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Agent-Based Control of Distributed Infrastructure Resources
Laurence Phillips, Hamilton Link, Randy Smith, and Laura Weiland

This report is about an agent-based control mechanism of distributed infrastructure resources. Managing distributed infrastructure resources is usually accomplished by telephone calls among the managers and operators. This works reasonably well under ordinary circumstances but breaks down—often catastrophically—under stress. Individual motivation, long response times, and poor situation awareness interfere with operation and can even cause breakdowns. Broadly distributed operations would more robust and fail more gracefully than centralized systems, but remain unlikely given the difficulty in operating large infrastructures even with modern Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. The solution is management by distributed software that maintains normal operation, enforces operational and security policy, deals with contingencies, and protects against malicious indsiders, errors, and outright attacks. The authors specify a distributed agent coalition able to accomplish this for distributed electric power and describe a prototype implementation based on Sandia-developed technology.

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