"Autonomous Agents and Cooperation for the Control of
Cascading Failures in Electric Grids"
Paul Hines, Huaiwei Liao, Dong Jia, and Sarosh Talukdar
A power system can be thought of as a stochastic hybrid system: a Finite
State Machine whose states involve continuous variables with uncertain
dynamics. Transitions in this machine correspond to outages of
generation and transmission equipment. A cascading failure corresponds
to a series of such transitions whose net effect is a blackout. We
present evidence that the probability of cascading failures is subject
to phase transitionsólarge and abrupt changes that result from only
small changes in system stress. We suggest a network of distributed,
autonomous agents to reduce the ill effects of cascading failures. These
agents improve their decisions by cooperating (sharing goals and
exchanging information with their neighbors). Results from experiments
on the IEEE 118 bus test case are included.
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