Technologies developed by electrical engineers have enriched our lives in countless ways and revolutionized our daily environment. Electrical engineers gave the world the internet, telephone, satellite and TV networks along with power distribution networks. Electrical engineers develop new pacemakers for ailing hearts, ultrasonic diagnostic devices for detection of tumours, and NMR machines. They provide secure and reliable communication to expeditions in remote and dangerous locations and to astronauts in space. They are responsible for numerous household and personal items, from your smartphone, electronic wristwatch to your iPod. Electrical engineers work in multimedia, telecommunications, electric power, signal processing and control. They work with physicians on new diagnostic devices and with urban planners on new efficient vehicles. Their work makes our lives more interesting, effective and safe and increases our productivity and standard of living. Electrical engineering is grounded in mathematics and sciences. More than 23 full-time PhD research-active faculty members in all areas of EE with research labs in 9 clusters.
In a world increasingly reliant on electricity, power outages can…
In a world increasingly reliant on electricity, power outages can bring daily life to a grinding halt. However, an innovative research by Chaudhry Talha Hassan and Dr Tariq Muhammad Jadoon from the Department of Electrical Engineering significantly accelerated the restoration of electric power after a major blackout by improving the resilience of smart grids. These grids integrate many distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar panels, wind turbines and energy storage systems.
Shortly, after the study's publication in IEEE Xplore in August 2023, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Lahore experienced a power outage due to alleged mismanagement, forcing doctors to use torchlight to complete their procedures. A similar incident had occurred at Services Hospital Lahore less than a month earlier, impeding patient care. More recently, during the Sindh flash floods, the preservation of the Guddu power station played a crucial role in preventing a blackout that could have impacted 25% of Pakistan's population. These recurrent incidents underscore the timeliness of this research, where critical loads in a distribution feeder can be restored by harnessing power from neighboring DERs considering the power network as a cyber-physical power system.
When an entire city or neighborhood experiences an abrupt power loss, the urgency to restore electricity to critical facilities such as hospitals and emergency services is paramount. Bulk power distribution networks typically have a limited number of switchable lines and loads. This limitation can make it challenging to restore power, particularly in situations where many inductive loads are switched on simultaneously.
This is where the innovative concept of "microgrids" comes into play. The researchers have proposed the creation of these smaller, self-sustaining power networks that can swiftly bring power back to affected areas. Unlike the conventional top-to-bottom approach, the research emphasizes harnessing smart grids, using communication tech, reconfiguring networks, and integrating DERs. This ensures the rapid restoration of power to critical loads while addressing challenges like frequency control and practical factors such as switch types and communication constraints.
Inverter-dominated smart grids face unique challenges related to dynamic stability and lower inertia. The research introduces a multi-layered framework that integrates cyber-networks into the restoration process. It also emphasises the importance of monitoring the health of energy storage systems, ensuring safe charging and discharging strategies, and imposing constraints on frequency and voltage to maintain grid stability.
Moreover, the act of restoring power can sometimes introduce problems like system overload. To mitigate these potential issues, the study incorporates dynamic stability constraints into the restoration process, ensuring that the system remains stable even during the reconnection of numerous power sources.
To validate their concepts, the researchers employed computer simulations. These simulations create a virtual representation of the power system, allowing the team to experiment with different strategies without affecting the actual electricity supply.
The research sheds light on the crucial role of synchronous generators as black-start distributed generators (DGs) for service restoration. Unlike renewable energy sources, high-inertia diesel generators can provide reliable power during emergencies. By including backup generators (BUGs) as dispatchable DGs in microgrids, the research demonstrates an innovative approach to harnessing power from non-dispatchable sources, enhancing microgrid stability, and expanding coverage.
Talha's research promises a more efficient and resilient future for power restoration. By harnessing the power of microgrids and cyber-physical systems, this approach promises to revolutionise how we think about restoring electricity in the face of adversity. As our world increasingly relies on electricity, innovations like these are essential for ensuring that the lights stay on even when the grid faces its darkest hours.
