Ian Dobson

  • Arend J. and Verna V. Sandbulte Professor in Engineering

Main Office

1117 Coover Hall
Ames, IA 50011-3060
Phone: (515) 294-0922


Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Cornell University (1989)

B.A., Mathematics, Cambridge University (1978)

Interest Areas

Core Research Area: Systems and controls, electric power and energy systems

Strategic Area: Energy infrastructure; data, decisions, networks & autonomy


Brief Biography

Ian Dobson was educated at Cambridge University (BA Math 1978) and Cornell University (PhD Electrical Engineering 1989). He worked for 5 years as a systems analyst in Britain for EASAMS Ltd., including contract work for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. He was previously with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently Sandbulte professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at Iowa State University. Ian is a Fellow of the IEEE. Ian has worked on voltage collapse blackouts, power system stability, power electronics, and applications of bifurcations and nonlinear dynamics. He is currently interested in complex systems and is developing a probabilistic risk analysis for cascading failure in blackouts.

Selected Publications

Google Scholar Profile:
  • P.D.H. Hines, I. Dobson, P. Rezaei, Cascading power outages propagate locally in an influence graph that is not the actual grid topology, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, vol. 32, no. 2, March 2017, pp. 958-967.
  • I. Dobson, B.A. Carreras, D.E. Newman, J.M. Reynolds-Barredo, Obtaining statistics of cascading line outages spreading in an electric transmission network from standard utility data, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, vol. 31, no. 6, November 2016, pp. 4831-4841. B.A. Carreras, D.E. Newman, I. Dobson, North American blackout time series statis- tics and implications for blackout risk, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, vol. 31, no. 6, November 2016, pp. 4406-4414.
  • I. Dobson, Estimating the propagation and extent of cascading line outages from utility data with a branching process, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, vol. 27, no. 4, November 2012, pp. 2146-2155.
  • I. Dobson, B.A. Carreras, V.E. Lynch, D.E. Newman, Complex systems analysis of series of blackouts: cascading failure, critical points, and self-organization, Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, vol. 17, 026103, June 2007
  • I. Dobson, B.A. Carreras, D.E. Newman, A loading-dependent model of probabilistic cascading failure, Probability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences, vol. 19, no. 1, January 2005, pp. 15-32.