VIA to Start AI-Enabled, N-1-1 Contingency Planning Initiative with TEPCO Power Grid

Somerville, MA – February 27, 2018 – VIA is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with TEPCO Power Grid, a subsidiary of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO) to provide automated recovery recommendations for multiple simultaneous switch failures, or the “N-1-1” problem.

There are automated solutions in place for what to do when a single switch failure happens. However, as N-1-1 failures are extremely complex, software has not been able to identify all possible contingencies during an outage. Solving the N-1-1 problem remains a challenge for power companies today, and VIA aims to solve this industry-wide problem using their AI solution.

“Contingency planning initiatives are nothing new to the energy industry. In fact, in the US, FERC and NERC have both mandated that power companies have a solution to this N-1-1 issue. Our client, VIA, has a solution to this problem. They will use AI to provide operators with a step-by-step recommendation in order to recover from N-1-1 failures across a comprehensive range of scenarios,” said Andrew Kaplan, a partner at Pierce Atwood LLP with an expertise in energy regulatory law.

“There are a number of benefits that VIA’s solution can provide TEPCO Power Grid including faster recovery time during unplanned outages and reduced impact of outages during planned maintenance. Using VIA’s solution, the operator can reroute switches to maintain power while these issues are being fixed,” explained Kristen Merrill, VIA’s vice president, client service.

VIA is using AI to help improve grid safety, reliability, and service quality to customers. “We are pleased to deepen our partnership with VIA after the recent completion of our AI work with TEPCO Transmission following a minority investment in 2016,” commented Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Executive General Manager, Global Innovation and Investments at TEPCO.

TEPCO Power Grid will undertake rigorous testing of VIA’s solution to evaluate how implementation will improve current power system operations. This contingency planning initiative builds upon reinforcement learning AI work previously demonstrated to TEPCO on a small-scale circuit.

About VIA
VIA creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, VIA has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About TEPCO Power Grid Inc.
TEPCO Power Grid Inc. is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc., handling electric power transmission and distribution. It maintains one of the most stable power supplies in the world including 0.06 per household outage per year and outage time of 6 min per household per year (both are actual performance in FY2015) using reliable equipment and advanced technology.

About Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TSE: 9501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest utility in Japan, serving millions of homes and businesses. Worldwide the company has more than 34 subsidiaries and 32 affiliates in eight countries and employs approximately 42,060 people. Consolidated revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, totaled 5.3 trillion Japanese yen. The company was established in 1951 and is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information, visit http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/corpinfo/index-e.html.

VIA Comments Help Inform FERC Decision on Grid Resilience

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously rejected the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed rule, which would have “provided cost recovery for power plants that keep 90 days of fuel onsite,” like nuclear and coal plants. FERC’s decision instead prioritizes long-term grid resilience for the bulk power system.

In October, FERC requested comments from energy stakeholders to help inform this decision. VIA submitted comments that aligned with the Commission’s decision to prioritize long-term grid resilience, and recommended the application of software solutions (like AI) to support this goal. Below is an excerpt from these comments:

The DOE Secretary outlines several concerns that he has with respect to fuel shortages and appears to suggest that nuclear and coal resources should be fully developed to assure Americans that there will be adequate fuel for system reliance. However, even before monies are spent to develop additional domestic energy resources, it is imperative that assessments be done to determine how prepared the national grid operators are to deal with significant impacts to the grid infrastructure.

[…] given the increasing number and severity of weather events in recent years impacting the United States, including but not limited to several extreme hurricanes and the 2014 Polar Vortex, concomitant with the Nation’s aging infrastructure, there is a need for accurate and immediate assessments of grid operations.

Thus, before implementing the DOE’s proposed rule, Via Science first recommends that FERC continue to work with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) and other stakeholders to establish a framework for defining and measuring resilience.

To that end, Via Science uses causal analytics to quickly evaluate grid infrastructure and help operators prioritize the types of resources to deploy and the location for such deployment as needed to mitigate the inherent dangers of weather or other catastrophic events on the ability of ISOs/RTOs to ensure resilient and reliable electric service.

View VIA’s complete comments here.

