Online Learning and Distributed Control for Residential Demand Response

Xin Chen, Yingying Li, Jun Shimada, Na Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper studies the automated control method for regulating air conditioner (AC) loads in incentive-based residential demand response (DR). The critical challenge is that the customer responses to load adjustment are uncertain and unknown in practice. In this paper, we formulate the AC control problem in a DR event as a multi-period stochastic optimization that integrates the indoor thermal dynamics and customer opt-out status transition. Specifically, machine learning techniques including Gaussian process and logistic regression are employed to learn the unknown thermal dynamics model and customer opt-out behavior model, respectively. We consider two typical DR objectives for AC load control: 1) minimizing the total demand, 2) closely tracking a regulated power trajectory. Based on the Thompson sampling framework, we propose an online DR control algorithm to learn customer behaviors and make real-time AC control schemes. This algorithm considers the influence of various environmental factors on customer behaviors and is implemented in a distributed fashion to preserve the privacy of customers. Numerical simulations demonstrate the control optimality and learning efficiency of the proposed algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4843-4853
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • distributed algorithm
  • incentive-based demand response
  • Online learning
  • uncertain customer behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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