Huzaifa Rauf, a brilliant PhD scholar from the Department of…
Huzaifa Rauf, a brilliant PhD scholar from the Department of Electrical Engineering, has within a year earned two significant accolades - the prestigious “Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) at the University of Maryland Awards” for his outstanding performance and lasting contribution on “Safe Energy Storage Research”, and the publication of his research paper in the renowned Elsevier’s “Journal for Energy Storage”.
The rise and widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in recent decades has been primarily fueled by advancements in battery and power technologies and the urgent need to curb greenhouse gas emissions. However, unlike traditional fuel-driven vehicles, EVs face a significant challenge—the degradation of their batteries—which limits their overall lifespan. This issue is particularly concerning considering the resource-intensive nature of battery production, as short-lived batteries have an unintended adverse effect on the environment. Recognising this critical problem, Huzaifa is actively involved in a research group at SSE, LUMS Energy Institute, dedicated to enhancing the area of renewable energy analytics, smart grids, and energy efficiency.
During Huzaifa’s time as a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland, he worked under the supervision of Prof Michael Pecht (member SBASSE advisory board) and Dr Michael David Osterman at CALCE. His dedication and expertise in applying AI and machine learning for reliability improvement in electric vehicle batteries were instrumental in earning him the CALCE award, making him the first visiting PhD from any country to receive this prestigious honour from the Centre. As part of the award, Huzaifa also received a funding grant of $5,000, acknowledging his exceptional research accomplishments.
“Having worked at the initial phase of the battery degradation, swelling and thermal runaway project, I am confident that this stream is going to make a significant impact in domain of energy storage.” Huzaifa expressed great enthusiasm for having his work recognised.
In addition to the research award, Huzaifa has also published a paper titled "A Novel Smart Feature Selection Strategy of Lithium-ion Battery Degradation Modelling for Electric Vehicles Based on Modern Machine Learning Algorithms", under the supervision of Dr Naveed Arshad, founder LUMS Energy Institute.
The paper highlights the importance of accurately predicting battery capacity loss to ensure the batteries' longevity, safety, and reliable operation. To achieve this, the researchers propose a smart feature selection (SFS) strategy-based machine learning framework. The SFS method selects relevant input parameters from battery data from the current and previous time steps, which are then utilized for model training and testing.
The results demonstrate that the proposed SFS method, in combination with various machine learning algorithms, significantly enhances the prediction accuracy and reduces the mean absolute error for battery capacity loss. The paper also emphasizes the importance of predicting a battery calendar, the degradation of a battery’s life over time whether or not it’s used, and cyclic loss, the gradual decrease in battery capacity caused by repeated charge and discharge cycles. Furthermore, it showcases the improved performance achieved by combining the SFS method with machine learning algorithms such as Gaussian Process Regression (GPR), random forest (RF), and XGBoost. This research presents a novel approach to feature selection-based machine learning for independently predicting battery calendar and cyclic loss, making it a valuable contribution to the field.
The publication highlights Huzaifa’s innovative approach to selecting smart features in modelling lithium-ion battery degradation, which has significant implications for electric vehicle performance and longevity. The research paper stands as a testament to his commitment to advancing the field of safe energy storage.
As summer approaches, high temperatures in Pakistan bring a host of…
As summer approaches, high temperatures in Pakistan bring a host of challenges beyond the physical discomfort of the heat. With frequent power outages plaguing the country’s energy grid, keeping cool and comfortable can be a struggle. Pakistan, like many other countries, is turning to renewable energy like rooftop solar panels and net metering to power homes and businesses. However, unlike technologically advanced countries, Pakistan does not have a distribution management system (DMS) to handle the influx of renewable energy from rooftop solar panels.
