The Genesis of the August 14th 2003 Blackout: The Grid, Math, Humans, and Trees

Presented By:
Tom Overbye, TCIPG, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Date and Location:
Friday, March 4, 2011 - 1:00pm
NCSA Auditorium | Webcast
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The August 14th 2003 Blackout was a watershed moment for North American electric utilities. As the blackout moves further into history there is a danger that the new crop of engineers will miss out on many of the lessons learned from this event. Therefore this presentation takes us back to August 14th 2003, showing how a variety of events involving the grid, math, humans, and trees interacted to cause the largest blackout in North American history.


Tom Overbye is the Fox Family Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983, 1988, and 1991 respectively. Prior to joining UIUC in 1991 he was employed with Madison Gas and Electric Company from 1983 to 1991. At UIUC he does research in power system operations, visualization, dynamics, and cyber security. He had the opportunity to serve as an on-site investigator for DOE during the August 14th 2003 Blackout Investigation.

Seminar Status:
About the TCIPG Seminar Series:

The seminar series is presented by the Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG) Project, an $18 million multi-university research effort whose partner institutions include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State University, Dartmouth, and Washington State University. The TCIPG Project, a successor to the earlier NSF-funded TCIP Center, was founded in 2009 with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is housed in the Information Trust Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.