TY - JOUR

T1 - A decentralized mechanism for improving the functional robustness of distribution networks

AU - SHI, Benyun

AU - LIU, Jiming

N1 - Funding Information:
Manuscript received June 15, 2011; revised January 4, 2012; accepted March 12, 2012. Date of publication April 25, 2012; date of current version September 12, 2012. The research reported in this paper has been supported in part by a Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC) Grant (210508) and in part by a Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Faculty Research Grant (FRG2/10-11/110). Prof. Jiming Liu is the corresponding author of this paper. This paper was recommended by Associate Editor T. Vasilakos.

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Most real-world distribution systems can be modeled as distribution networks, where a commodity can flow from source nodes to sink nodes through junction nodes. One of the fundamental characteristics of distribution networks is the functional robustness, which reflects the ability of maintaining its function in the face of internal or external disruptions. In view of the fact that most distribution networks do not have any centralized control mechanisms, we consider the problem of how to improve the functional robustness in a decentralized way. To achieve this goal, we study two important problems: 1) how to formally measure the functional robustness, and 2) how to improve the functional robustness of a network based on the local interaction of its nodes. First, we derive a utility function in terms of network entropy to characterize the functional robustness of a distribution network. Second, we propose a decentralized network pricing mechanism, where each node need only communicate with its distribution neighbors by sending a price signal to its upstream neighbors and receiving price signals from its downstream neighbors. By doing so, each node can determine its outflows by maximizing its own payoff function. Our mathematical analysis shows that the decentralized pricing mechanism can produce results equivalent to those of an ideal centralized maximization with complete information. Finally, to demonstrate the properties of our mechanism, we carry out a case study on the U.S. natural gas distribution network. The results validate the convergence and effectiveness of our mechanism when comparing it with an existing algorithm.

AB - Most real-world distribution systems can be modeled as distribution networks, where a commodity can flow from source nodes to sink nodes through junction nodes. One of the fundamental characteristics of distribution networks is the functional robustness, which reflects the ability of maintaining its function in the face of internal or external disruptions. In view of the fact that most distribution networks do not have any centralized control mechanisms, we consider the problem of how to improve the functional robustness in a decentralized way. To achieve this goal, we study two important problems: 1) how to formally measure the functional robustness, and 2) how to improve the functional robustness of a network based on the local interaction of its nodes. First, we derive a utility function in terms of network entropy to characterize the functional robustness of a distribution network. Second, we propose a decentralized network pricing mechanism, where each node need only communicate with its distribution neighbors by sending a price signal to its upstream neighbors and receiving price signals from its downstream neighbors. By doing so, each node can determine its outflows by maximizing its own payoff function. Our mathematical analysis shows that the decentralized pricing mechanism can produce results equivalent to those of an ideal centralized maximization with complete information. Finally, to demonstrate the properties of our mechanism, we carry out a case study on the U.S. natural gas distribution network. The results validate the convergence and effectiveness of our mechanism when comparing it with an existing algorithm.

KW - Distribution networks

KW - network entropy

KW - pricing mechanism

KW - robustness

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84866521358&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1109/TSMCB.2012.2191774

DO - 10.1109/TSMCB.2012.2191774

M3 - Article

C2 - 22547458

AN - SCOPUS:84866521358

SN - 1083-4419

VL - 42

SP - 1369

EP - 1382

JO - IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics

JF - IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics

IS - 5

M1 - 6189802

ER -