Call for Competition on Evolutionary Computation in the Energy Domain: Smart Grid Applications 2021

IEEE PES GM 2021, IEEE CEC 2021 & GECCO 2021 (Joint competition)

Organized by Fernando Lezama, Joao Soares, Bruno Canizes, Zita Vale, Ruben Romero

IEEE CIS PRIZE: We are glad to announce that our competition will offer a IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) prize of 1000 $ (500 $ for the winner of each track). Good luck and stay tuned. Thanks!

Competition Outline

Following the success of the previous editions (CEC, GECCO, WCCI), we are launching a more challenging competition at major conferences in the field of computational intelligence. This GECCO 2021 competition proposes two tracks in the energy domain:

Track 1) Bi-level optimization of bidding strategies in local energy markets (LEM). This track is constructed under the same framework of the past competitions (therefore, former competitors can adapt their algorithms to this new track), representing a complex bi-level problem in which competitive agents in the upper-level try to maximize their profits, modifying and depending on the price determined in the lower-level problem (i.e., the clearing price in the LEM), thus resulting in a strong interdependence of their decisions.

Track 2) Flexibility management of home appliances to support DSO requests. A model for aggregators flexibility provision in distribution networks that takes advantage of load flexibility resources allowing the re-schedule of shifting/real-time home-appliances to provision a request from a distribution system operator (DSO) is proposed. The problem can be modeled as a Mixed-Integer Non-Linear Programming (MINLP) in which the aggregator strives to match a flexibility request from the DSO/BRP, paying remuneration to the households participating in the DR program according to their preferences and the modification of their baseline profile.

Note: Both tracks are developed to run under the same framework of past competitions.

Competition goals

The IEEE PES GM, CEC & GECCO 2021 competition on “Evolutionary Computation in the Energy Domain: Smart Grid Applications” has the purpose of bringing together and testing the more advanced Computational Intelligence (CI) techniques applied to energy domain problems, namely the optimal bidding of energy aggregators in local markets and the Flexibility management of home appliances to support DSO requests. The competition provides a coherent framework where participants and practitioners of CI can test their algorithms to solve two real-world optimization problems in the energy domain. The participants have the opportunity to evaluate if their algorithms can rank well in each independent problem since we understand the validity of the “no-free lunch theorem”, making this contest a unique opportunity worth to explore the applicability of the developed approaches in real-world problems beyond the typical benchmark and standardized CI problems.


– Participants will propose and implement metaheuristic algorithms (e.g., evolutionary algorithms, swarm intelligence, estimation of distribution algorithm, etc.) to solve complex problems in the energy domain by offering two distinct tracks.

– The organizers provide a framework, implemented in MATALAB© 2014b 64 bits (Download here), in which participants can easily test their algorithms (we also provide a differential evolution algorithm implementation as an example). The guidelines  (Download here) include the necessary information to understand the problems, how the solutions are represented, and how the fitness function is evaluated. Those elements are common for all participants.

– Since the proposed algorithms might have distinct sizes of population and run for a variable number of iterations, a maximum number of “10,000 function evaluations” is allowed for track 1 and “100,000” function evaluations are allowed for track 2. The convergence properties of the algorithms are not a criterion to be qualified in this competition.

– Only random seed initial solutions are allowed in this competition. Heuristics and special tweaks for initial solutions are not accepted.

– 20 independent trials should be performed in the framework by each participant.

How to submit an entry

The winner will be the participant with the minimum ranking index in each independent track, which is calculated as the average value over the 20 trials of the expected fitness value plus. We will make an independent rank for each track (i.e., we will have a winner for each track).

– Each participant is kindly requested to put the text files corresponding to final results (see guideline document), as well as the implementation files (codes), obtained by using a specific optimizer, into a .zip named (e.g.

Important Remarks

– Notice that submission of papers or assistance to PES GM, CEC, or GECCO by competition participants is not mandatory.

– You can submit a paper to the special session on Evolutionary Algorithms for Complex Optimization in the Energy Domain (CEC SS-44). Submit it here – select SS-44 in the research topic. (already closed)

– You are welcome to submit short descriptions of your algorithms and results as 2-page papers to be included in the GECCO Companion. This is voluntary — Submission deadline is April 12, 2021. Submit it here (already closed)

Submit your results by June 15, 23:59 (GMT)

Further related bibliography

  • [1] F., Lezama, J. Soares, Z. Vale, J. Rueda, S. Rivera, & I. Elrich, 2017 IEEE competition on modern heuristic optimizers for smart grid operation: Testbeds and results. Swarm and evolutionary computation, 44, 420-427, 2019
  • [2] F. Lezama, J. Soares, P. Hernandez-Leal, M. Kaisers, T. Pinto, and Z. Vale, Local Energy Markets: Paving the Path Towards Fully Transactive Energy Systems, IEEE Transaction on Power Systems, IEEE (2018).
  • [3] Joao Soares, Bruno Canizes, M. A. Fotouhi Gazvhini, Zita Vale, and G. K. Venayagamoorthy, “Two-stage Stochastic Model using Benders’ Decomposition for Large-scale Energy Resources Management in Smart grids,” IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, 2017.
  • [4] F. Lezama, J. Soares, E. Munoz de Cote, L. E. Sucar, and Z. Vale, “Differential Evolution Strategies for Large-Scale Energy Resource Management in Smart Grids,” in GECCO ’17: Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion Proceedings, 2017. 
  • [5] Joao Soares, Mohammad Ali Fotouhi Ghazvini, Marco Silva, Zita Vale, “Multi-dimensional signaling method for population-based metaheuristics: Solving the large-scale scheduling problem in smart grids”, Swarm and Evolutionary Computation, 2016.
  • [6] Joao Soares, Hugo Morais, Tiago Sousa, Zita Vale, Pedro Faria, “Day-ahead resource scheduling including demand response for electric vehicles”, IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid 4 (1), 596-605, 2013.
  • [7] F. Lezama, J. Soares, B. Canizes, Z. Vale, Z., Flexibility management model of home appliances to support DSO requests in smart grids. Sustainable Cities and Society, 55, 102048, 2020.


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