What is ARPA-E's GO Competition?

The Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is challenging the research and industrial communities to successfully develop and test power system optimization and control algorithms on new, publicly available, large-scale, and high-fidelity power system network models. For more information, please read here.

What is the duration of the competition?

The GO Competition consists of three (3) phases summarized below:

Phase 0 / Beta Testing Phase: This is the predecessor to the actual competition and allows the public to understand and test the submission processes. The relatively small and simple datasets and solutions will be publicly available for download. Starts June 2017 and ends January 2018.

Phase 1: First round of the formal competition and will solve a Preventative Security Constrained OPF (PSCOPF) problem. Focus on smaller systems, up to 20,000 buses; datasets contributed from ARPA-E GRID DATA program.

Start Date: January 2018 (Projected; Subect to Appropriation of Funding)

End Date: January 2019 (Projected)

Phase 2: Phase 2 is the final round of formal competition and involves Unit Commitment (UC). The competition datasets will be power system network models augmented with additional generator constraints, such as ramp rates, start-up and shut-down costs. This will be a multiple time interval optimization problem. The datasets will focus on larger problems (up to 100,000 buses) and will be provided by GRID DATA. 

Start Date: January 2019 (Projected; Subect to Appropriation of Funding))

End Date: January 2020 (Projected)

All dates are approximate and subject to change.  Phases 1 and 2 are also subject to appropriation of funding.The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory computer system hosting the Web portal shall be the official timekeeper.

Will the winner's code be published?

The winning team shall retain all rights to the source code. In addition, a publication-quality Technical Paper describing the algorithm must be made available to ARPA-E before the prize may be claimed; actual publication is not required. ARPA-E does not intend to disclose the submitted Technical Papers outside the Government. ARPA-E does not plan to claim rights to software developed by Open Track competitors as a result of participation in the competition and ARPA-E will not require Open Track teams to publicly disclose their solution methods.

I still have questions. Who do I contact?

For further information or questions, please use the Competition Forum or contact the GO Competition Team.

When will the final rankings be announced for this competition?

Final rankings for Phase 1 will be announced following the Final Event in November 2017 (projected). Notification letters will be sent and a public announcement will be made in December.

Who is eligible to participate in this competition?

A GO Competition Team is comprised of an entrant or an individual team leader and an optional set of team members. If the entrant is a US Entity rather than an individual, the team must identify an entrant official. Teams may enter under an official affiliation (e.g., a university or corporation). Teams may also have an official set of sponsors.

The GO Competition is open to team members of all nationalities and of all ages with the following caveats:

  • Participation by minors requires authorization by a parent or guardian.
  • Participants may compete individually or as part of a team.
  • Participants may be a member of more than one team.
  • To be eligible for a prize, an individual entrant must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or US Entity; a team must have a leader that is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or US Entity. The contest is open to non-US entities with the restriction that if they seek formal recognition they must receive Foreign National Visitor and Assignment (FNVA) approval from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) - the competition hosting team.
  • An individual, organization, or sponsor is not eligible to apply or participate if he, she, or it is on the Specially Designated Nationals list.

Teams are intended to be wholly separate entities that do not share members, unique technology, official affiliations or financial interest.

Federal entities (from the US or any other country) are not eligible to participate as entrants, sponsors or official affiliates. Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate as entrants, entrant officials, team leaders or team members.

 A Federal employee acting outside the scope of his or her employment should consult his or her ethics official before participating in the Go Competition. ARPA-E employees and support contractors, their spouses, dependents, and household members are not eligible to participate.

Any personnel funded by ARPA-E to support the GO Competition are not eligible to participate for prizes. This group includes, but is not limited to, any party providing datasets to the GO Competition as well as personnel whose scope of work covers GO Competition architecture development. This group is eligible to participate for listing in the competition leaderboards, though their participation in GO Competition support may be indicated there.

ARPA-E reserves the right to disqualify a participant whose actions are deemed to violate the spirit of the competition for any reason, including but not limited to, the violation of relevant laws or regulations in the course of participation in the Challenge.

Participants are bound by the Competition Rules posted on the GO Competition website. Cheating is defined as deliberately breaking GO Competition rules or manipulating them in such a way as to gain an advantage (gaming). The penalty is disqualification from the GO Competition. The GO Competition sponsor possesses sole discretion to determine whether competition rules have deliberately been broken.

Is there a minimum age restriction to participate in the Competition?

Participation by minors requires authorization by a parent or guardian. Please contact the Competition Team for details.

Do I need to register to participate in the competition?

Yes, you need to register to participate in the competition. You must register as a team, which can be comprised of an individual or more than one individual.

How do I register as a team member?

First you need an account on the GO Competition website.  Go to the Registration Page to fill in your personal information. Once you have successfully registered, notify the team leader and s/he will add you to their team and GitHub Team repository.

