Aranya Chakrabortty

University Faculty Scholar 2019

Electrical and Computer Engineering
FREEDM Systems Center
100-26 Keystone Bldg.
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695.      
Tel: 919-513-3529





My books

Brief Biography

1.       BE in Electrical Engineering, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India, 2004  

2.       Research Student, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, Summer 2003

3.       MS in Electrical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2005.

4.       PhD in Electrical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2008 (thesis advisors: Dr. Murat Arcak & Dr. Joe H. Chow)

5.       Postdoctoral Research Associate, Aeronautics & Astronautics Department, University of Washington, Seattle, 2008-2009

6.       Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Texas Tech University, 2009-2010

7.       Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, NC State University, 2010-2015

8.       NSF CAREER Award, 2011

9.       Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, NC State University, 2015-2020

10.   Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, NC State University, 2020-present

11.   Program Director, US National Science Foundation (NSF), 2020-present

My CV can be found here.


Click here for a list of my past and current graduate students


New Papers and Results

1.       New article on delay-aware sparse optimal control – Automatica 2020, Video link

2.       New article on reinforcement learning control of stochastic systems - LCSS

3.       New article on control of power systems with distributed energy resources - CSM

4.       Clustering and model-reduction-based wide-area control   – TCNS 2019

5.       Reinforcement learning control in power system – CDC18, ACC19, ACC19

6.       Graph Theory in power systems – IEEE Proc

7.       Distributed wide-area control of power systems using sparsity promoting methods–ACC1, ACC2

8.       Distributed optimization for wide-area oscillation monitoring –  TSG CPS 1, TSG CPS 2

9.       Experiments on wide-area monitoring and control using our Exo-GENI WAMS network testbed – paper 1, paper 2

10.    Microgrid Control using Solid-state transformers - TPWRS


            What’s Relatively New:

1.       Jan. 2021 – Best paper prize for IEEE Control System Magazine 2020

2.       April 2020 – ARPA-E grant on power system risk analysis (PERFORM)

3.       September 2019 – Two new NSF grants on CPS and Reinforcement Learning - link, link

4.       March 2019 – Selected as University Faculty Scholar - link

5.       Sep 2018 – NYPA Fellowship project on machine learning with PMU data

6.       Apr. 2018 – EPRI project on hierarchical frequency control

7.       Feb. 2018 – Co-organizing two workshops on Machine Learning & Control - NSF, ACC 2018

8.       Jan. 2018 – Editor for IEEE Transactions on Power Systems

9.       Sep. 2017 – Two new NSF EPCN grants – link 1, link 2








Research Interests

My research activities span all branches of control theory with applications to electric power systems. At NC State I am a part of the NSF FREEDM Systems Center, currently investigating several system and control-theoretic research problems for the US power grid using Wide-area Measurement Systems (WAMS), or Synchrophasor technology, its cyber-physical implementation via service-oriented wide-area communication networks, and its integration with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy. 

As of Fall 2020, I have graduated 10 PhD students and 3 postdocs, and currently supervise 4 PhDs and 1 postdoc. Some specific topics of research that my group is currently looking into are:

1. Reinforcement Learning based Wide-area Monitoring and Control – Adaptive and optimal strategies for wide-area control of power systems using PMU data under high levels of model uncertainties

2. Co-designing Wide-area Communications and Control – Cyber-physical challenges for wide-area communications, co-designing sparse controllers using information about network delays

3. Hierarchical Control of DERs – Multi-stage optimization and control of next-generation grid with millions of new control points from inverter-based distributed energy resources

4. Testbed Federation for Verification & Validation of WAMS Applications - Experimental verification of wide-area control algorithms via Exo-GENI WAMS network testbed developed recently at NC State

5. Localization and Mitigation of Cyber-attacks in Power Grids – Using algebraic graph-theory and game theory for developing algorithms that can localize and control manipulative cyber-attacks in power system networks

6. Optimization and Control of Power Distribution Systems – Over the past two years, my research has also broadened to new problems on dynamics, optimization and controls at distribution-level power systems arising due to integration of power electronic converters such as Solid State Transformers (SST), coupled with wind and solar generation. I am serving as a co-PI for the FREEDM Systems Modeling and Control (SMC) sub-thrust to explore these problems.


As the number of PMUs scales up into the thousands in the next few years under the US Department of Energy’s smart grid demonstration initiative, it is rather intuitive that the current state-of-the art centralized communication and information processing architecture of WAMS will no longer be sustainable, and a distributed cyber-physical architecture will need to be developed. Motivated by this challenge, over the past year my group in collaboration with the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) of UNC Chapel Hill have developed a wide-area communication testbed, referred to as the ExoGENI-WAMS testbed at the FREEDM Systems Center. The testbed has been recently federated with the DETER testbed of Information Sciences Institute at University of Southern California as a part of the Smart America Initiative of NIST. The testbed consists of two layers:

1. A hardware-in-loop set-up consisting of Real-time Digital Simulators (RTDS) integrated with multi-vendor PMUs

2. A cloud-based multi-port, multi-user ExoGENI+DETER network that can transport PMU data from the RTDS to a network of virtual PDCs (phasor data concentrators), and execute distributed monitoring and control algorithms in real-time.

