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In Energy Management Systems, contingency analysis is commonly performed for identifying and mitigating potentially harmful power grid component failures. The exponentially increasing combinatorial number of failure modes imposes a significant computational burden for massive contingency analysis. It is critical to select a limited set of high-impact contingency cases within the constraint of computing power and time requirements to make it possible for real-time power system vulnerability assessment. In this paper, we present a novel application of parallel betweenness centrality to power grid contingency selection. We cross-validate the proposed method using the model and data of the western US power grid, and implement it on a Cray XMT system - a massively multithreaded architecture - leveraging its advantages for parallel execution of irregular algorithms, such as graph analysis. We achieve a speedup of 55 times (on 64 processors) compared against the single-processor version of the same code running on the Cray XMT. We also compare an OpenMP-based version of the same code running on an HP Superdome shared-memory machine. The performance of the Cray XMT code shows better scalability and resource utilization, and shorter execution time for large-scale power grids. This proposed approach has been evaluated in PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center (EIOC). It is expected to provide a quick and efficient solution to massive contingency selection problems to help power grid operators to identify and mitigate potential widespread cascading power grid failures in real time.
Date of Conference: 19-23 April 2010