Marija Ilic

Professor Emeritus – ECE
Department Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Interests

My research and education focus on the modeling and control of large complex nonlinear systems with application to electric power systems. While it is motivated by the practical needs of the electric power industry, it is useful to other industries that operate large complex systems whose organization is hierarchical. Most generally, I seek to improve the technical and economic performance of electric power systems by means of control and communication.

More recently, my research has focused on developing controllers for the changing electric power systems in which all parties act for their own benefit. The primary technical challenge created by this competitive, or decentralized, power production, transmission and consumption is to design generation and transmission-grid controllers and protective relaying which minimize the resulting real-time power imbalances that threaten system security and integrity. These controllers should also improve system-wide efficiency. We show that in order to make the network system both efficient and secure, the network itself must be an active controller and not a passive connector between the energy sources and energy consumers. Beyond developing these controllers, I study the relation between the technical and economic signals, and the implications of this relation on the information/communication structure necessary to implement the controllers.

The temporal and spatial dynamics of the emerging electricity markets make their design very difficult because the economic, policy and technical dynamics of the electric power system and this market are strongly interrelated. What is missing from the typical studies, for example, are software-based tools for accommodating the needs of market participants in a flexible way with well-understood technical and economic outcomes. This is because most research on electricity market designs makes the very strong assumptions of perfect information and equilibrium conditions. Consequently, while the industry restructuring has opened the door to new technologies, these technologies are not used in the most effective way. This problem is particularly pronounced when it comes to software use and valuation since the majority of electricity markets do not value technologies for their ability to respond to changing conditions.

In the News

  • Ilic delivers keynote at FORCES meeting
  • Ilic served as Guest Editor for the Proceedings of the IEEE Special Issue
  • ECE faculty partner with new research center focusing on cybersecurity of nation’s power grid
  • CMU's Electric Energy Systems Group researchers featured at IEEE PES general meeting conference
  • Professor Ilić featured in Portugal's Público newspaper
  • NIST “Smart Grid in a Room”
  • Donadee Earns Best Paper Honors
  • ECE Faculty Earn Scott Institute Seed Grants
  • ECE Faculty Earn CIT Honors
  • Weng Earns Best Paper Honors
  • Ilic Leads Team Developing Smart Grid Models, Tools for Low-Cost Green Islands
  • Cvijic Earns Award at NAPS
  • Carnegie Mellon To Host Smart Grid Research Center
  • Ilic Earns Smart Grid Accolades, Alumni Achievement Award
  • Negi Receives Government Stimulus Funds for Power Grid Research
  • Marija Ilic Heads Smart Grid Research
  • Ilic Receives Honorary Chair at Prestigious TU Delft University in The Netherlands
  • Ilic Gives Invited Talks on Future Energy Systems
  • ECE and ABB Team Up on Smart Electric Power Grids
  • Ilic Speaks on Network Systems Engineering and "The Energy-Environment Dream"
  • Ilić Delivers Keynote at IEEE Conference
  • Conference Focuses on Ensuring Reliable Energy Delivery for Next Three Decades
  • Carnegie Mellon Researchers Present 8 Papers at IEEE PES General Meeting
  • Carnegie Mellon Hosts Conference on Electric Power Systems
  • Ilic Edits Special Issue of *IEEE Proceedings:*
  • Talukdar's Research Cited in IEEE Spectrum
  •  Marija  Ilic

    Carnegie Mellon, 2002

    Research Area

    Signals and Systems


    Large-scale systems modeling and simulation; power systems control and pricing algorithms; critical infrastructures/interdependencies


    DSc, 1980
    Systems Science and Mathematics
    Washington University

    MS, 1978
    Systems Science and Mathematics
    Washington University

    MEE, 1977
    Electrical Engineering
    University of Belgrade

    Dipl. Ing., 1974
    Electrical Engineering
    University of Belgrade