Columbia University

Resilience of Communications and Power Networks

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In addition to the research in the area of wireless networking, we have also been studying the resilience of telecommunication and power networks to large scale geographically correlated failures.  Since these networks rely on physical infrastructure, they are vulnerable to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and solar flares, or to physical attacks, such as an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Hence, we focus on the vulnerability of these networks to failures in a common geographical area (i.e., to geographically-correlated failures). Developing tools for identifying vulnerabilities is of utmost importance for network monitoring, strengthening, and modernization.

We studied the effects of deterministic and probabilistic geographically correlated failures on communication networks. Under the deterministic model, all lines in a specific region fail and under the probabilistic model, the failure probability of a line is a function of its distance from the event epicenter (since the effects of physical attacks can rarely be determined in advance, probabilistic models are more realistic). We also considered scenarios with a number of simultaneous attacks and in which a protection plan is in place. We developed efficient algorithms that find a worst-case attack location and obtained numerical results for backbone networks, thereby demonstrating the applicability to real-world networks.

Moreover, we considered the power grid vulnerability and studied the unique effects of geographically correlated outages. We developed tools for identifying the most vulnerable locations in the grid and performed extensive numerical experiments with grid data to investigate the various effects of geographically correlated outages and the resulting cascades. These results allowed us to gain insights into the relationships between various parameters and performance metrics, such as the size of the original event, the final number of connected components, and the fraction of demand (load) satisfied after the cascade. We also considered various computational aspects of cascading failures in power grids and showed the limitations of epidemic- and percolation-based tools in modeling the cascade evolution.

In our recent work we have been considering the vulnerability of the power grid to joint cyber and physical attacks and developing methods to retrieve the grid state information following such an attack. Finally, we have been studying the structural properties of the North American grids and developing algorithms for generating synthetic power grids (i.e., spatially embedded networks with similar properties to a given grid). This work is motivated by the fact that the development of algorithms for enhancing the resilience of the power grid requires evaluation with topologies of real transmission networks but such topologies are usually not publicly available.

The video below includes a short talk about the “vulnerability of power grids to geographically correlated failures” that was given in the FCC Workshop on Network Resiliency in Feb. 2013.

 

Our work in this area was discussed in NPR, Phys.Org, Columbia SpectatorColumbia Magazine, Columbia Engineering news, Columbia DSI news, and Columbia Engineering Magazine.

Related news items

Data Sets

[1] “Synthetic power grid data set.” Jun-2017. [link]

Publications

[1]
J. Ostrometzky, K. Berestizshevsky, A. Bernstein, and G. Zussman, “Physics-informed deep neural network method for limited observability state estimation,” arXiv:1910.06401v2 [eess.SY], Feb. 2020.

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S. Soltan, M. Yannakakis, and G. Zussman, “Doubly balanced connected graph partitioning,” ACM Transactions on Algorithms (to appear), 2020.

[download] [presentation]

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J. Ostrometzky, A. Bernstein, and G. Zussman, “Irradiance field reconstruction from partial observability of solar radiation,” IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, vol. 16, no. 11, pp. 1698–1702, Nov. 2019.

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S. Soltan, M. Yannakakis, and G. Zussman, “REACT to cyber attacks on power grids,” IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 459–473, Sep. 2019.

[download] [presentation]

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J. Ostrometzky, G. Zussman, and H. Messer-Yaron, “Predictive Communication Network Management based on Weather, US provisional patent application No. 62/876,337.” Jul-2019.
[1]
S. Soltan, A. Loh, and G. Zussman, “A learning-based method for generating synthetic power grids,” IEEE Systems Journal, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 625–634, Mar. 2019.

[download] [data set]

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S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “EXPOSE the line failures following a cyber-physical attack on the power grid,” IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 451–461, Mar. 2019.

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[1]
D. Kilper, K. Bergman, G. Zussman, and B. Birand, “Resilient optical networking, US Patent US10,158,447B2.” Dec-2018.
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R. Spiewak, S. Soltan, Y. Forman, S. Buldyrev, and G. Zussman, “A study of cascading failures in real and synthetic power grid topologies,” Network Science, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 448–468, Dec. 2018.

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[1]
H. Cetinay, S. Soltan, F. Kuipers, G. Zussman, and P. Van Mieghem, “Comparing the effects of failures in power grids under the AC and DC power flow models,” IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 301–312, Oct. 2018.

[download] [presentation] [code]

[1]
S. Soltan, M. Yannakakis, and G. Zussman, “REACT to cyber-physical attacks on power grids,” ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, Special issue from CINS’18, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 50–51, Sep. 2018.

[download] [presentation]

[1]
S. Soltan, A. Loh, and G. Zussman, “Analyzing and quantifying the effect of k-line failures in power grids,” IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 1424–1433, Sep. 2018.

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[1]
S. Soltan, M. Yannakakis, and G. Zussman, “Power grid state estimation following a joint cyber and physical attack,” IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 499–512, Mar. 2018.

