# Oral-History:Janis Bubenko

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If you are a mathematician, you think that you have for each model a separate mathematics. Then you have the mathematics in optimization. I can give you an example. We developed here a model by Barklun, one of the students of planning distribution in Germany. He had a city plan and this city plan can be read into the computer. He puts the loads at these points where you have a load. Then he puts the points where the state architects said, "You can build a station here." He has these coordinates and he energizes the system this way. At each point, let's say you have twenty points, and at every point you put a station.

If you are a mathematician, you think that you have for each model a separate mathematics. Then you have the mathematics in optimization. I can give you an example. We developed here a model by Barklun, one of the students of planning distribution in Germany. He had a city plan and this city plan can be read into the computer. He puts the loads at these points where you have a load. Then he puts the points where the state architects said, "You can build a station here." He has these coordinates and he energizes the system this way. At each point, let's say you have twenty points, and at every point you put a station.

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[[Category:People_and_organizations|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Engineers|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Government|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Universities|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Power,_energy_&_industry_application|Category:Power,_energy_&_industry_application]] [[Category:Power_engineering|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Power_engineering_computing|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Power_system_simulation|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Power_generation|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Power_generation_planning|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Culture_and_society|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Defense_&_security|Category:Defense_&_security]] [[Category:World_War_II|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:International_affairs_&_development|Category:International_affairs_&_development]] [[Category:Education|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:IEEE|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Engineering_profession|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Engineering_education|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Power_engineering_education|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Engineering_students|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:Professional_communication|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]] [[Category:News|Oral-History:Janis Bubenko]]

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+ + [[Category:People and organizations|Bubenko]] [[Category:Engineers|Bubenko]] [[Category:Government|Bubenko]] [[Category:Universities|Bubenko]] [[Category:Power, energy & industry application|Bubenko]] [[Category:Power engineering|Bubenko]] [[Category:Power engineering computing|Bubenko]] [[Category:Power system simulation|Bubenko]] [[Category:Power generation|Bubenko]] [[Category:Power generation planning|Bubenko]] [[Category:Culture and society|Bubenko]] [[Category:Defense & security|Bubenko]] [[Category:World War II|Bubenko]] [[Category:International affairs & development|Bubenko]] [[Category:Education|Bubenko]] [[Category:IEEE|Bubenko]] [[Category:Engineering profession|Bubenko]] [[Category:Engineering education|Bubenko]] [[Category:Power engineering education|Bubenko]] [[Category:Engineering students|Bubenko]] [[Category:Professional communication|Bubenko]] [[Category:News|Bubenko]]

## Contents

Janis Bubenko

Janis Bubenko, born in Latvia in 1911, developed an early interest in electrical engineering, receiving a 1936 master's of science degree at Latvia University in Riga. Bubenko worked for two years as assistant to a professor of electrical systems, subsequently receiving an associate professorship. Bubenko's interests focused on energy economy and the implications of Latvia's new hydropower plant. The 1940 annexation of Latvia by the Soviet Union restricted Bubenko's academic opportunities, and he took industrial employment with Riga Electrical Utility while continuing at the University as a lecturer. Working at the Riga Electrical Utility through 1944, Bubenko planned the power distribution system. In the interview, Bubenko recalls Soviet and German occupation of Latvia and narrates his flight from warfare to Gotland, Sweden, in October 1944. In Sweden, he worked on lighting and electrical power installation and on laboratory design for four years before spending six months working in South Africa in 1949. Returning to Sweden, Bubenko worked at Chalmers University and received a licentiate degree in distribution planning.

Bubenko then spent ten years working at the Swedish Power Board, where he used computer calculations and models of power plants and systems. This led to Bubenko's workin the early international power systems conferences of the 1960s, including the 1966 power systems composition conference in Stockholm. Bubenko describes his role in these early conferences, as well as in the Conference on Intelligence Systems Application to Power Systems he started in the 1980s.

Bubenko also began lecturing on computer applications while working at the Swedish Power Board, which led to his appointment as a professor on the electricity faculty at the Royal Institute of Technology. Bubenko filled the position of professor from 1967 through 1987; he describes the Institute's growth in electrotechnical education during this period, as well as his own mentorship of thirty doctoral students from Sweden and elsewhere. At the time of this interview, Bubenko continued working at the Royal Institute of Technology through a program bringing Latvian students to Sweden. He describes his work to fund and promote this program and to mentor students. Simultaneously, Bubenko worked with the “Tempest Project,” a three-year educational program at Riga, Latvia, funded by the European Union.

