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INESC TEC team wins world contest once again

Leonel Carvalho, researcher at the Centre for Power and Energy (CPES) of INESC TEC, and Vladimiro Miranda, member of INESC TEC’s board, won once more an international competition organised by the biggest professional association in the world, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The competition, entitled “Application of Modern Heuristic Optimization Algorithms for Solving Optimal Power Flow Problems”, aimed to select the best algorithms for solving optimization problems of a demanding, complex, discrete and non-linear nature, within the scope of controlling and operating electrical networks and systems using meta-heuristics.

These two researchers had already won the previous edition of this competition, which challenges teams worldwide, in 2014. Back then, Leonel Carvalho and Vladimiro Miranda presented an improved version of EPSO – Evolutionary Particle Swarm Optimization, created in INESC TEC. In the previous competition, researchers used an algorithm originally developed by Vladimiro Miranda in INESC TEC, which was published in 2002 at the World Conference on Computational Intelligence of IEEE to solve the proposed exercise.

Now, three years later, the Power & Energy Society of IEEE organised a new contest, under the theme “Evaluating the Performance of Modern Heuristic Optimizers on Smart Grid Operation Problems”, and the duo, reinforced by Jean Sumaili from INESC TEC and with the cooperation of Armando Leite da Silva, Carolina Marcelino and Elisabeth Wanner from Brazil, dominated once again.

The competition had the participation of over 30 teams, coming from research centres and universities all over the world, and it was divided into two categories: one, larger, named Stochastic OPF Based Active‐Reactive Power Dispatch, with six optimization problems, and another, named Optimal Scheduling of Distributed Energy Resources, with only two problems.

The algorithm that proved to have the best performance in the first category was the one from the Portuguese researchers and, therefore, it was declared the winner. It consists of a hybrid based on EPSO, complemented by a process of Cross Entropy. In the other category, the Portuguese also achieved a place on the podium by taking third place. The icing on the cake is that, in the top five of both categories, there were always three contestants whose submission used variables of the EPSO that the Portuguese team had presented in 2014, demonstrating how the methodology originally created in Portugal is being adopted all over the world.

This EPSO concept, originally proposed in 2002, forms the basis for some of the technological solutions that INESC TEC has implemented in companies of the electrical sector, for example, in the  distribution network control of the Attica region (Athens) in Greece.

The results, which highly distinguish INESC TEC, FEUP and the University of Porto, were announced during the General Meeting of IEEE PES, in a session that took place on the 17th July in Chicago, United States. CPES’s researcher Leonel Carvalho publicly presented the winning approach and received the diploma from the hands of the organisation managers.


The researchers of INESC TEC mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UP-FEUP.

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