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[1]
S. Soltan, A. Loh, and G. Zussman, “Columbia University Synthetic Power Grid with Geographical Coordinates.” Jan-2018.

https://doi.org/10.17041/drp/1471682 , [internal page]

[1]
H. Cetinay, S. Soltan, F. Kuipers, G. Zussman, and P. Van Mieghem, “Analyzing cascading failures in power grids under the AC and DC power flow models,” in Proc. IFIP Performance’17, 2017.

[download] [presentation] [code]

[1]
S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “Algorithms for power grid state estimation after cyber-physical attacks,” ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, Special issue from CINS’17, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 111–114, Sep. 2017.

[download] [presentation]

[1]
S. Soltan, “Computational and analytical tools for resilient and secure power grids,” Ph.D. Thesis, Columbia University, 2017.

[link]

[1]
S. Soltan, M. Yannakakis, and G. Zussman, “Theoretical approach to power grid islanding,” presented at the SIAM Workshop on Network Science, 2017.

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[1]
S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “Power grid state estimation after a cyber-physical attack under the AC power flow model,” in Proc. IEEE PES-GM’17, 2017.

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[1]
S. Soltan, D. Mazauric, and G. Zussman, “Analysis of failures in power grids,” IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 288–300, Jun. 2017.

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[1]
S. Soltan, M. Yannakakis, and G. Zussman, “Doubly balanced connected graph partitioning,” in Proc. ACM-SIAM SODA’17, 2017.

[download] [presentation]

[1]
S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “Generation of synthetic spatially embedded power grid networks,” in Proc. IEEE PES-GM’16, 2016.

[download] [datasets] [code]

[1]
S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “Quantifying the effect of k-line failures in power grids,” in Proc. IEEE PES-GM’16, 2016.

[download] [presentation] Selected as one of the best conference papers on power system modeling and analysis

[1]
S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “Evaluating the topological robustness of power grids to line failures,” in Poster description in SIAM Workshop on Network Science, 2016.

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[1]
S. Soltan, M. Yannakakis, and G. Zussman, “Joint cyber and physical attacks on power grids: Graph theoretical approaches for information recovery,” in Proc. ACM SIGMETRICS’15, 2015.

[download] [presentation]

[1]
S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “A Statistical Method for Synthetic Power Grid Generation based on the U.S. Western Interconnection,” presented at the SIAM Workshop on Network Science, 2015.

[download] [presentation]

[1]
S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “Analysis of failures in the power grid via the pseudo-inverse of the admittance matrix,” presented at the SIAM Workshop on Network Science, 2014.

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[1]
S. Soltan and G. Zussman, “Analysis of failures in the power grid via the pseudo-inverse of the admittance matrix,” presented at the SIAM Workshop on Network Science, 2014.

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[1]
D. Bienstock, G. Grebla, and G. Zussman, “Optimal control of cascading power grid failures with imperfect flow observations,” presented at the SIAM Workshop on Network Science, 2014.

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[1]
S. Soltan, D. Mazauric, and G. Zussman, “Cascading failures in power grids – Analysis and algorithms,” in Proc. ACM e-Energy’14, 2014.

[download] [presentation]

[1]
A. Bernstein, D. Bienstock, D. Hay, M. Uzunoglu, and G. Zussman, “Power grid vulnerability to geographically correlated failures - Analysis and control implications,” in Proc. IEEE INFOCOM’14, 2014.

[download] [presentation]

[1]
P. K. Agarwal, A. Efrat, S. K. Ganjugunte, D. Hay, S. Sankararaman, and G. Zussman, “The resilience of WDM networks to probabilistic geographical failures,” IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 1525–1538, Oct. 2013.

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[1]
D. Mazauric, S. Soltan, and G. Zussman, “Computational analysis of cascading failures in power networks,” in Poster description in Proc. ACM SIGMETRICS’13, 2013.

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[1]
A. Bernstein, D. Bienstock, D. Hay, M. Uzunoglu, and G. Zussman, “Sensitivity analysis of the power grid vulnerability to large-scale cascading failures,” ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 33–37, Dec. 2012.

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[1]
S. Neumayer, G. Zussman, R. Cohen, and E. Modiano, “Assessing the vulnerability of the fiber infrastructure to disasters,” IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 1610–1623, Dec. 2011.

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[1]
P. K. Agarwal, A. Efrat, S. Ganjugunte, D. Hay, S. Sankararaman, and G. Zussman, “The resilience of WDM networks to probabilistic geographical failures,” in Proc. IEEE INFOCOM’11, 2011.

[download] [Google Scholar]

[1]
P. K. Agarwal, A. Efrat, S. K. Ganjugunte, D. Hay, S. Sankararaman, and G. Zussman, “Network vulnerability to single, multiple, and probabilistic physical attacks,” in Proc. IEEE MILCOM’10, 2010.

[download] [Google Scholar]

[1]
S. Neumayer, G. Zussman, R. Cohen, and E. Modiano, “Assessing the vulnerability of the fiber infrastructure to disasters,” in Proc. IEEE INFOCOM’09, 2009.

[download] [Google Scholar]

[1]
S. Neumayer, G. Zussman, R. Cohen, and E. Modiano, “Assessing the impact of geographically correlated network failures,” in Proc. IEEE MILCOM’08, 2008.

[download] [Google Scholar]