In the concluding section of the interview, Bubenko assesses the state of power engineering in Latvia, describing the influence of politics on its evolution. He then assesses technology transfer across Europe, as well as international professional communication in power engineering research. The functions of publications, including an international journal Bubenko helped establish in 1978, and of international professional societies receive attention in this conversation. Bubenko also desribes the structure and function of the electrical power systems division as part of the Royal Institute of Technology department of electric power engineering.

Bubenko died in 2002.

Janis Bubenko: An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 15 July 1996

Interview #299 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

JANIS BUBENKO, an oral history conducted in 1996 by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

## Interview

INTERVIEW: Janis Bubenko

INTERVIEWER: Frederik Nebeker

DATE: July 15, 1996

PLACE: Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

### Background and electrical engineering education

Nebeker:

Where and when were you born and where did you go to school?

Bubenko:

I was born in the north of Latvia, the Baltic states in 1911, on the first of October. I had three brothers. My father was an engineer for the railway. Early on, I began to get some ideas about electricity and the way it works. I went to the middle school, the Gymnasium, and we had only one light. I thought, “there must be a way to get more.” I decided to become an electrical engineer. I started my studies in 1929 in Riga at Latvia University at Riga. Riga was Latvia’s main city. At the time, there was no faculty assigned to teaching electricity. but there were faculty members specializing in mechanics. A portion of the department was made up of electrical engineers. I studied there and received my master’s of science in 1936.

Nebeker:

Was there a diploma in engineering?

Bubenko:

Yes, there was a diploma in engineering. It was a four to five year course of study that was equivalent to a master’s degree.

Nebeker:

A master’s in engineering?

### Academic and industrial employment, 1930s-1940s

Bubenko:

Yes. I was very much interested in electricity and the professors liked that, and I became an assistant to a professor of electrical systems. He died after two years, and then there was the question of who would take over the chair. All the engineers were in competition. The younger professors supported me and the older professors supported another candidate. There were more voices for me, and I became an associate professor. I was just an engineer. I had no time to do doctoral work. At this time, a new hydropower plant was built in Latvia. My work was on the costs of this energy for the country. I was interested in energy economy. I had read a book by Schneider on this subject.

Nebeker:

Was that fairly new at the time?

Bubenko:

It was very new. This has been an interest of mine for my entire life. This was in 1938. Two years later, the second World War started. In 1939, the Russians came in and Latvians were not very well accepted. I ended up losing my appointment at the school, although I could still lecture on the topic. I then started working for the Riga Electrical Utility. I did practical work in industry, and at the same time gave lectures at the university. In Latvia, we had the same type of system they had in Germany. We had student cooperatives. The head of the utility said, “Come and work with us.” I did practical work there and gained some experience.

Nebeker:

What did you do for the utility?

Bubenko:

I worked on the distribution system.

Nebeker:

Were you designing the distribution system?

Bubenko:

Yes, planning the distribution system, because the system was old. When new power came in you had to recalculate and rearrange how it was distributed. The twenty kilowatt system was introduced as a distribution system. We had good cooperation with the Germans at this time, until the Russians came in and that was followed by World War II, between 1940 and 1944. I then moved over from the Riga State Utility to the government utility. In Sweden, there is the Vattenfall, a big utility. The energy production and transmission were done by this utility. I was the chief engineer in energy production. I remained there until 1944.

Nebeker:

So you were no longer teaching?

Bubenko:

I was still teaching. But, I was teaching only two subjects, electrical systems and electrical economy. I had enough time to work. I think this combination was very, very successful.

Nebeker:

Was there a course in electrical economy before you?

Bubenko:

No.

Nebeker:

You introduced that course?

Bubenko:

I introduced it. I took it from a German book.

Nebeker:

Who was the author again?

Bubenko:

Schneider. Professor Schneider. It was a real success for me to do something that I liked. In this way, the time passed through 1944. There was difficulty supplying people with food.

### Russian and German occupation of Latvia; WWII

Nebeker:

Was Latvia occupied by the Germans during the war?

