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Electrical Transmission System Cascades and Vulnerability: An Operations Research Viewpoint

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by Daniel Bienstock


2015 / viii + 294 pages / Softcover / ISBN 978-1-611974-15-7 / List Price $96.00 / SIAM Member Price $67.20 / Order Code MO22

Keywords: power grid, cascades, optimization, stochastics, robustness


The power grid can be considered one of twentieth-century engineering’s greatest achievements, and as grids and populations grow, robustness is a factor that planners must take into account. Power grid robustness is a complex problem for two reasons: the underlying physics is mathematically complex, and modeling is complicated by lack of accurate data.

This book sheds light on this complex problem by

  • introducing the engineering details of power grid operations from the basic to the detailed;
  • describing how to use optimization and stochastic modeling, with special focus on the modeling of cascading failures and robustness;  
  • providing numerical examples that show “how things work”; and
  • detailing the application of a number of optimization theories to power grids.

This book is intended for operations researchers who want to learn about power grids and power engineers who seek a more in-depth understanding of optimization methodologies and of the rigorous thinking used in optimization.    

About the Author
Daniel Bienstock is a Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Columbia University. He has a joint affiliation with the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. Prior to joining Columbia University, Professor Bienstock was in the combinatorics and optimization research group at Bellcore. He has also participated in collaborative research with several industrial partners. He received the 2013 INFORMS Fellow award, a Presidential Young Investigator award, and an IBM Faculty award; he gave a plenary address at the 2005 SIAM Conference on Optimization and a semiplenary at the 2006 ISMP conference. His research focuses on optimization and high-performance computing, and a second focus involves the use of computational mathematics in the analysis and control of power grids, especially the study of vulnerabilities and of cascading blackouts.


ISBN: 9781611974157

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