“Providing for every contingency possible in a network like this, serving more than 65 million nodes, it’s a large and nasty problem. And it is one that has to be solved every ten minutes.”
That’s how Uday V. Shanbag, Associate Professor in Penn State University’s Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, described the challenge facing a team of Penn State researchers who have been selected to help “modernize and reimagine the United States’ power grid” through a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored competition.
Penn State—an EnergyCAP licensee—is one of just ten universities participating in the Grid Optimization Competition’s initial challenge. Dr. Shanbag is leading the school’s effort and added, “With a network as large as the U.S. power grid, the optimization problems we need to solve are incredibly large and complex.” The interdisciplinary team assembled to work with Dr. Shanbag includes Nilanjan Ray Chaudhuri, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science; Chiara Lo Prete, assistant professor of energy economics; and Minghui Zhu, assistant professor of electrical engineering.
For the competition’s first round, teams will focus on “finding ways to provide electricity more quickly, efficiently, safely, and reliably within the current grid.” Those advancing to the second round will have the opportunity to test their new algorithms with sample data.
More details about the grid modernization challenge are available through Penn State News.