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UW Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Receives Department of Energy Grant

October 27, 2010

The University of Wyoming (UW) College of Engineering and Applied Science Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has received a half million dollar grant to integrate a mode meter into software for a power system control center. The funding to UW is part of a larger project from the Department of Energy to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC).

"This project is taking the research and algorithms we've been developing over recent years and coordinates with the WECC to integrate them into actual power system control centers. The goal is real-time estimation of electromechanical modes which is useful for system operators in running the power grid reliably," said Professor John Pierre, UW's project principal investigator. Pierre, along with UW Professor Suresh Muknahallipatna and post doc Luke Dosiek, will be collaborating with faculty at Montana Tech to write the code which will be integrated into a control center vendor's software.

UW's project is part of the WECC's larger smart grid project entitled Western Interconnection Synchorphasor Project (WISP). Synchrophasor devices provide GPS time-syncronized measurement data from throughout the power grid. The WECC is responsible for coordinating and promoting bulk electric system reliability in the Western US power grid. The WECC encompasses 14 western states and parts of Canada and Mexico. Its members face the challenges in coordinating the day-to-day operation and long range planning to provide reliable service to millions of customers spread across nearly 1.8 million square miles.

Dr. John Pierre, a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, earned a B.S. in electrical engineering with a minor in economics from Montana State University in 1986. He worked as an electrical design engineer for Tektronix, then continued his education at the University of Minnesota where he received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering after which time joined the faculty at UW in 1992. Along with his research interests in applied statistical signal processing and digital signal processing education, he has received over $1.5 million in external grants as principal or co-principal investigator. Early in his career his primary research was on array and communication system calibration. In recent years he has developed a significant research program investigating system identification techniques to help monitor the stability of the power grid and worked with Intermountain Laboratories in Sheridan, Wyo., on an infrasonic sensor array for avalanche detection.

Dr. Suresh Muknahallipatna joined the faculty in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1997. He was previously a post-doc in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UW. He has been a university professor for the past 12 years and has mentored 20 graduate students. Suresh received a Bachelor of Engineering (1988) in electrical engineering from the Bangalore University, India, a Master of Engineering (1991) in electrical engineering from the Bangalore University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering (1995) from the University of Wyoming. Current research interests are in storage area, nano-satellite and mobile ad-hoc networks. He is a senior IEEE member.


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