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This paper evaluates the performance of two operational wide area monitoring algorithms: Kalman filter and Prony analysis. The main purpose of both techniques is to detect poorly damped oscillations and alert system operators. A brief revisit of Kalman filter and Prony analysis is presented as a background before subsequent analytical assessments are done. In addition, several criteria are identified to compare both procedures under various scenarios. Finally, comments on merits and applicability of each method are summarized.