Symphony - a Distributed Smart Grid Experiment Platform

by dr. Zulkuf Genc, dr. Michel Oey and prof. dr. Frances Brazier

The Smart Grid, as an automated and distributed energy network, offers viable solutions to the challenges that electricity networks in many countries face, such as integration of renewable energy sources, managing peak demands, and increasing security and environmental concerns. 
Multi-agent systems provide a means for distributed moitoring, processing and planning. 
For example, software agents running on customer premises or embedded in appliances and equipment can be used to plan future energy consumption and to shift loads according to pre-defined constraints. 
However, testing such distributed solutions prior to actual deployment in domestic households is a challenge.  
Centralized simulations may not capture all the aspects of distributed, large-scale, complex environments, such as one can find in the Smart Grid.
Symphony is a multi-agent distributed experiment platform that supports real-world Smart Grid experiments within a distributed environment with the participation of both simulated and real-world actors. 
Symphony takes care of interconnection and security issues so that actors in different physical locations can safely join distributed experiments. 
The flexible infrastructure provided by Symphony connects participants to distributed services. 
These participants can use the platform, for example, to experiment with pricing and load balancing.
Symphony is being developed and deployed in the context of two European Institute for Innovation and Technology projects across Europe: SES European Virtual Smart Grid Lab (11814) and Open SES.

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