Energy-Water Nexus, Transportation-Electrification Systems, and Industrial Energy Management, we believe that the LIINES has a lot to contribute to the development of intelligent infrastructure in cities of the future.   Prof. Amro M. Farid has been nominated to the IEEE Smart Cities Conference steering committee and also serves as the Workshop & Tutorials co-chair.  He is also track chair for the Smart Grids track to be held all day today.
Interested readers can join the IEEE Smart City Initiative and its associated LinkedIn group.   Additionally, the conference organizers will be live-tweeting on Twitter #IEEESmartCities, #ISC2.  Join us in the developing the Smart Cities of the Future.
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The All-New Dartmouth LIINES Website

In  a recent blogpost, we wrote how the LIINES is moving to Darmouth.  Naturally, when a lab moves so does its website!   The new LIINES website will now be found at http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines but will continue to be mirrored at the original MIT website (http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu) in recognition of our continued collaborative research there.
We look forward to updating the LIINES website to reflect the lab’s continued development.
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The LIINES seeks Quantitatively-Minded Dartmouth Undergrad for Smart Grid Research Competition

The LIINES seeks 1-2 quantitatively-minded Dartmouth undergrads for participation in a smart grid research competition.  This work is a direct extension of our prior work in the smart power grid research theme.   The competition involves multi-agent system negotiation techniques as applied to power system operations and management.  The work can serve as part of a senior thesis or an undergraduate research opportunity.
The successful student(s) will be driven by a sincere interest in the smart grid field and have an affinity to object-oriented programming.   Engineering science or computing science majors are preferred although preparations in heavily computational disciplines such as physics, applied mathematics, and economics are welcome.  A prior portfolio in an object-oriented programming language is required.  C++ is specifically preferred.   More senior undergraduate students are preferred although initiative, interest, and programming fluency will be the determining criteria.

Interested students may contact Prof. Amro M. Farid for further information and an interview. 

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Journal Paper Accepted at Springer’s Intelligent Industrial Systems Journal: Multi-Agent System Design Principles for Resilient Coordination & Control of Future Power Systems

The LIINES is pleased to announce the acceptance of the paper: “Multi-Agent System Design Principles for Resilient Coordination & Control of Future Power Systems” in Springer’s Intelligent Industrial Systems Journal. The paper is authored by Amro M. Farid and was published online at May 28th 2015.

Recently, the vision of academia and industry has converged, defining future power system as intelligent, responsive, dynamic, adaptive, and flexible. This vision emphasizes the importance of resilience as a “smart grid” property. It’s implementation remains as a cyber-physical grand challenge.

Power grid resilience allows healthy regions to continue normal operation while disrupted or perturbed regions bring themselves back to normal operation. Previous literature has sought to achieve resilience with microgrids capable of islanded operation enabled by distributed renewable energy resources. These two factors require a holistic approach to managing a power system’s complex dynamics. In our recent work (e.g. link 1 and link 2), we have proposed as means of integrating a power system’s multiple layers of control into a single hierarchical control structure.

In addition to enterprise control, it is important to recognize that resilience requires controllers to be available even if parts of the power grid are disrupted. Therefore, distributed control systems, and more specifically Multi-Agent Systems have often been proposed as the key technology for implementing resilient control systems. Multi-agent systems are commonly used to distribute a specific decision-making algorithm such as those in market negotiation and stability control. However, very few have sought to apply multi-agent systems to achieve a resilient power system.

The purpose of the paper entitled “Multi-Agent System Design Principles for Resilient Coordination & Control of Future Power Systems” is two fold. First, it seeks to identify a set of Multi-Agent System design principles for resilient coordination and control. Second, the paper assesses the adherence of existing Multi-Agent System implementations in the literature with respect to those design principles.

The set of design principles is based on newly developed resilience measures for Large Flexible Engineering Systems. These measures use Axiomatic Design and are directly applicable to the power grid’s many types of functions and its changing structure. These design principles, when followed, guide the conception of a multi-agent system architecture to achieve greater resilience.

About the author: Wester C.H. Schoonenberg completed his B.Sc. in Systems Engineering and Policy Analysis Management at Delft University of Technology in 2014. After his bachelors’ degree, Wester started his graduate work for the LIINES at Masdar Institute, which he continues as a doctoral student at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2015. Currently, Wester is working on the integrated operation of electrical grids and production systems with a special interest in Zero Carbon Emission Manufacturing Systems.

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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