Bubenko:

Yes.

Nebeker:

Until the Russians came back through in 1944?

Bubenko:

Exactly. We had already experienced the Russians. The Russians had been there for one year, that was 1940. In 1940 hundreds, thousands, maybe more, were sent to Siberia.

Nebeker:

Work camps?

Bubenko:

We were occupied. Many people remained in Siberia, and many people died there, but some returned. I listened to the radio, to get the information. When we could hear the Russian guns, perhaps twenty kilometers from Riga, I strapped myself to a motorcycle. My family had immigrated already, some three or four months before, to Germany. Germans helped people flee to Germany, and hundreds of thousands of people fled. Afterwards they went to the United States, and to Australia, and to Canada and to all these other places. My family was in Germany already. I went to the west coast of Latvia, where we had a power plant. We had good contacts with people and they arranged with fishermen. I got a place on the boat and came over to Gotland at the end of October, 1944.

### Sweden; South Africa

Nebeker:

How did you choose Gotland?

Bubenko:

That was the nearest Swedish place.

Nebeker:

It was clear that Germany was losing the war?

Bubenko:

We didn't think about that. We just wanted to get away from the danger. For me, it was not so difficult to get attached to Sweden. I had been there before. I had received a Swedish state scholarship, and was at university there for a couple of months.

Nebeker:

Bubenko:

I had become acquainted with people at the university, at RBB, the Swedish Power Board, and Utility Stockholm, all these places. It was very easy when I came here, people said, "You are very welcome." They took me to Professor Wilander, a professor in electrical equipment. I started my work here, because these buildings were built at that time. I did much of the work on constructing the lighting and electrical power. They have now changed all the equipment, and taken out all the old machines. I look through the window and see how the things which we planned forty years ago have all gone. I was in Sweden for three or four years.

Nebeker:

In what capacity? Were you teaching or studying?

Bubenko:

No, no. I was working in design. Designing the installations and the laboratory equipment and so on. All that you need for electricity. In 1949, the Russians were still at Bornholm, that is an island.

Nebeker:

The Danish island?

Bubenko:

Yes. The Russians were still there, and many people left here. They asked for a visa to the United States. Somehow I came into contact with people from South Africa. They said, “Come to us.” We went in 1949 to South Africa. It was just an experience and nothing more. After six months, we came back. My wife was saying, “No, no, not here, not with these black people, we will go back to Sweden.” We returned to Sweden. This same professor had consulting work in Stalin's network, and he said, “You can help me.” I worked for him one time, and then I went to this place and started to construct the network. Then someone came from Gothenburg, and said, "Why are you sitting here? You should come to Chalmers." Chalmers is a university. He was from Gothenburg's utility. He said, "We are giving money to Chalmers University. You can get some money and work on something you will like." We packed our few things and went to Gothenburg. In Gothenburg I worked on my licentiate degree. You see, now we have three degrees. We have a master’s degree in civil engineering, then we have a licentiate degree and we have a doctoral degree. My degree was in distribution planning. We remained in Gothenburg for five years. I was already at this time in touch with the Swedish Power Board. Suddenly one of the directors said, "You could come to us and help."

### AIEE/IEEE membership

Bubenko:

I was a member of IEEE from the very, very beginning. Very early.

Nebeker:

Why did you join?

Bubenko:

I received the journals and literature. I could read about computer applications. This was very interesting to me.

Nebeker:

How did you learn English? Was that taught at Riga University?

Bubenko:

At school. The English that I am speaking now came later. When I was here, I had to make connections with English-speaking people.

### Swedish Power Board; analog and digital computers

Bubenko:

In any case, I got the job at the Swedish Power Board. They had there a big network analyzer.

Nebeker:

An analog computer?

Bubenko:

An analog computer. I started to think about computers. There was a Swedish fellow who bought a factory in California for small computers. There was only a small market in the United States. He sent twenty computers here to Sweden for distribution and that equipment came to us. There were still electronic valves at that time.

Nebeker:

Bubenko:

Yes, things like that. We started to work with these computers. There were questions about how to build power plants. What kind of power plants should we build? Should they be water or servo plants? At the present time Sweden has fifty percent water plants and fifty percent nuclear plants. At that time, there were more water plants, because the total demand was not as great as it is now. We also had questions about the yearly usage of the water magazines. We wanted to calculate how to use the water in the small magazines of these power plants. This was our first job.