Dr Raheel Zafar, Assistant Professor from the Department of Electrical Engineering at LUMS, is working on solutions to help manage energy grids more efficiently and reliably, not only for Pakistan but globally. In 2023, he published two papers in IEEE Access, one as the first author of an international collaboration and the other one with his research assistant as the corresponding author. We will take a closer look at another one of Dr Raheel’s recently published papers in the reputed research journal, IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy titled Multi-Timescale Coordinated Control with Optimal Network Reconfiguration using Battery Storage Systems in Smart Distribution Grids
The paper proposes a new optimization framework to improve the performance of power distribution networks, which are responsible for bringing electricity from the transmission system to consumers. While the framework was developed by Dr Raheel, the co-author Dr Hemanshu R. Pota, Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales Canberra in Australia, provided valuable input during the structuring and revision stages of the article.
The paper deals with feeder reconfiguration, which involves changing the network’s topology by opening and closing switches to modify the connections between parts of the network. Dr Raheel proposes the co-optimization of feeder reconfiguration, creating a plan to schedule the use of (1) traditional voltage regulating devices, such as the on-load tap changer (OLTCs), to regulate the voltage of the traditional power grid, and (2) utility-scale distributed energy resources like battery energy storage systems and photovoltaic (solar energy) inverter.
To determine the optimal coordination between these different sources of power, Dr Raheel used a mathematical model called “mixed-integer second-order cone program”. This was solved using the GAMS software, an abbreviation for General Algebraic Modeling System, to find the best solution for the power grid, or “global optimum”, by exploring possible solutions and identifying the combinations that produce the best outcomes. Furthermore, the feasibility of the solution was tested using the Distribution System Simulator (OpenDSS) software. The model calculated an optimal switching plan on a daily basis, using 20-minute intervals for batteries and photovoltaic inverters, and hourly intervals for OLTCs.
Through this model, Dr Raheel was able to reduce energy losses by a staggering 24,1% and improve load balancing by 25%, compared to the current fixed topology system. The model could be used for day-ahead scheduling, making it a promising solution for optimizing power distribution.
Over the past decade, huge progress has been made in the development…
Over the past decade, huge progress has been made in the development of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), also known as self-driving or driverless cars. But it is still too early to sit back and nap - you can take your hands off the wheel but you still need to have your eyes on the road. The AVs currently out on the roads are only partially automated, meaning they require human oversight to work safely.
As most of the communication on AV networks take place through wireless communication links, there is an inherent risk of the technology being hacked for malicious purposes. This is why securing the network is key for AVs to deliver on their promise of being safer than traditional cars. Compromised security can cause casualties which may have fatal outcomes. Ali Hussain Khan, Dr Naveed Ul Hassan and Dr Zartash Afzal Uzmi from the Department of Electrical Engineering at LUMS, and Dr Chuadhry Mujeeb Ahmed from University of Strathclyde have published a research article to address the security issues associated with this vulnerable technology. The research proposes and tests an authentication framework based on blockchain technology, termed Proof-of-Communication-Capability (PoCC), which acts as a defence mechanism in wireless networks against malicious actors pretending to be valid communication devices. This type of hacking attack is also known as communication capability spoofing.
Blockchain, a technology popularized for crypto-currencies, can be utilized effectively for wireless communication between AVs. Blockchain works by replicating the data at multiple computer nodes, thereby making a network more secure and less prone to failures. However, blockchain’s strength can also be its weakness. Blockchain inherently relies on consensus – informally speaking, consensus can be defined as an agreement between a set of computers which communicate over a network. If this consensus is subverted or delayed, nodes in a blockchain slow down which can be catastrophic for AVs. Hussain Khan and his fellow researchers identified four different types of attacks that are capable of downgrading the system.
These nodes can either (1) falsely report superior communication capabilities; (2) turn malicious after joining the network and start reporting upgraded wireless communication; (3) report downgraded wireless communication capabilities while joining the network; or (4) turn malicious after joining the network and start reporting degraded wireless communication capabilities.
