UCL Energy Institute


Jonathan Bourne

Thesis title: Understanding the vulnerability of power-grids to cascading failures using complex-network analysis

Primary supervisor: Elsa Arcuate
Secondary supervisor: Adian O'Sullivan

Start Date: January 2017
Completion date: January 2012

This PhD explores cascading failures in the power-grid using complex network anaylsis. Within the PhD a simulation framework is developed, along with a taxonomy. This simulation framework is used to challenge certain common assumptions in the field. The framework is then used to analyse different vulnerability metrics and compare the stability of their performance. With the knowledge gained from these simulations we analyse the threat posed by a cuber physical attack on the UK powergrid.

Graph Convolutional Networks are used to predict the nodes that will be affected by the cascade. Finally Graph Convolutional Networks are used to predict the power on each line.


Jonathan Bourne graduated from Manchester University in 2007 with an MEng in Mechanical Engineering. He then worked for 8 years in the Norwegian energy sector, in both oil and renewables. In 2015 he moved to the UK to study for an MSc in Business Analytics at UCL. In between finishing his MSc and starting his PhD he worked for the Financial Conduct Authority as a Data Scientist