ExoGENI allows users to create custom topologies using resources from multiple federated providers via a control and management software called the Open Resource Control Architecture (ORCA) to orchestrate the networked cloud resource provisioning. It showcases the fact that the current design practice based on the centralized servers and IP-based Internet architecture is not an economical and efficient solution to satisfy the real-time requirement of processing large volumes of Synchrophasor data. Instead, an IaaS based solution is much more practical. ExoGENI service allows dynamic provisioning of virtual machines of different CPU and memory capacities with customized software images. With this capability, the WAMS communication network can automatically request for the right virtual machine to run the best real-time algorithm – eg. distributed oscillation monitoring, state estimation and wide-area controls. Connection to DETER, on the other hand, allows us to carry out diverse cyber-security related experiments on wide-area monitoring and control loops.


Check out a concept paper for this testbed, presented at CPS Week in Seattle, WA, Apr. 2015.


The project is funded partly by the US Department of Energy, NSF CPS grant, and ABB Corporate Research.

Check out some links on ExoGENI-WAMS:

1.       Distributed Wide-area Oscillation Monitoring using ExoGENI and Software Defined Networks

2.       Wide-area control using software-defined networks  

3.       Constructing attack-resilient communication topologies via a federation of RTDS-WAMS testbed and DETER-lab (collaboration with Univ of Southern California)

4.       Demonstration at the US Ignite Event in summer 2013

5.       Check out the report for creating dynamic network topologies in ExoGENI integrated with RTDS and PMUs

An introductory research brochure for my PhasorLab, featuring several recently procured PMUs, can be found here.



Please click here for a full list of my publications.

Some Poster and Powerpoint presentations about my work on phasor measurements can be found at the following links:

Wide-area Control with Cloud-in-the Loop, US Ignite, Austin 2016
SVC-based Wide-Area Control Design, IEEE PES General Meeting 2015
Decoy Algorithms for Eavesdropping Attack Detection in Power Systems, NC State Undergraduate Symposium, 2014
New posters on
localization by Tom
Synchrophasor Research at FREEDM Systems Center, FREEDM Annual Site Visit, 2012



NC State University:

1. ECE 451: Power Systems Analysis – Fall 2012, 2013
2. ECE 736: Power Systems Stability and Control – Spring 2013 - present
3. ECE 726: Advanced Feedback Control (Optimal Control) – Fall 2014 – present (odd years)
4. ECE 792: Adaptive Control & Reinforcement Learning – Fall 2018 – present (even years) – Course flyer
5. ECE 436: Digital Control Systems – Spring 2019

Texas Tech University:

1. Power Systems Dynamics and Stability – Fall 2009
2. Wind Power System Modeling and Simulation – Spring 2010


Professional Activities:

·         Committee member for IEEE CSS and CS Smart Grid Vision documentation.

·         Editor for IEEE Transactions on Power System (2018- present)

·         Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Control System Technology (2016-present)

·         Associate Editor for IEEE Control System Society Conference Editorial Board (2013-present)


·         Conference TPC or Operating Committee member for:

1.       Vice-President for Invited Sessions – American Control Conference 2019, Philadelphia

2.       Vice-President for Industry Applications – American Control Conference 2016, Boston

3.       International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS, CPS Week) 2018, 2017, 2016, 2013

4.       IEEE GlobalSip 2016, 2015 - Symposium on Signal and Information Processing for Optimizing Future Energy Systems

5.       TPC Chair for Smart Grid Control Workshop at WiSATS 2015, Bradford, UK, 2015.

6.       IEEE Conference on Smart Grid Communications (Smartgridcomm) 2012-2013

7.       American Control Conference -  2013, 2015, 2020

8.       2nd IEEE INFOCOM Workshop on Communications and Control for Smart Energy Systems, 2013

9.       Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems, Euromicro Conference on Digital System Design (DSD), 2013


·         Journal Reviewer for Automatica (Elsevier), IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, IEEE Transactions on Smart Grids, IEEE Transactions on Control and Network Systems, IEEE Power Electronics Letters, Journal of Process Control (Elsevier), Control Engineering Practice, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (Elsevier),  Mathematical Problems in Engineering, SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization, IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems, etc.


·         Conference Reviewer for: IEEE Conference on Decision and Control,  American Control Conference, IEEE MSC, IEEE PES General Meeting, IEEE ISGT, IEEE T&D Conference, IEEE Smartgridcomm, European Control Conference, IEEE Powertech, AIAA Conference on Guidance, Navigation and Control  


·         Senior Member of IEEE, IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS), IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES).



IEEE Explore, Sciencedirect, NASPI, FNET, IEEE PES, SAMSI, NSF, Phase-plane diagrams for nonlinear systems