PoCC authentication framework helps detect these malicious nodes by providing a set of consensus rules, a form of test to ensure that only non-malicious nodes join the network. For instance, the claimed capabilities of nodes can be tested through physical features like location and propagation time (the time it takes to transmit data) before joining the network to prevent type (1) malicious nodes to enter. PoCC authentication framework comprises of consensus rules that have been developed in relation to every possible malicious node to prevent them from sabotaging the blockchain. After testing the framework in different scenarios where nodes turn malicious, the researchers concluded that the PoCC authentication framework is not only capable of detecting malicious nodes, but the physical attributes of the consensus rules make it difficult to trick the system. Implementation of the proposed framework in AVs could contribute in avoiding causalities on the road without human intervention and thereby push AVs one step closer to widespread adoption.
Dr. Yahya Sattar, an alumnus of the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE) at LUMS, recently achieved the remarkable milestone of defending his PhD thesis at UC Riverside. His journey has been a testament to his passion for Applied Mathematics and the invaluable support he received from the faculty and the National Outreach Program (NOP) at LUMS. Dr. Yahya is now pursuing cutting-edge research in Electrical Engineering, Machine learning, Optimization, Statistics, and Applied Mathematics at Cornell University as a postdoc.
Born in the picturesque village of Keris in Baltistan, Dr. Yahya started his educational journey in a government primary school in Skardu and then moved on to his intermediate education at Cadet College Skardu. In 2011, getting admitted to SBASSE at LUMS was an extraordinary moment for him. “I cannot express in words the support I got from NOP at LUMS. Whatever I have achieved so far would not have been possible without the generous support of NOP”, he mentions, looking back on his journey.
Deeply passionate about Mathematics and its real-world applications, Dr. Yahya explored his interests at SBASSE through courses like Modern Physics, Signals and Systems, Advanced Digital Signal Processing, Data Structures, and Communication Systems. Inspired by dedicated instructors, especially Dr. Momin Uppal, who fueled his ambition in Statistical Learning Theory and Applied Mathematics, Dr. Yahya pursued advanced courses, deepening his interest.
After graduating from LUMS in 2015, Dr. Yahya worked as a research assistant under Dr. Zubair Khalid, resulting in two research papers in the IEEE ICASSP conference. Dr Yahya shared that Dr. Zubiar played a pivotal role in training him as a researcher by guiding him in formulating research problems and exploring solutions. This experience led to fully funded PhD offers from multiple U.S. universities, and he chose UC Riverside, focusing on the theoretical foundations of Machine Learning algorithms with Dr. Samet Oymak. During his 2017 PhD, Dr. Yahya's work expanded the understanding of nonlinear dynamical systems, exploring Markov Jump Systems, Bilinear Systems, and various Nonlinear Systems. His contributions had a ripple effect, inspiring follow-up research at MIT, UC Berkeley, Caltech, and Harvard.
Dr. Yahya continues his academic odyssey by joining Cornell University, collaborating with Dr. Sarah Dean to advance the intersection of Machine Learning, optimization, statistics, and applied mathematics. By collaborating with excellent researchers, he plans to design safe and reliable control policies for various dynamical systems and extend his earlier works on developing a framework for learning and controlling nonlinear dynamical systems. As he looks to the future, he envisions significant advancements in AI and Machine Learning technology, which has already begun with tools like ChatGPT. "In future, more advancements will be in incorporating feedback with machine intelligence. This will lead to tremendous progress in autonomous driving technology and robotics. We will be able to give verbal commands to the robots, which will then plan and execute the task it is asked to do", remarks Dr. Yahya.
For students aspiring to follow in his footsteps, Dr. Yahya stresses the importance of mathematical skills as essential tools to navigate the world of research in Machine Learning Theory and Dynamical Systems. Additionally, he suggests students not shy away from advanced courses in applied mathematics. "I would encourage them to build a solid understanding of Statistical Learning and Optimization", he says.
He shares one crucial piece of advice: "The formula to overcome challenges is simple – "never give up!" Difficulties and challenges are an integral part of our life." He has encountered numerous challenges throughout his research career, including initial PhD rejections and subsequent dismissal from a research lab at UC Riverside. Eventually, he came in touch with a Phd advisor working on applied mathematics and joined his research lab which was working on precisely what he is passionate about. Overcoming obstacles is a fundamental part of the journey toward greater rewards.
