Marija Ilic

Marija Ilic

Adjunct Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Senior Research Scientist at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, MIT

Marija Ilić is a Professor Emerita at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). She currently holds a joint appointment of an Adjunct Professor in the EECS Department and of a Senior Research Scientist at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is an IEEE Life Fellow and an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering, and the Academia Europaea.  She was the first recipient of the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award for Power Systems in the US. She has co-authored several books on the subject of large-scale electric power systems and has co-organized an annual multidisciplinary Electricity Industry conference series at Carnegie Mellon ( with participants from academia, government, and industry.  She was the founder and co-director of the Electric Energy Systems Group  (EESG) at Carnegie Mellon University (  Currently she is building EESG@MIT , in the same spirit as EESG@CMU. Most recently she has offered an open EdX and permanent course at MIT entitled “Principles of Modeling, Simulations and Control in Electric Energy Systems”.  She is founder and chief scientist at New Electricity Transmission Solutions (NETSS), Inc, currently SmartGridz, Inc LinkedIn:


Title: The key role of control of changing electric energy systems in supporting reliable and cost-effective decarbonization: Huge challenge and opportunity to innovations of complex dynamical systems

The Social Ecological Systems (SES), electric energy systems in particular, are undergoing deep historic technological, economic, and environmental transformation. While much progress has been made in designing their components such as distributed energy resources (DERs), smart wires and flexible demand, systematic integration frameworks for their integration protocols are largely missing. Depending on the parts of the world, the implications of this state-of-industry and theoretical state-of-the-art are different and SES-dependent. Common problems are that integration of clean renewable generation is slow, and their utilization is quite inefficient because of possible operational problems, such as stability and failure to ensure feasible equilibria; distribution and microgrid development is project specific, slow, and often requires over-design. There is too much hope that fast storage would solve the problems. In this talk we take a step back and briefly summarize today’s operating/planning industry practices and stress the implied assumptions which effectively represent roadblocks to moving forward. We do this by viewing the operation and planning of these man-made systems from the modeling, control, and computing viewpoint. We then present our new modular multi-layered modeling and control of interaction variables characterizing subsystems in terms of energy, power, and rate of change of power. We illustrate how complexity can be managed using Dynamic Monitoring and Decision Systems (DyMonDS) framework which provides interactive information exchange within otherwise very complex systems. Innovation in subsystems controllers is needed to ensure feasible and robust alignment of interactions and cooperation among often conflicting subsystems so that their sub-objectives are as close to the SES objectives as possible.  We claim that this framework is a natural outgrowth of Automatic Generation Control (AGC) and that it is necessary for moving forward and supporting sustainable decarbonization.