Nebeker:

So you were planning for all of Sweden, and you were using an analog network analyzer of a sort?

Bubenko:

No, the analog was for electrical and mathematical problems. This was a mathematical problem.

Nebeker:

I see, so you modeled the whole system?

Bubenko:

Yes. They had been doing this by hand. We had to move all of this from hand calculations to the computers. It was very successful, and people liked it. It was interesting that our chief engineer, she was the director of a research department, never believed that you could calculate nonlinear, complex systems by computer. You must have an analog computer. But we showed it could be done. We wrote a program with load flowing, short circuit, and stability, and all these things started to go.

Nebeker:

Bubenko:

Yes. We were using digital. We were very early.

### Power systems conferences

Bubenko:

This was the end of the 1950s, already, so that people were writing down that we were one of the first in Europe. In 1962, I traveled to Germany, and I met with Professor Richard Baumann and talked with him. He was a mathematician. He was also using computer synthesis. I had attended the Pica Conferences in Arizona, and in Toronto. I said to Baumann, "Can we offer such a conference here in Stockholm, in Europe?" He replied, “Yes.” In 1963, we had our first conference in power systems composition.

Nebeker:

Who were the sponsors of this conference?

Bubenko:

The first one, in 1963, was in London. In 1966 it was in Stockholm, and in 1969 it was in Rome. In 1972 it was in Paris and so on. We moved around the whole system. I was very active in ten of the conferences. After that, young people were coming in, and I was not so active in these later conferences. I initiated another conference and this was the Conference on Intelligence Systems Application to Power Systems. The first conference was in 1988. [Unclear chronology?] Then in 1986 or 1987, it was in Lisbon, and the first papers came in this area. There were four universities who organized this first conference here: The University of California, the University of Tokyo, and one in Australia. The second time it was in Canada, after three years, and then it was in Tokyo. I am, quite active internationally, in this way. You should ask me, what has happened here. I came here in 1965.

Nebeker:

Bubenko:

In 1965, I went to the Power Board, and I was there for ten years. They liked the professor/workers, and they said, “You can give lectures and teach.” I started to give lectures on computer applications. There was a book I used, a section was written by Glenstag. Have you heard the name?

Nebeker:

No.

Bubenko:

He and several others wrote a book, “Modern Power System Analysis" and I used it.

Nebeker:

So when did you start lecturing here?

Bubenko:

At the beginning of the 1960s, something like that. Then suddenly the chief engineer here died. The professor who argued against me said, "Would you like to come here and have his job?" I said, "OK, I will take his job!" I thought that I had the time and could extend my lecturing and take on more activity.

### Royal Institute of Technology professorship

Bubenko:

I came here in 1965, but after two years they moved me over from my job to the electricity faculty.

Nebeker:

So you were hired originally as an engineer by the department?

Bubenko:

Yes. That was in 1967. In 1969 new rules were established about hiring in doctoral education. The educational system was reorganized here. We built a secretariat at the institute and I was very active there. This was 1967, and later, in 1976 or something like that, we became a department, the electrical systems department. In 1977, I was close to retirement. I had received from the government and the king, the title of professor.

Nebeker:

I don't quite understand that. You mean you were named a professor by the government?

Bubenko:

Yes, I was named as a professor by the government. Normally, you have to apply for an empty professorship. I was not employed as a professor, but I had a professor's title. This is special, in Sweden.

Nebeker:

That's not done very often?

Bubenko:

No. Our director is now getting the order of doctor in Italian. By 1977, we had the department, and we the money. I was paid better, but I was not a regular professor. When we received the money, I was already sixty-six years old and was working as a substitute. We were very interested in educating Ph.D.'s. We became the best electrotechnical department. Twice we announced the professorship, but we couldn't get the good names. The third time we announced the position, and in 1987 we got Professor Anderson. He came from Australia. He's in physics, a mathematician, he came from Schauf, Sweden, but he had worked in Australia. During this time, we had produced thirty doctoral and licentiate degrees. We were very successful.

Nebeker:

I know that Swedish power engineering is famous.

Bubenko:

Very good. The Swedes have contributed a lot to the field. If you look at some of the people in the field you will notice this. One of the first was Bosvern in Malaysia. He completed this big project very successfully. He's ASEA's director.