Dr. Yahya's remarkable story is a testament to the endless possibilities that await those who dare to dream and work tirelessly toward their goals!
Dr. Yahya Sattar, an alumnus of the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE) at LUMS, recently…
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دنیا بھر میں جدت کے معیار کو برقرار رکھنے کے لئے آئے روز ٹیکنالوجی کی دنیا میں ترقی کی نئی مثالیں قائم ہو رہی ہیں۔ بیشتر ممالک کی طرح ٹیکنالوجی کی اس تگ و دو میں ہم قدم رہنے کے لیے لمز یونیورسٹی کے الیکٹرکل انجینیرنگ ڈیپارٹمینٹ نے رواں سال ایم ایس ڈیجیٹل اینڈ ایمبڈڈ سسٹم پروگرام کی شروعات کیں۔ یہ پروگرام اپنے طرز کا پہلا اور اکیلا پروگرام ہے ۔ جس کا مقصد ٹیکنالوجی کے حصول کے لیے بہترین ممکنہ راہ فراہم کرنا ہے ۔ حالیہ دور میں ڈیجیٹل اینڈ ایمبڈڈ سسٹم کی افادیت و استعمال کو زیرِ غور رکھتے ہوئے اس پروگرام کو تشکیل دیا گیا ہے۔
فروری2023 میں شروع ہونے والا یہ دلچسپ پروگرام بنیادی طور پر دو مضامین پر مشتمل ہے جنھیں تکنیکی زبان میں ڈیجیٹل انٹیگریٹڈ سرکٹ(IC) اور ایمبڈڈ سسٹم کہا جاتا ہے۔ اس پروگرام کے ذریعہ طلبہ کو نہ صرف جدید و نفیس ہارڈویر ذرائع سے روشناس کرایا جائے گا جو ڈیجیٹل سسٹم کی ڈیزایئننگ کے لیے اہم ہیں بلکہ ساتھ ہی ساتھ اعلی درجے کی تربیت کے ذریعے طلبہ کو ایسے سافٹ ویئر ہنروں سے متعارف کرایاجائے گا جو ایمبڈڈ سسٹم کی بین الا قوامی سافٹ ویئر مارکیٹ میں نہایت قدرو قیمت کے حامل ہیں۔
اس کورس کی تشکیل کے وقت مقامی مارکیٹ میں پیدا ہونے والے مسائل اور ضروریات کو زیر غور رکھا گیا ہے۔ اس پروگرام کا حصہ بننے والے طلبہ کو بنیادی سے اعلی درجے تک کی سسٹم ڈیزائننگ کی مشق دی جائے گی۔ اس تعلیم کے ذریعے نہ صرف وہ ڈیجیٹل اینڈ ایمبڈڈ سسٹم کی مقامی بلکہ بین الا قوامی مارکیٹ میں بھی اہم پیشرفت کرنے کے قابل ہوں گے اور الیکٹرانک اور سیمی کنڈکٹر انڈسٹری میں بھی اپنا لوہا منوا سکیں گے۔
اس کورس کے بارے میں مزید جاننے کے لئے ہم نے ایم ایس ڈیجیٹل اینڈ ایمبڈڈ سسٹم کی اولین جماعت کا حصہ بننے والے ہنر مندطالبعلم محمد احد کا انٹرویو کیا۔ احد کا تعلق بورے والا شہر سے ہے اور انہوں نے اپنی بیچلرز کی ڈگری کمپیوٹر انجینیرنگ میں یو ای ٹی UET ٹیکسیلا سے حاصل کی۔ ڈگری حاصل کرنے کے بعد احد نے نہ صرف انڈسٹری بلکہ فری لانسنگ میں قسمت آزمائی اور 10x نامی انجینیرنگ کمپنی میں ٹریننگ حاصل کرنے کا موقع پایا۔
