Jhonny Gonzalez

PhD student, Mathematics

My research is about managing risk in future energy systems.

Background

I had a very exciting time whilst doing my Master’s degree here at Manchester University. In particular, I got to know world-renowned researchers in applied probability and math finance. This, together with the fact that I have always enjoyed learning new things and doing research, made me think that doing a PhD was the natural step to take after the masters.

Manchester University is well known because of its reputation, the high-quality research conducted here and the support they give to international students, which I had experienced myself during my masters studies. Also, many great mathematicians have studied and worked at Manchester, which speaks about the rich heritage and standard of the maths school. All this influenced my decision to study at Manchester, and also that the maths school and the UK EPSRC offered me funding to pursue the PhD.

Research

My research is about managing risk in future energy systems. So essentially, I develop control algorithms whose main objective is not only to maximise average system performance but also to minimise the risk associated with system operation.

No two days are the same, even when one is going around the same research question for a long time. But in general, you will find me reading journal articles, working on some mathematical proof, programming, writing reports for my supervisor, preparing presentations, or  planning my weekly activities for the week.  After spending some time working on a particular difficult problem,  I really enjoy finding the answers and results that I was expecting.  I find this both exciting and rewarding.

I am actually part of a multidisciplinary project, and so I have contact with many researchers across the UK working in engineering, economics, and computer science. Our efforts focus mainly on presenting our work in research conferences held across the UK, publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals and even presenting posters whenever there is an opportunity to do so.   Since I am mathematician doing applications to power systems, I often have to visit researchers and fellow PhD students in the EEE department here at Manchester. We usually have meetings focused on understanding what others are doing, how our research fits together and what else remains to be done in order to meet the objectives of the project

Future

The power sector has been growing in complexity and size at an unprecedented rate for the last two decades, and it is expected to grow even more over the next few decades. This makes risk management a really important area in power systems, because the common goal is to ‘keep the lights on’ at minimum cost and minimum risk while making our world more sustainable. Hopefully the techniques and methods we are developing at Manchester will be useful in this direction.

I think that when consistently standards, policies and managerial decisions are produced taking account of the latest research available, then we will see significant changes in this area.

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