Nebeker:

Chief engineer?

[OTHER VOICE]:

Managing director.

Bubenko:

Managing director. He is building a very big project in Malaysia with a projected cost of thirty or forty billion crowns. There are other people around as well. Erik Sanji is my student. He's a professor of electrical equipment here.

Nebeker:

How many doctoral students have you had?

Bubenko:

Thirty.

Nebeker:

And how many of those were from outside of Sweden?

Bubenko:

There were a number, but not so many foreign students as there are now. I had Fikri from Pakistan. There were two from China. One from China is very famous. He is one of the leading people in China. There was one from Spain. Most were Swedish fellows. Most of them have been in the United States and have studied at places like the university near San Francisco.

Nebeker:

Stanford?

Bubenko:

Stanford. There, and other places. So in 1987, Anderson took over.

Nebeker:

I see. So from 1977 to 1987, you filled the professorship?

Bubenko:

Yes. I filled this position from 1967 onward.

Nebeker:

It wasn't made permanent until 1977?

Bubenko:

Twenty years. For twenty years I did this. Now you should ask me why I am sitting here. What am I doing here?

### Programs for Latvian students

Bubenko:

I am now working for the people in my native country. Last year there were ten masters' students here.

Nebeker:

Ten masters’ students from Latvia?

Bubenko:

Yes. They are working on their projects.

Nebeker:

Did you help arrange this?

Bubenko:

Yes. I helped arrange to get the money and I have worked with Latvia to encourage the students. I have received a doctorate from Latvia as well. This is what I am doing. We now have four licentiate students here. One is a girl. She is working on distribution programming. We have three different models. She is studying and comparing the models. It is very good to have Latvians here. We have also arranged for a three-year educational program in Riga, Latvia. This is called the “Tempest Project.” It is a European Unity project. The money comes from Brussels. We offer three different courses: Energy economy, energy efficiency and systems control. The energy efficiency course was the first one offered by the Swedish Power Board. They have a large project, Project 2000, and they emphasize production and utilization. We are selecting people from Sweden, from Finland, from Norway, and from Germany. They are good professors, and they give their lectures in English.

Nebeker:

In Riga?

Bubenko:

Yes. This has been very successful. Most courses are now given by people in Riga for themselves. They are very glad for that. Now we are thinking about the next Tempest courses. The name has something to do with energy systems. We are working together with Southern European countries, especially Portugal. Portugal has a lady professor who is head of this agreement with Brussels and funds our efforts. They not only fund the courses, they also send representatives to the various countries to monitor the courses. They pay for the equipment, so that they are buying computers and things like that. Things are going ahead. In the coming three years, perhaps there will be more projects. In my opinion, we should take some of these people who have been here, and let them do projects themselves, so that they can get higher degrees. The four students working here have been here for two and a half years.

### Career overview

Nebeker:

Can I ask you for an overview of your career? You mentioned that energy economy has been a principle concern of yours throughout your career. Is that right?

Bubenko:

And, also, computer applications to energy systems. I have one son, and he is also a professor at this school. He is a professor of computer science. When we lived in Gothenberg, he studied at Chalmers Technical University. In the middle of his studies, we moved over, my wife and myself, and he remained there. During his summer vacation, he came to visit and worked. In the evenings he came to our computer, and I taught him computer science. So that when he went back to Gothenberg, nobody could do these things. He was very famous. After he finished and earned his licentiate degree and doctorate at Gothenberg he worked as a professor there for four years. After that he moved over here and became a professor here.

### Computer applications to energy systems, computer models

Nebeker:

Could I ask about computer applications to energy systems? You mentioned already working for the Swedish Power Board, where you were modeling the energy system for the whole country, and you were doing computer models to make decisions about the use of certain facilities and so on. What other sorts of computer applications have you been involved in? Has it mainly been systems modeling?

Bubenko:

I worked at the Swedish Power Board at the planning division. We did the computer application work in planning. Then you come to analytical system planning, and economic planning, reliability planning - all these things. What you need to do is to develop the systems.

Nebeker:

So you were concerned not only with analyzing and controlling an existing system, but planning future systems?

