Kexing Lai: Autumn 2018 Presidential Fellow

Posted: January 9, 2019

Kexing Lai
For his research in power grid and cyber-security, Kexing Lai earned the highest honor for a graduate student at The Ohio State University. 

Lai was recently named among the 2018 Autumn Presidential Fellows announced by the Ohio State Graduate School. Pursuing his doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering (ECE), Lai also serves as a graduate research associate in the Flexible Distribution of Energy and Storage (FDERS) Group directed by ECE Associate Professor Mahesh Illindala

The current national power grid system remains vulnerable to attack and extreme weather events, Illindala said. Engineers and students such as Lai are findings ways toward the massive upgrades required. 

"A secure and reliable delivery of electricity is essential to run the critical operations at many establishments in the nation,” Illindala said. “Kexing is the most productive student in my FDERS group in carrying out research on the resiliency enhancement of the electric grid through microgrid systems. His endeavors to meet the urgent demands have resulted in seven journal papers published or in print, six conference papers, and one patent application pending – all within the last four years."

Lai said his studies focus on finding many solutions to one problem.

“The modern power system must be upgraded for resiliency against various contingencies. I strive to achieve this using numerous innovative and diverse approaches," he said. "My initial research was on developing intelligent protection systems for timely and accurate fault location and isolation in microgrids. Later, with funding from the Office of Naval Research, I switched my focus to shipboard power system planning and operation aiming to hedge against potential physical and cyber-attacks.” 

Whether creating innovative grid designs for the land or on the sea, Lai is enthusiastic about completing his doctoral work at Ohio State.

“I have been involved in power system operation, planning, economics and resilience research during my Ph.D. program, and I will actively pursue job opportunities that provide a platform for advancing cutting-edge research works on these areas,” he said.

Alicia L. Bertone, DVM, Ph.D. Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School, recently announced the 2018 Autumn Presidential Fellows. Lai was joined by fellow graduate ECE student Seckin Sahin among the winners.

The Presidential Fellowship at Ohio State is the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School to recognize the outstanding scholarly accomplishments and potential of graduate students entering the final phase of their dissertation research or terminal degree project.

Story by: Ryan Horns ECE/IMR Communications Specialist