AESC has been developing and applying intelligent agent technology since 1997. During that time AESC has developed and tested a variety of agents that operate as multi-agent systems (MAS) that:
  • Smart*DER
    Monitor site and distributed energy resource (DER) conditions and schedules operation of DER assets in response to dynamic pricing signals (Smart*DER). Is capable of operating a single site or coordinating the operation of "a portfolio" of multiple sites.
  • Power Neighborhood
    Enable collaboration/coordination of DER assets amongst multiple sites within a localized region (distribution feeder) using a web-based auction and bilateral transactions.
  • Distributed Grid Management
    Coordinate grid activities with renewable generation and storage system assets
In order to implement the Smart*DER and Power Neighborhood and Distributed Grid Management MAS concepts AESC developed and tested a variety of agent types that include:

Agent Type Description
Portfolio Manager Manages and coordinates operations of multiple buildings in a campus, microgrid or similar environment.
Owner Interface Handles communication between the Smart*DER agency and the owner / user via a graphical user interface (GUI). Coordinates implementation of user commands and inputs. Coordinates the actions of a site within a portfolio of sites.
Data Manager Controls storage and retrieval of data used within the MAS.
Facility Interface Responsible for routine collection and recording of site data. Serves as the MAS interface to all of the facility sensors as well as the DER asset sensors and associated controls. Monitors and implements DER operating schedules.
Internet Interface to all Internet-based information sources.
Data Analyst Provides analysis services for: load forecasting, schedule generation, bid evaluation and bid generation, report generation.
Remote Data Collection Allows for automated data collection from a remote site/MAS.
Power Neighborhood
Site Manager Represents the interests of a building owner/operator within the Power Neighborhood. Performs situation assessment, auction and transaction management, monitors and manages DER assets.
Substation Manages/monitors the Power Neighborhood auction and provides connectivity to the local utility.
Distributed Grid Management
Subtransmission Manages/monitors activity (i.e., capacitor status, line status, voltages, currents, etc.) within a specific "control area" of a subtransmission system.
Generation Resource Manages/monitors activity of one or more generation resources, including conventional or renewable generation as well as storage systems within a specific "control area" of a transmission or subtransmission system.

AESC Agent Functionality

An intelligent software agent can be as simple or complicated as the application requires, and allows. Agents are typically designed to achieve efficiency in communications and also to meet the computational constraints of the host hardware/operating system. Typically, all agents operating within a MAS share a common operating system and communication protocol; beyond that each agent can contain a variety of functions and communication protocols as needed to fulfill its role within the MAS. To this end, AESC has developed a wide variety of agent functions that can be implemented singularly or in combination to achieve the necessary agent capability. The most important of these functions includes:

  • Connectivity via:
    • TCP-IP sockets,
    • Remote Method Invocation (RMI), and
    • Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA)
  • Protocols supported:
    • Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents (FIPA)
    • Knowledge Query and Manipulation Language (KQML)
    • Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
    • Extensible Markup Language (XML)
    • Apache Active MQ messaging protocols
    • eDNA (product of InStep Software) data retrieval protocols
  • Security methods supported:
    • Authentication using Public Key Cryptography Standard (PKCS)
    • Encryption using symmetric encryption with TripleDES algorithm
Database Management
  • Database query generation compatible with most common databases including:
    • Microsoft Access and SQLServer,
    • DB2,
    • MySQL,
    • Oracle, and
    • Other databases supported via JDBC drivers.
Data Analysis
  • Data validation - Missing or partial data, user configurable range validation
  • Forecasting -
    On-going site electric load (near- and medium-term)
    Local area wind generation (near-term)
  • DER asset (distributed generation) performance -- Assessment and tracking
  • Report generation - Analysis of hourly and daily results with ability to export CSV-formatted text files.
  • Auction status - Monitoring of auction sessions to identify bidding opportunities
  • Bid retrieval and submittal
  • Session generation and submittal
  • Bid evaluation and generation
  • Bilateral transaction generation, negotiation and recording/tracking
Autonomous Operation
  • Agent state monitoring / awareness
  • Agent state configuration management
  • Agent auto restart, state recovery and synchronization
Graphical User Interface (GUI) Support
  • Browser-based - GUI access by way of an Applet
  • Stand alone - GUI access by way of an application installed locally.
  • Web-based - Java-based application that allows full-featured Java client applications to be launched, deployed, and updated from a standard Web server.
  • Custom interface to third-party GUI platforms is available
Hardware Platform

AESC's Java-based agent software is compact and can operate on virtually any hardware platform capable of running a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The nature of agent-based, distributed control dictates that agent software will oftentimes be located remotely at a site or in conjunction with DER equipment. For these applications, AESC is proud to announce that we have successfully ported and operated our agent technology on an affordable and compact automation computer suitable for operation in commercial/industrial environment. The following basic features can be upgraded to suit a variety of applications:
  • Dimensions:7.5" x 4.2" x 1.4"
  • Temperature range:14 ~ 131° F
  • CPU:AMD Geode LX800 500MHz CPU
  • Network:Two RS-232 and two isolated RS-232/422/485 with automatic flow control
  • Two 10/100 Base-T RJ-45 ports
  • Digital/IO:8-ch Isolated DI and 8-ch Isolated DO with counter and timer
  • Operating System:Windows® CE 5.0 & 6.0, Windows XP Embedded SP2, and Linux ready solution

Contact us today to discuss how one of our existing or customized intelligent agents can help you manage your energy use.