The identification of the mode of instability plays an essential role in generating principal energy boundary hypersurfaces. We present a new method for unstable machine identification based on the use of supervised learning neural-net technology, and the adaptive pattern recognition concept. It is shown that using individual energy functions as pattern features, appropriately trained neural-nets can retrieve the reliable characterization of the transient process including critical clearing time parameter, mode of instability and energy margins. Generalization capabilities of the neural-net processing allow for these assessments to be made independently of load levels. The results obtained from computer simulations are presented using the New England power system, as an example. (author).