احد کا کہنا تھا کہ بچپن سے ہی ریموٹ کنٹرول کار چلانے سے زیادہ دلچسپی انہیں اس چیز میں تھی کہ یہ چلتی کیسے ہے۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ان کے بچپن میں آنے والی موبائل اور کمپیوٹر جیسی ایجادات نے جہاں دنیا کو حیران کردیا وہیں انہیں اتنا متاثر کیا کہ انہوں نے اس کم عمری میں ہی سوچ لیا کہ انہیں اسی علم کو حاصل کرنا ہے۔ بڑے ہوتے ہوئے جب احد نے ٹیکنالوجی کو پوری دنیا پہ قابض ہوتے دیکھا تو ان کا یہ ارادہ مزید پختہ ہو گیا۔
10x انجینیرنگ میں ٹرینینگ کے دوران انہیں 10x انجینیرنگ کے LinkedIn پیج سےلمز کے ایم ایس ڈیجیٹل اینڈ ایمبڈڈ سسٹم پروگرام کا علم ہوا۔ وہ اس پروگرام کے بارے میں جانتے ہی سمجھ گئے کہ یہی وہ موقع ہے جسکی انہیں تلاش تھی اور انہوں نے بلا تاخیر اس کے لئے درخواست جمع کرائی جہاں ان کا انتخاب ہوا اور وہ ان چند خوش نصیب لوگوں میں شامل ہو سکے جنھیں اس پروگرام کے پہلے دستے کے طور پر چنا گیا۔
احد کا کہنا تھا کہ اس کورس میں کثیرالاہمیت تجرباتی تعلیم, پروجیکٹس اور لیکچرز کے ذریعے ان کی تکنیکی ہنر اور ذہنی قابلیت کو ترقی حاصل ہوئی. ان کا کہنا تھا کہ اس سے قبل (Field Programmable Gate) FGPA Array) جیسا آلہ انہیں دستیاب نہیں تھا۔ لیکن اس کورس میں انہیں اس جدید آلے کی رسائی حاصل ہوئی ۔اس کے ذریعے آپ فیلڈ پر موجود اپنے خیالات کو عملی تشکیل دے سکتے ہیں ۔ایمبڈڈ سسٹم کی فیلڈ میں کام کرنے والوں کے لئے یہ بہترین مو قع فراہم کرتا ہے۔
احد کا مزید کہنا تھا کہ چار ماہ کے مختصر عرصے میں جدید طرز کی تجربہ گاہوں، آلات ،ورکشاپس اورصنعتی دوروں کی صورت میں ملنے والی تعلیم نے انہیں ابھی سے اس قابل بنا دیا ہے کہ وہ ایک اساسی درجے کی ایپ تیار کر سکیں۔ پراسیسر اور کنٹرولر کی کوڈنگ اور ڈیزائیننگ بھی اب ان کے لیے مشکل کام نہیں۔ مختصراً اس کورس کے مواد سے ان کی سوچنے سمجھنے کی صلاحیتوں اور تکنیکی قابلیت کو بے حد فروغ ملا ہے۔
جاتے جاتے احد کا کہنا تھا کہ یہ پروگرام ہر لحاظ سے ان کی امیدوں سے بڑھ کر ثابت ہوا اور وہ ڈیجیٹل اینڈ ایمبڈڈ سسٹم کے شعبے سے منسلک ہر شخص کو یہ تجویز دیں گے کہ اس کورس کا حصہ بنیں۔ انھوں نے مزید کہا کہ اس کورس کے ذریعے انہیں سیکھنے کے ایسے مواقع فراہم ہوئے ہیں جس سے وہ اپنے سیلیکون ویلی میں کام کرنے کے خواب کو عملی جامہ پہنا سکیں گے اور اس کے لیے وہ لمز کے تہہ دل سے شکر گزار ہیں۔
دنیا بھر میں جدت کے معیار کو برقرار رکھنے کے لئے آئے روز ٹیکنالوجی کی دنیا میں ترقی کی نئی مثالیں قائم ہو رہی ہیں۔…