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ERE Seminar: Tomas Tinoco De Rubira (Power Systems Laboratory of ETH Zurich) - "Stochastic Hybrid Approximation Algorithms and Applications to Power Generation Dispatch"

Date and Time: 
February 27, 2017 - 12:30pm to 1:20pm
Room 104, Green Earth Sciences Building, 367 Panama Street, Stanford
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Event Sponsor: 
Energy Resources Engineering

Tomas Tinoco De Rubira  | Power Systems Laboratory of ETH Zurich
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

"Stochastic Hybrid Approximation Algorithms and Applications to Power Generation Dispatch"

In many important applications, including power system operations planning, optimization problems arise where decisions need to be made in the presence of uncertainty. Solving these problems is in general a challenging task due to the computational complexity of evaluating the functions that account for the uncertainty. Typical approaches for solving problems of this type either work with deterministic approximations or with noisy versions of these functions. As a result, they either suffer from an increased problem size or from high susceptibility to noise. In this talk, I present a different approach called stochastic hybrid approximation that aims to reduce these limitations by using manageable deterministic approximations that are gradually updated using noisy observations. I begin by describing the approach, its properties, and its performance on a two-stage stochastic optimal generator dispatch problem. Then, I describe a primal-dual extension of this approach for handling expected value constraints, which are useful for bounding risk. Lastly, I show how the approach can be extended to handle multi-stage stochastic optimization problems, which can capture complex decision-making processes under uncertainty. For both of these extensions, I show experimental results that compare the performance of these approaches against that of widely-used approaches on different versions of the stochastic optimal generator dispatch problem.

Tomas received the B.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California Berkeley in 2008, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2011 and 2015, respectively. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Power Systems Laboratory of ETH Zurich. His research consists on developing and applying mathematical optimization techniques for solving challenging problems, such as enabling large-scale integration of renewable energy in electric power grids. His employment experience includes Aurora Solar and the Electric Power Research Institute.