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The stability of the electric power grid is crucial to every nation's security and well-being. As revealed by a number of large-scale blackout incidents in North America, the data communication infrastructure for power grid is in urgent need of transformation to modern technology. It has been shown by extensive research work that such blackout could have been avoided if there were more prompt information sharing and coordination among the power grid monitoring and control systems. In this paper, we point out the need for Byzantine fault tolerance and investigate the feasibility of applying Byzantine fault tolerance technology to ensure high degree of reliability and security of power grid monitoring and control. Our empirical study demonstrated that Byzantine fault tolerant monitoring and control can easily sustain the 60 Hz sampling rate needed for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) operations with sub-millisecond response time under the local-area network environment. Byzantine fault tolerant monitoring and control is also feasible under the wide-area network environment for power grid applications that demand sub-second reaction time.
Date of Conference: 29-31 July 2008