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Electrical and Computer Engineering

College of Engineering and Applied Science

Dr. John Pierre's Research

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University of Wyoming Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Dr. John Pierre's research projects

Signal Processing Applications to Power Systems

For over a decade, Professor Pierre and his graduate students have been investigating advanced signal processing applications applied to power systems.  In particular, with the vast amounts of time-synchronized phasor (synchrophasor) data that utilities are collecting in real-time, there are tremendous opportunities to use signal processing and system identification methods to better understand the power grid.  This data is essentially a multichannel time series of measurements.  There are many applications such as Monitoring of Electromechanical Modes, Oscillation Detection in Power Systems, and Wide Area Tests of the Western US Power Grid.  UW’s ECE Department (Drs. Pierre, Muknahallipatna, and Duan) has been on the leading edge of synchrophasor applications with over 2.7 million dollars in funding over the past decade.  This has included funding and/or collaboration with the DOE, the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), three industry partners, seven utilities, and two national laboratories.
Image right: One approach to power system identification

 


 

University of Wyoming Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Dr. John Pierre's research projects

Signal Processing application to Avalanche Detection

While this is not currently an active research area, it resulted in operational avalanche detection systems for a number of locations around the Western US.  This research and product development was led by UW alumni, Ernie Scott, at Intermountain Laboratory in Sheridan, WY.  Drs. Pierre, Kubichek, and Hamann worked with Mr. Scott in developing an infrasonic sensor array which both detects and tracks snow movement during an avalanche. This system has applications for highway departments for avalanche mitigation efforts on highways frequented by avalanches. Currently the Wyoming Department of Transportation uses one of these systems in avalanche mitigation efforts on Teton Pass outside of Jackson, WY.  Snow avalanches produce sub-audible acoustic pressure fluctuations in the low frequency infrasonic spectrum.  Low frequency avalanche-generated infrasound signals have the ability to propagate kilometers from the slide path in which the avalanche event occurred. These properties provide a basis for the development of automated avalanche identification systems that can operate in locations distant and safe from avalanche activity.  The system uses array signal processing techniques to both detect and track avalanches. 

Image above: Infrasonic Avalanche Detection Sensor

 

Scott, E.D., C.T. Hayward, R.F. Kubichek, J.C. Hamann, J.W. Pierre, B. Comey, and T. Mendenhall “Single and Multiple Sensor Identification of Avalanche-Generated Infrasound,” CRST (Cold Regions Science and Technology) Journal, vol. 47, nos. 1-2,  159-170, January 2007.

Scott, E.D., C.T. Hayward, R.F. Kubichek, J.C. Hamann, and J.W. Pierre, “Results of Recent Infrasonic Avalanche Monitoring Studies,” Proceedings of the ISSW (International Snow Science Workshop), pp. 696-704, September 2004.

 


Signal Processing application to Array Processing

The University of Wyoming Source Tracking Array Testbed, UW-STAT, was specifically developed to perform experimental evaluation of high-resolution source tracking array algorithms. While this is not currently an active research area, a limited amount of real world array data is still available for researchers.   The data and additional information about the array may be found at http://www.uwyo.edu/electrical/research/array/index.html or from Professor Pierre. 

 

University of Wyoming Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Dr. John Pierre's research projectsImage above: UW-STAT (Source Tracking Array Testbed)

Signal Processing Education Research

Professors’ Wright, Kubichek, Hamann, and Pierre have been extensively involved in signal processing pedagogy.  Most notable is the text book, co-authored by Dr. Wright, entitled Real-Time Digital Signal Processing from MATLAB to C with the TMS320C6x DSPs.  They have also published 70 papers related to signal processing education in the ICASSP (International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing) Proceedings, ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education) Annual Conference Proceedings and associated journals, IEEE Transactions on Education, and the IEEE Signal Processing Education Workshop Proceedings.  Dr. Wright has also been part of a team putting on at least one Hands-On Real-Time DSP for Educators Workshop each year over the last decade. 

 


Monitoring of Electromechanical Modes

University of Wyoming Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Dr. John Pierre's research projects

Inter area electromechanical modes have to do with generators in one area of a power system swinging  against generators in another location.  Accurate information about the modes is becoming critical for the improved operational reliability of interconnected grids.  Time-synchronized measurements provide rich information for estimating these electromechanical modal properties.  A given mode’s properties are described by its frequency, damping, and shape.  This research focuses on developing algorithms for mode estimation and for assessing the performance of those algorithms.  This includes both real-time methods to be used in control centers and off-line methods for benchmarking system behavior.  This research has been supported by DOE and other sources.

Image left: PMU (Phasor Measurement Unit) Locations


 

University of Wyoming Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Dr. John Pierre's research projectsOscillation Detection in Power Systems

There can be many possible sources of oscillations in power systems.  Forced oscillations can occur such as a rogue generator controller in a limit cycle.  The oscillations can also stem from the electromechancial modes of the system.  Regardless of the source, utilities are highly interested in detecting these oscillations, knowing their frequency and amplitude, and identifying the origin location of these oscillations.  Synchrophasor data is ideal for this purpose and signal processing algorithms can be used for the detection and estimation of the oscillations.  This research has been supported by DOE and other sources.

Image Right: Transmission Lines

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