Via Science Selected by PJM to Help Mitigate Fuel Supply Risks During Extreme Weather Events

Somerville, MA – November 1, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. is pleased to announce that they have been selected by PJM Interconnection LLC to work on a proof-of-concept that will help mitigate risks to fuel supply for electricity generation during extreme weather events.

The interdependence of the United States grid infrastructure makes the delivery of energy across the nation uniquely vulnerable to unpredictable events like extreme weather. While grid operators have spent decades preparing for such risk, the use of artificial intelligence shows great promise for improving grid reliability and security as well as mitigating potential issues before they occur.

Via Science will work on a proof-of-concept with PJM to help identify where specific risks are in the gas and electric interdependency system to ensure the grid is resilient during unexpected events, like a polar vortex.

“We are honored to have been chosen by PJM to help them ensure their more than 65 million customers have safe and reliable electric service, this winter and beyond,” said Colin Gounden, CEO of Via Science. “We are confident that the combination of our software and the decades of expertise within the PJM team will provide a better solution than either of them alone.”

After a live evaluation phase, it is anticipated that this initiative can move to full deployment using Via Science’s new blockchain application, allowing PJM to analyze transmission-specific data without the risks inherent in transferring data.

About Via Science
Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About PJM
PJM Interconnection, founded in 1927, ensures the reliability of the high-voltage electric power system serving 65 million people in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. PJM coordinates and directs the operation of the region’s transmission grid, which includes over 82,000 miles of transmission lines; administers a competitive wholesale electricity market; and plans regional transmission expansion improvements to maintain grid reliability and relieve congestion. PJM’s regional grid and market operations produce annual savings of $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion. For the latest news about PJM, visit PJM Inside Lines at insidelines.pjm.com.

Via Science Accepted into Elemental Excelerator Program

Somerville, MA – October 19, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. today announced that they have been accepted into Elemental Excelerator’s 2018 cohort. As part of the program’s Demonstration Track, Via Science will receive up to $1M to further develop its new blockchain and distributed learning technology, alongside implementation partners.

“We’re thrilled that Elemental Excelerator has accepted us into their program. With their support, we will work with three new transmission and distribution partners on the development of our application,” said Colin Gounden, CEO of Via Science. “One of the biggest challenges when working with energy companies on AI initiatives is gaining access to sensitive data. Our blockchain technology will address these concerns by keeping data on premise and completely anonymous.”

“This was our most competitive application season to date. 450 companies took the first step to apply and only 12 were selected,” says Jill Sims, COO and Head of Innovation Deployment at Elemental Excelerator. “We saw a major trend in the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to energy software. Elemental Excelerator is excited to have Via Science join our portfolio. We are looking forward to the long-term impact of their blockchain technology.” With an acceptance rate of less than 3%, Elemental Excelerator works with their global network of investors and energy industry leaders to identify key technology gaps that remain in the sector.

Elemental Excelerator’s global partners include Enel, National Grid, SK Gas, and several others. For more information, see their recent press release as well as an article published in Pacific Business News.

About Via Science
Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About Elemental Excelerator
Elemental Excelerator helps startups change the world, one community at a time. Each year, we find 12-15 companies that best fit our mission and fund each company up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people’s lives: energy, water, agriculture, and transportation. To date, we have awarded over $22 million to 63 companies. What makes us unique? We co-fund, co-design, and co-develop projects and strategies that improve infrastructure and sustainably enhance communities. Our program is funded by a diverse coalition of utility partners, corporate partners, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Energy, state government, and philanthropic organizations. We are a non-profit created in collaboration with Emerson Collective. More information can be found at elementalexcelerator.com.

Via Science Wins Startup Canada’s Innovation Award for Quebec Region

Montreal, QC – September 13, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. accepted Startup Canada’s 2017 Innovation Award for the Quebec region. This award saw a highly competitive pool of candidates, due in large part to Quebec’s recent emergence as an innovation hub.

The award recognized Via Science’s leadership in using artificial intelligence to solve large-scale, high-stakes challenges across critical infrastructure, particularly in the energy industry. As a regional winner, Via Science will advance to the national awards, which will be announced during the Grand Finale in October.

