In depth: The man behind the self-healing grid

Dr. S. Massoud Amin Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering | University of Minnesota | Chair IEEE Smart Grid Committee

In an interview with Dr. S. Massoud Amin, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota and Chairman of the IEEE Smart Grid Committee, discusses his early career in the development and evolution of the self-healing grid and how he sees the smart grid evolving.

MI: With 20+ years’ experience in the smart grid sector and having conceived and articulated the vision of the smart self-healing grid – how has the smart grid of today met/exceeded your expectations compared to your initial design of the potential capabilities

MA: To begin with a brief history, from 19821997 I worked on several projects with NASAAmes, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing and the US Air Force on command/control, predictive analytics, optimisation and stabilisation of aircraft as well as, interdependent logistical and combat systems.

My work in aeronautics involved combining mathematical foundations of nonlinear dynamical complex systems, differential game theory, stochastic optimisation, dynamic risk assessment and artificial intelligence implemented with overlaid networks of sensing, and secure communications and controls.

These foundations formed the basis of the self-healing concept. As my research continued, I moved from studying the survival of individual aircraft to the survival of squadrons and large-scale complex networks, looking at how groups and networks can keep mission effectiveness when critical components, like fueling, go down. I discovered how power systems and interdependent coupled networks for fuel supply, energy and power and communication and energy markets, could be retrofitted or designed to automatically stabilise, optimise and correct themselves.

When I joined the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in 1998, I had already been working on the self-healing concept for several years. However, the vision was articulated through the…


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