How do I register as a team leader?

First, you need an account on the GO Competition website.  Go to the Registration Page to fill in your personal information. Second, you also need to create a Team GitHub account.

Once you have successfully registered and created a Team GitHub account, click on the Create Team button located on your Account View page. Follow the directions by entering a Team Name (which must be unique to the GO Competition), the Team GitHub username, the ARPA-E Competition Identifier which ARPA-E has provided to you (if you don't have one, you can fill it in later after you created your team), and choose folks for your team.  A team may consist of one of more individuals.  If you are the only person on your team, you can skip the last part; otherwise, please make sure you choose the correct individuals and they must match the team that you provided to ARPA-E on their registration form.  Click the Save button and you should see the My Team page.

How do I register as an individual competitor?

You must register as a team. A team may consist of one of more individuals; thus, you can be the only member of a team.

First, you need an account on the GO Competition website. Go to the Registration Page to fill in your personal information. Second, you also need to create a GitHub account.

Once you have successfully registered and created a GitHub account, click on the Create Team button located on your Account View page. Follow the directions by entering a Team Name (which must be unique to the GO Competition), the GitHub username, and the ARPA-E Competition Identifier which ARPA-E has provided to you (if you don't have one, you can fill it in later from the My Team page).  Skip the last step in choosing team members.  Click the Save button and you should see the My Team page with only yourself as the team members.

Can I register for more than one team?

No, you can only register with one team.

I chose the wrong team during registration. What can I do?

Please contact the GO Competition Team.

Can I change teams after registration?

Yes, you may change teams but must fill-out and return a change of entrant form to the Competition team.

Can I change teams after the Beta Testing Phase (Phase 0) is over?

Yes. Any teams created during the Beta Testing Phase are only for our testing phase and have no implications for the competition. All teams will be dissolved after the Beta Testing Phase.

Why do I need a GitHub account?

The competition uses GitHub to manage submitted solutions. All code submitted by a team must be stored in GitHub. You must grant read access to the GitHub account; this is accomplished with a public SSH key that you can find in your My Team summary.

How do I add my SSH Public Key to my GitHub account?

You can view/download the full step-by-step instructions (with screen shots) found under Resources. A summary of the steps are:

1. Go to the ARPA-E Optimal Power Flow Competition login page and log in using the username and password associated with your account.
2. Once logged in, go to View Account under the Account menu.
3. Click on the My Team button to view My Team information.
3. In the "Team Information" section, copy the SSH Public Key information; this is the text with "ssh-rsa ... pnl.gov". You can also click the Copy SSH Information button.
4. Go to the GitHub login page and log in using the username/e-mail address and password associated with your account.
5. Once logged in, go to your submission repository.
6. Click the “Settings” option from the tab bar along the top of the page.
7. Click the “Deploy keys” option from the pane on the left hand side of the page.
8. Click “Add deploy key” button on the right hand side of the page.
9. Enter a “Title” (e.g. ARPA Competition) and paste the SSH Public Key information from step 3. Leave all other settings.
10. Click the “Add key” button to complete the process.

Can I change the Team GitHub account username?

No. Once you have registered, you cannot change the Team GitHub account username.

Why does the sequence of events in Submission History appear out of date?

The website receives event messages from the evaluation platform and assigns a date/time as they are processed. It processes the most recent message first, giving the appearance of events being out of order.

I have a solution. How do I enter it into the contest?

Congratulations! Here is how you can enter your solution for evaluation:

1. Register with the GO Competition by going to the Registration Page.
2. Create a Team GitHub account.
3. Create a team.  All competition submissions must be submitted by a “team.” Teams can consist of an individual or many individuals.  
    Note: Team Creation requires a valid Team GitHub account.
4. Return to GitHub to establish the SSH key (in My Team view).
5. Commit (save/upload) your algorithms/optimization software to your GitHub repository.
6. Submit your algorithms/software for evaluation and scoring.
7. View your results from the Accounts Page or by clicking on the My Team button and view your "My Team Submission" panel.

If my code fails, am I going to get feedback on the error?

Yes, you will get some feedback on where your code failed via a log summary. This log summary can be viewed in the submission details; your submissions can be found in the "My Team Submissions" panel; you can reach this information by going to your Team Information by clicking on My Team in View Account. Click on an individual submission and you will find the link to download log files.

Who will judge the competition?

A computer algorithm will judge the submission; its details can be found under Scoring.

Why did my score/rank change on the leaderboard?

The initial score is based on your submission as it compares to other submissions at that current time for the dataset that was indicated on the submission form. The ranking is based on all current submissions.

The final results will be based on unpublished datasets, so the final standings may be different. These datasets will be published after the competition and evaluation have been completed.