Patrick Harrison of Intuit QuickBooks presented Via Science with the award and remarked that there was a “parallel between what [Via Science] does and what Intuit does on a daily basis, and that is that we try and use analytics, power of the cloud, and AI to help businesses make more informed decisions”.

Chief Scientific Officer Jeremy Taylor and Team Lead, Data Science Bruno Rousseau accepted this honor on Via Science’s behalf at the awards ceremony in Montreal hosted at Le Gare and Ubisoft.

In February, Via Science was a finalist for Techvibes’ Canadian Startup Awards Technology Innovation award.

Patrick Harrison of Intuit QuickBooks with Via Science’s Chief Scientific Officer, Jeremy Taylor and Team Lead, Data Science, Bruno Rousseau

About Via Science
Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About Startup Canada
Startup Canada is the leading national social enterprise supporting and giving a voice to entrepreneurs through online programs, national awards, flagship events, partnerships with private sector and government to foster a community for startup and small business success across the country. Learn more at www.startupcan.ca.

Via Science Moves Corporate Headquarters to Somerville, Massachusetts

Somerville, Mass. – July 25, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. today announced its commercial team has moved to a new corporate headquarters located in the Davis Square neighborhood of Somerville, Massachusetts. The new headquarters is located just three miles away from their founding headquarters next to MIT and provides their growing team more space, increased privacy, and an easier commute.

“At Via Science, we have always aspired to be as employee-friendly as possible. Davis Square in Somerville is conveniently accessible from Harvard and MIT, and is an easy walk to the commuter rail, which will significantly reduce the commute time for our team,” said CEO Colin Gounden.

The move also signifies a major milestone for the company: their first private building. “The office space will accommodate our growing team as well as visiting clients and investors. We’re also looking forward to hosting our Montreal technical team this year in Somerville for our semi-annual company offsite,” said Kristen Merrill, VP, Client Service.

About Via Science

Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

Via Science and TEPCO Announce Risk Assessment and Predictive Maintenance Initiative

The joint initiative will utilize analytics and machine learning in an effort to improve reliability, efficiency, and service for TEPCO’s customers.

Cambridge, Mass. – July 6, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO), today signed their joint initiative to use analytics and machine learning to predict and prevent power disruption due to failure of ACSRs and compression joint sleeves.

“Our team will analyze data from over 17,000 miles of transmission wires across Japan to determine how TEPCO can improve reliability for their customers and simultaneously reduce equipment and maintenance costs. ACSRs and compression joint sleeves are two types of equipment that are costly, time consuming, and sometimes dangerous to test. Our machine learning analysis aims to resolve this issue by both identifying vulnerable equipment and, uniquely, providing an explanation of why each piece of equipment has been flagged,” said Dr. Bruno Rousseau, Team Leader, Data Science at Via Science.

Rousseau continued, “Solving this challenge would have major implications for TEPCO and utilities globally. All utilities would benefit from having explanations for their maintenance departments and regulators of why their assets are failing so that they can plan and invest accordingly. We are proud to work with TEPCO to build a solution with such wide reaching potential.”

“Improving reliability, efficiency, and service for our customers has always been a top priority. But in our previous experiences using neural network solutions to support these efforts, we found we wanted more insight into the ‘why’ behind the predictions and recommendations. We are excited by Via Science’s potential to provide transparency, which is absolutely essential to decisions that affect our customers and our assets,” said Akira Matsumoto, an engineer in the transmission department of TEPCO Power Grid.

Matsumoto continued, “We decided to work with Via Science because their customer-centric software solution has been proven with agencies such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to prioritize vulnerabilities and make customized recommendations. Via Science’s core patents are in identifying causality, so beyond simply predicting a power outage or a maintenance need, we expect to pinpoint the contributing factors of failure, such as weather, location, or equipment age. Given the cost of manually collecting and analyzing data across our 50,000 assets, these kinds of tools are invaluable.”

In December 2016, TEPCO made a minority investment in Via Science. This project is the first of many related to risk assessment and predictive maintenance to come from the partnership. “We are excited to launch these innovative, operational improvement initiatives with Via Science. We aim to improve reliability to all our 29 million customers by integrating their unique causal analytics software into our network operations,” explained Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Executive General Manager, Global Innovation and Investments at TEPCO.

