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Title: Distributed Sensor Coordination for Advanced Energy Systems

The ability to collect key system level information is critical to the safe, efficient and reliable operation of advanced energy systems. With recent advances in sensor development, it is now possible to push some level of decision making directly to computationally sophisticated sensors, rather than wait for data to arrive to a massive centralized location before a decision is made. This type of approach relies on networked sensors (called “agents” from here on) to actively collect and process data, and provide key control decisions to significantly improve both the quality/relevance of the collected data and the associating decision making. The technological bottlenecks for such sensor networks stem from a lack of mathematics and algorithms to manage the systems, rather than difficulties associated with building and deploying them. Indeed, traditional sensor coordination strategies do not provide adequate solutions for this problem. Passive data collection methods (e.g., large sensor webs) can scale to large systems, but are generally not suited to highly dynamic environments, such as advanced energy systems, where crucial decisions may need to be reached quickly and locally. Approaches based on local decisions on the other hand cannot guarantee that each agent performing its task (maximize an agent objective) willmore » lead to good network wide solution (maximize a network objective) without invoking cumbersome coordination routines. There is currently a lack of algorithms that will enable self-organization and blend the efficiency of local decision making with the system level guarantees of global decision making, particularly when the systems operate in dynamic and stochastic environments. In this work we addressed this critical gap and provided a comprehensive solution to the problem of sensor coordination to ensure the safe, reliable, and robust operation of advanced energy systems. The differentiating aspect of the proposed work is in shifting the focus towards “what to observe” rather than “how to observe” in large sensor networks, allowing the agents to actively determine both the structure of the network and the relevance of the information they are seeking to collect. In addition to providing an implicit coordination mechanism, this approach allows the system to be reconfigured in response to changing needs (e.g., sudden external events requiring new responses) or changing sensor network characteristics (e.g., sudden changes to plant condition). Outcome Summary: All milestones associated with this project have been completed. In particular, private sensor objective functions were developed which are aligned with the global objective function, sensor effectiveness has been improved by using “sensor teams,” system efficiency has been improved by 30% using difference evaluation functions, we have demonstrated system reconfigurability for 20% changes in system conditions, we have demonstrated extreme scalability of our proposed algorithm, we have demonstrated that sensor networks can overcome disruptions of up to 20% in network conditions, and have demonstrated system reconfigurability to 20% changes in system conditions in hardware-based simulations. This final report summarizes how each of these milestones was achieved, and gives insight into future research possibilities past the work which has been completed. The following publications support these milestones [6, 8, 9, 10, 16, 18, 19].« less
  1. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
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Technical Report
Research Org:
Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States