One of the first major, widespread deployments of an Internet of Things (IoT) system is an electric utility’s smart-grid communications network. Communication networks support utility smart-grids for an electrical power provider by linking industrial IoT devices on the grid, such as residential and commercial customers’ electric meters to the utility’s data center. A new solution methodology and software tool is applied to the optimization of an electric utility smart-grid communications network. This research provides utilities with a technique to reduce cost of new and current communications networks for smart-grid programs. This research introduces the use of a new advanced optimization heuristic and solver effective for this problem. Interval-flow networks and associated solution methods offer a new approach to modeling and optimization that can readily capture the hierarchical structure of these minimum-cost network-topology optimization problems, and can quickly solve large-scale network instances. Computational experiments provide insight into the effect that key situational and practitioner decisions have on resulting designs. This work promises a methodology and tool useful to practitioners responsible for smart-grid communications network realization.

Degree Date

Spring 5-12-2018

Document Type


Degree Name



Engineering Management, Information, and Systems


Richard S. Barr

Second Advisor

Eli V. Olinick

Third Advisor

Michael Hahsler

Number of Pages