Update: TEPCO has published their own press release on the initiative as well as an outline of the proof of concept.

About Via Science

Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of high-performance computing, machine learning, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest utility in Japan. We provide electricity primarily to home and business in the Kanto region of Japan, one of the world’s most heavily populated areas. Worldwide the company has more than 74 subsidiaries and affiliates in 8 countries and employs approximately 33,200 people. Operating Revenues for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, totaled 5.4 trillion Japanese yen. The company was established in 1951 and is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information, visit http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/corpinfo/index-e.html.

Via Science’s Focus™ Architecture Nominated for Technology Innovation Award

Via Science was honored to be selected as one of three finalists for Techvibes’ Canadian Startup Awards in the Technology Innovation category. The nomination recognizes Via Science’s Focus™ microservices architecture. Focus™ transformed Via Science’s causal analytics capabilities and laid the groundwork for public safety app, CrimeRadar.

Winners were announced during a gala on Thursday, March 2nd at Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto. Sonia Basili, our Talent Management and Operations Leader attended the event on our behalf. Though, sadly we didn’t take home the award, we congratulate all the winners!

Photo courtesy of Techvibes

Via Science Nominated for Montréal International’s Forum sur l’attractivité

Via Science was nominated as part of Montréal International’s first Greater Montreal Business Attractiveness Forum. The event, part of Montréal International’s 20th anniversary celebration, recognized organizations committed to growing Montreal’s economy, and making it an attractive and competitive investment destination.

Sonia Basili, our Talent Management and Operations Leader, attended the event.

Via Science proudly contributes to Montreal’s growth and development, particularly within the tech sector.

Congratulations to our fellow finalists, and STELIA North America, Danone Canada and Ubisoft for taking home the top honors.

TEPCO Selects Via Science for Strategic Investment

Japan’s largest electric power supplier, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO), has selected Via Science for its first strategic venture investment in machine learning and analytics.

Cambridge, Mass. – December 6, 2016 – Via Science, Inc. a leader in causal analytics, today announced a minority investment by Japan’s largest electric power supplier, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO). TEPCO’s strategic investment includes capital, as well as sharing subject matter expertise and data to improve the reliability and operating efficiencies of power suppliers and their customers through advanced software analytics applications.

Already Japan’s largest electric power supplier, TEPCO is investing heavily in new technologies that even further improve the quality and variety of services it provides to its 29 million customers.

“Analytics is critical to improving the operational efficiency of energy companies today and allowing them to stay ahead of regulatory and technological disruptions. TEPCO’s investment is a validation of Via Science’s leadership in causal analytics for applications such as identifying critical infrastructure that is at high risk for power outages, years in advance. We are truly honored to be their first venture investment in machine learning and analytics,” said Colin Gounden, CEO of Via Science.

Through this investment, TEPCO will gain experience in Via Science’s proprietary causal analytics software, which goes beyond traditional “black box” machine learning to provide transparency into the rationale for recommendations to improve maintenance, service staffing, cybersecurity and resiliency planning. TEPCO’s customers will also benefit from Via Science’s expertise, as new technologies enable improved reliability and new value-added services.

“To find the team and technology best able to handle the unique challenges in the energy industry, our innovation group evaluated large and small analytics companies across North America, Europe and Asia. Via Science’s direct experience with US energy agencies and their ability to support our challenges, such as high volumes of data, regulatory transparency requirements and very long-term risk planning needs for multi-billion dollar investments, made them the best match for TEPCO and our customers,” explained Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Executive General Manager, Global Innovation and Investments at TEPCO.

Update: Pierce Atwood congratulates Via Science on securing TEPCO’s strategic investment.

About Via Science

Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of high-performance computing, machine learning and causal analytics. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with its research center in Montreal, Quebec, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TSE: 9501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest utility in Japan serving more than 29 million homes and businesses. Worldwide the company has more than 74 subsidiaries and affiliates in 8 countries and employs approximately 43,330 people. Consolidated revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, totaled 6.8 trillion Japanese yen. The company was established in 1951 and is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information, visit http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/corpinfo/index-e.html.