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IEEE Taps ODU's Tolk for His Expertise in Interoperability for Smart Grid Vision Panel

The world's energy grid has been identified as critical infrastructure that could be at risk from technology changes, future energy demands and unforeseen events.

IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. The IEEE Computer Society is sponsoring a series of workshops on computing aspects of a vision for a "smart" energy grid, and Andreas Tolk, professor of engineering management and systems engineering at Old Dominion University, has been invited to participate.

The IEEE Computer Society Smart Grid Vision group met for the first time August 8-9 in Chicago. A second workshop will be held in October, after a draft Vision document has been prepared.

"The purpose of this project is to develop a vision for the Smart Grid from a computing perspective, looking forward 30 years into the future," Tolk said. "This project will take into consideration disruptive computing technologies that shape the Vision, and incorporate 'blue sky' thinking, looking into the future."

Tolk was invited by the IEEE Computer Society to present his work on the studying of interoperability and composability - the need for various computational systems to work together to accomplish complex goals.

The goals of this initiative include:

  • Creating a "Smart Grid Vision" for 30 years into the future
  • Reference models that identify the technology elements within the Vision, and their relationships; and
  • A "Technology Roadmap" with guideposts at 10 and 20 years that describes the anticipated evolution of technology and standards along the Vision continuum.

"This Vision will not be bound by the current understanding of technologies that drive today's tactical objectives in establishing smart grid operational concepts, standers and interoperability," Tolk said.

Rather, Tolk said this project will help articulate the smart grid research and development needs that will bring the Vision to life. "The direct beneficiaries of this Vision are industrial and academic organizations engaged in long-term research and relevant funding entities."

As part of the first workshop, Tolk presented his works on interoperability, including his Levels of Conceptual Interoperability Model, which has already been successfully used to shape the GridWise Interoperability Context-Setting Framework developed for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Ultimately, the IEEE Computer Society Smart Grid Vision aims to answer the following questions:

  • How can future competing technologies alter our views for the behavior of the smart grid?
  • How can the advancement of technologies contribute to more efficient, cleaner, secure and affordable energy?
  • How do future competing technologies affect the evolution of existing standards so that near-term infrastructure investments remain compatible with future smart grid technologies?
  • Where are there needs for additional standards as enablers for broad implementation of future computing technologies?

The IEEE is running parallel Smart Grid Vision projects through its Communications Society, Power and Energy Society, Control Systems Society and Intelligent Transportation Society, with a goal of sharing information about the ongoing evolution of the smart grid.

This article was posted on: August 9, 2011

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