College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

EPRC Student Scoop: Yuxuan Yuan improves data analysis

Third-year Iowa State University electrical and computer engineering (ECpE) Ph.D. student Yuxuan Yuan has dedicated his research to working to improve the efficiency of the analysis and application of data to power systems. Yuan does this by taking data collected by government and power utility companies, and finding new ways to more effectively interpret it. Yuan says this process will lead to more effective power systems.

“All my projects are related to the data, one of the most valuable things in this era,” Yuan said. “To obtain the data, massive funds are spent by the government and power utilities to install expensive measurement devices. However, they face a critical issue: how to efficiently utilize these data to further improve power systems. I and my colleagues try to solve this issue by leveraging the statistical tools and recent machine learning techniques.”

Yuan has been at ISU for seven years. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in fall 2017, Yuan went on to begin his Ph.D. program in spring 2018. During his time at ISU, Yuan said he has found valuable support from ECpE faculty.

“My main professor is Dr. Zhaoyu Wang, and I also work with Dr. Ian Dobson,” Yuan said. “We have a good relationship with each other. Even though the two professors are very busy, we have periodic meetings to discuss and exchange ideas, which is helpful for my research. Moreover, I have received a lot of valuable suggestions from them for my future professional career.”

Yuan is currently working on two Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored projects. The first project is titled “Robust Real-Time Modeling of Distribution Systems with Data-Driven Grid-Wise Observability.” In this project, Yuan and his colleagues are working to improve the observability of secondary electric distribution systems for the purpose of real-time monitoring, in order to enable higher penetration levels of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs).

The second project is titled “Robust Learning of Dynamic Interactions for Enhancing Power System Resilience.” In this project Yuan and his colleagues are working to leverage robust graphical learning and Phasor Measurement Unit data to learn the dynamic interactions of electrical grid components in order to improve the power system resilience. Yuan said the projects are important because they provide crucial data to improve power systems.

“The most interesting thing about these projects is that they provide massive data from real-world systems and are designed to provide algorithms that can mine the value of data as much as possible to help the real-time monitoring and control of power systems,” Yuan said.

Through his work, Yuan often works with the Electric Power Research Center (EPRC) at ISU. Yuan said one of his favorite parts of working with the EPRC is the ability to collaborate and network with real industry professionals.

“My favorite part of working with [the] EPRC is that I have a chance to communicate with a lot of experts in different power areas,” Yuan said. “These experiences help me to improve my knowledge. Moreover,  [the] EPRC provides a unique opportunity for connecting our academic research to the industry members, which makes our works more practical and valuable.”

Yuan said by working with these professionals as well as with the EPRC, he has received a lot of insightful advice.

“Over the past six years, I have received a lot of valuable and professional suggestions from people in EPRC and Iowa State,” Yuan said. “One of the most important suggestions was from Dr. Anne Kimber, Director of the EPRC and my senior design project advisor. She encouraged me to continue studying when I was a senior.”