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Electrical Engineering Team Wins Top Research Award

Dr. Kevin Wedeward presents at the International Conference on Electrical Engineering and Applications.

Dr. Kevin Wedeward receives a certificate for his conference presentation. The Tech team later learned they won the top award.

SOCORRO, N.M. February 2, 2015 - A New Mexico Tech professor and two former students won the top award at an international conference for their electrical engineering paper.

The winning paper is titled "Parameter Estimation for Inventory of Load Models in Electric Power Systems" and was co-authored by Amit Patel, Dr. Kevin Wedeward and Michael Smith. They won Best Paper Award of the International Conference on Electrical Engineering and Applications 2014.

Amit Patel and Michael Smith received their master's in electrical engineering from New Mexico Tech in 2008. Patel works at Accenture. Smith is the associate director of the Institute for Complex Additive Systems Analysis at Tech. Wedeward is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Patel and Smith both earned bachelor's in electrical engineering at the University of New Mexico, then came to Socorro to complete their master's with Wedeward.

Wedeward said the paper examines the behavior of large-scale power systems, like large buildings, neighborhoods or cities. The models take into account various different loads that can be present - from lights and computers to motors of various sizes.

"We're trying to make a catalog of devices that could exist inside a set of users," Wedeward said. "Our research is to take measurements at the line that supplies power to a building or town and characterize what sort of users of power exist inside a facility. Once you know the distribution of use, you can incorporate that into planning studies for a building or a part of town."

The sort of models devised by the Tech team can determine how power is being used and how loads vary over time.

The project successfully provides a means to monitor different types of loads in a system - resistant or reactive loads, Smith said.

"A power company - if they had these models - would be able to characterize loads in their control area by monitoring the way consumers use power," he said. "This estimation approach helps the power engineering community capture the behavior of the electric power grid."

Smith and Wedeward both said they were surprised to win the award.

"I thought it was a pretty good paper - that's always what you think when you submit it - but I had no idea we'd get this award," Wedeward said.

Smith gave much of the credit to Wedeward.

"I was pretty surprised, but really happy for Kevin," he said. "Amit did his thesis on this topic, but Kevin turned it into a journal paper, shortened it and wrote a really nice paper. He works hard and he deserves it."

- NMT -

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech