Published: Feb. 21, 2020

A team from CU Boulder, led by Assistant Professor Kyri Baker, has placed in the top 10 of the ARPA-E Grid Optimization (GO) Competition

The team developed a lightweight optimization algorithm that could optimize power genProfessor Kyri Bakereration settings across large power networks while adhering to physical grid constraints. For being one of the top performers in the competition, the team will receive a $400,000 award.

The “Tartan Buffs” team included CU Boulder postdoctoral researcher Mohammadhafez Bazrafshan, student Kaitlyn Garifi, and Javad Mohammadi, a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Baker’s research and teaching focuses on building systems engineering and civil systems, including power systems, smart grid, renewable energy, building-to-grid optimization, and stochastic and distributed optimization.

“I am so proud of our team and all of the hard work we've put into our entry in the past year,” she said. “I consider this a very important problem, and ARPA-E's motto, ‘If it works, will it matter?’ has influenced me to take my research in directions that can help this complex system deal with more renewable generation.”

The GO Competition is a year-long competition aimed at overhauling and modernizing grid software structured as multiple challenges. The competition incentivizes entrepreneurial efforts to help the grid operate more efficiently and securely. The algorithms and software solutions submitted to the GO Competition supplement ARPA-E efforts to break down barriers to empower widespread, fast adoption of emerging grid technologies with the goal of saving billions of dollars in the energy sector.