"Phase Transitions in the Probability of Cascading
Huaiwei Liao, Jay Apt, Sarosh Talukdar
A cascading failure can be thought of as an alternating sequence of
equipment-outages and threshold crossings. This paper studies the
probability of such failures in two simple models of electric power
networks. The experimental results display phase transitions--large and
abrupt changes in the probability of a cascading failure with only small
changes in network stress. We conjecture that such phase transitions
also occur in actual power networks. If this conjecture is true, on-line
techniques for assessing the risk of cascading failures could be based
on searching the neighborhood of the current operating point for the
nearest phase transition.
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