Cascading failures of power grids are complex phenomena where an initial, exogenously caused set of equipment outages can result in power flows automatically rearranging themselves in such a way that other pieces of equipment become overloaded, and fail. If this process becomes self-sustaining it can cascade ('snowball') overwhelming control attempts, and eventually resulting in large blackouts affecting tens of millions of people, with large resulting cost, both human and economic. Cascading failures have taken place several times in the last decade, in the U.S. and Europe and elsewhere, typically started by small-scale exogenous events but nevertheless leading to large blackouts. Additionally, there is concern that an intelligent and malevolent party could start a cascade by deliberately disabling carefully chosen equipment (e.g. power lines, generators, transformers) and thereby causing even larger failures. In this workshop we focus on algorithmic techniques used to model cascading failures both at a high level and at the level of the basic power physics.
This workshop follows a three-day workshop on Energy Infrastructure: Designing for Stability and Resilience being held February 20 - 22, 2013.