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Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory win top prizes in nationwide competition to help improve power grid


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Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists Hassan Hijazi, left, and Carleton Coffrin developed algorithms that won top prizes in a national competition to help improve the resilience of the power grid. Courtesy / LANL

LANL News:

Two scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) won first prizes in a national competition for the development of algorithms to improve the resilience and efficiency of the power grid.

The algorithm developed by Hassan Hijazi of the Applied Mathematics and Plasma Physics group took first place in all four divisions, while that developed by Carleton Coffrin of the Laboratory’s Information Systems and Modeling group came second in two of the four divisions.

Their work surpassed 14 other entries in the competetion funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a United States government agency that promotes and funds research and development of advanced energy technologies.

“Network security is a national security issue, which is why this is an important job for Los Alamos,” said Nancy Jo Nicholas, associate director for global security at LANL. “Every five minutes, optimization problems arise in the American electricity grid that require a mathematical solution. Hassan and Carleton’s accomplishments will help advance national efforts to create a more reliable, resilient and secure electricity grid.

Hijazi and Coffrin’s algorithms use artificial intelligence to find ways to improve network performance. Coffrin’s code is open-source and available via GitHub. Hijazi competed as an individual.

The competition is part of an effort to identify emerging network optimization algorithms and accelerate industry adoption of these algorithms. This requires competitors to demonstrate the applicability and strength of the new algorithms under a wide range of system operating conditions. Groups from other national, university and industrial laboratories all participated in the competition.

The success of Coffrin’s artificial intelligence methods in this competition was made possible by the Laboratory’s long-term strategic investment in fundamental mathematical methods through the Advanced Network Science Initiative.

On Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

The Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science in the name of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service-oriented national security scientific organization owned equally by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) and the University of California (UC) regents for the National Nuclear Security Administration of the Department of Energy.

Los Alamos strengthens national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the US nuclear stockpile, by developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction and by solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, to global health and security.

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