Information Technology
Argonne combines state-of-the-art technology with extensive experience to provide information management solutions for utility companies.

n Introduction

Planning, managing, and operating electric generation plants require vast amounts of diverse information, such as operational parameters, load demands by region, weather forecasts, and the capacity and load available from other suppliers. Utility managers, operators, and planners need rapid, efficient, integrated access to many different information sources to make timely, accurate decisions. They also need to know that the data, hardware, and software they use are secure and reliable.

Argonne National Laboratory's experience in information technology supports decision making and analysis for utility systems. Argonne researchers have developed and integrated computing technologies that address the management, protection, and use of large data repositories. These capabilities can provide solutions for the information security and management needs of the utility industry.

Argonne's extensive expertise in advanced computing applications, information management, and systems security results from everyday use and operation of the Laboratory's own systems. Close collaboration with system and network engineering vendors has led to implementations that exceed the current state-of-the-practice. Successful projects include ultra?reliable, secure systems for controlling nuclear reactors, satellite systems, and military defensive systems; complex large-scale information systems on the Internet; and three-dimensional spatial systems for environmental impact analysis.

n Computer Security and Protection

Design and implement secure high?speed networks and systems; prevent unauthorized intrusion into computers, networks, and control systems; and ensure that critical operations continue despite malfunctions and system degradation due to hardware or software failure, intrusion, or environmental effects:

Assessments of computer and network system vulnera-bilities that provide the foundation for cost?effective

Independent verification and validation to ensure that complex and interrelated systems perform as specified and that the functions provided are required.

Hardware and software security technology; secure operating systems; ultra-reliable control systems; and system administration policies.

n Information Management

Provide systems, data architectures, and graphical user interfaces for efficient access to large, heterogeneous data repositories:

Relational and object-oriented databases - the Facility Profile Information Management System (FPIMS) tracks environment, safety, and health documents for more than 80 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites nationwide.

Data warehousing, visualization, and mining techniques and full-text retrieval systems - the Human Radiation
Experiments (HREX) System stores and retrieves more than 500,000 images of historical documents on experiments conducted during the 1940s and 1950s.

Geographical and spatial information systems - GASMAP, an Internet-based system, displays the location and operational specifications of natural-gas pipelines, storage fields, and service territories.

Intranet and Internet technologies - an Internet?based information dissemination system developed for an Argonne partner distributes research reports and other data to companies in the natural gas industry (1997 Computer World Magazine Top 100 Business Site award).

n Advanced Computing Technologies

Implement state-of-the-art technologies for critical, high-performance computations, such as complex models and simulations; develop tools for transferring legacy systems into new environments:

Parallel processing - advanced-architecture, multiple-processing computers to execute large-scale computer models.

Cave Automated Virtual Environment (CAVE) technologies - three-dimensional visualization of systems in immersible environments that allows researchers to "roam" through systems, such as nuclear reactors.

Expert systems - rule-based systems, neural networks, pattern recognition, and automated learning systems to analyze and model complex systems.

Decision support systems - integration and analysis of vast amounts of data based on operational practice guidelines and rules.

Integrated information architectures - link multiple models together to capture complex feedback mechanisms between them; for example, weather forecasting models can be coupled with demand models to yield real-time analysis of required plant output.

n Contacts

For technical information, contact Craig Swietlik, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 900, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 630/252?8912; e?mail:

For information on working with Argonne, contact Paul Eichamer, Industrial Technology Development Center, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 201, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 800/627-2596; fax: 630/252-5230.

February 1998

Argonne National Laboratory is operated by The University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. W-31-109-Eng-38.

GASMAP, a comprehensive geographic information system, displays data on natural gas transmission, distribution, storage, and production.