Bubenko:

Exactly. We not only developed the models, but made the calculations for development. After a time, this was becoming more popular, the Swedish Power Board started to use computer applications. It moved ahead fast. All of this meant we could find some younger people who were interested in the field. Such as yourself and these boys and girls from Riga. When they go back, they are employed by the state company for the country. They are working at the universities, teaching the rest of the young people. So that things are moving ahead.

Nebeker:

Could I ask about these computer models? Is it the case that you work toward very large models that are able to be used in different ways? Or does every question have its own model? If you’re asking an economy question, you have one type of model.

Bubenko:

If you are a mathematician, you think that you have for each model a separate mathematics. Then you have the mathematics in optimization. I can give you an example. We developed here a model by Barklun, one of the students of planning distribution in Germany. He had a city plan and this city plan can be read into the computer. He puts the loads at these points where you have a load. Then he puts the points where the state architects said, "You can build a station here." He has these coordinates and he energizes the system this way. At each point, let's say you have twenty points, and at every point you put a station.

[End tape one, side one]

Bubenko:

At each point you put a station. A transformer station. He drew in the streets, cables to the points where you'd have the loads. The way he drew all the streets, all the demand points were satisfied. Then he started to take away one station after another. He is extending the network, putting in new cables, and all the time he is calculating, electrically, the system. What are the currents? What are the losses? What are the voltage depths? He is calculating the network costs, loss costs and station costs together, until the costs start to go down. Then the costs start to grow, and then he is getting to the optimum point. This is not a very popular model. This is a linear model. In Latvia, Belmann has developed a dynamic optimization model. They compare factors differently. If I do this, what happens? They are taking again, one dynamic point, which gives you the minimum costs. But now, what you Americans are doing, you are not looking to one point. The Americans are saying, “We have to look to the whole system.” In that case, I use for the whole system some criteria, which is typical for the whole system. And what is this criteria? This criteria is reliability. You need reliability for the whole system. This is doing it quite a different way. You have to calculate reliability to all the points. A couple of new models are coming in, and calculating reliability produces a better design, because each outage costs money. Then you introduce the costs for the outage. But the whole system is never out. "Out" is a part of the system. It means that you are taking in Europe, the cost from the heart of the system, not from some point, like the first time, when you had this linear program. You have the same problem in system dynamics. The system starts to oscillate, and this is a huge area. This is an area which we consider here quite a lot.

### System stability, network analyzers

Nebeker:

Yes, system stability.

Bubenko:

System stability. The stability could be in different areas. The stabilities could be in load stability, when you have unstable loads. But, stability could also be in the voltage, when the voltage is unstable. System stability and optimization are areas this institute is working on.

Nebeker:

Some of the very earliest calculating devices, Vannevar Bush's differential analyzer in the 1930s, were constructed for these power system stability problems.

Bubenko:

Bush's analyzer?

Nebeker:

Differential analyzer. It was an electromechanical computer built in 1930.

Bubenko:

We had that here as well. But, now the systems are very big. If we look to the Swedish system, then you can't get into the whole system in one analyzer. One must extend the analyzer. I spent a couple of months with American Electric Power, with Glenstag, and they have thrown away these network analyzers and said, “we will make the calculations.” In calculations you can reduce the system in very different ways. I think that gives you very many mathematical possibilities.

### Power engineering in Latvia

Nebeker:

Right, it gives you much more flexibility. Could I ask about your connections with Latvia. How was it, in the years after World War II? Did you have connections with Latvia?

Bubenko:

No. The first time I went back was in 1990 for an international conference.

Nebeker:

And how did power engineering in Latvia compare at that time to Swedish power engineering?

Bubenko:

Russia has very good mathematics, and computer applications, too. The political situation, however, made everything very difficult. Nobody knew how long he would be there, what they could or could not see. The Communist Party had to be consulted.

Nebeker:

So the political aspects hurt the engineering?

Bubenko:

Exactly. The scholarly relationships were not the same there as they are here. Here we are always helping each other. I treat my students here like my friends, like my sons and daughters. That was not the same in Latvia. The middle-aged people, they are a difficult problem for the whole country. They were brought up under a corrupt system. They had to lie and do bad things. The Russians were there for fifty years. The young people are quite different. They will return our country to the old, good Latvia that it was.

Nebeker:

Have things improved very much, since the Russians left?

Bubenko:

I think that they have improved. As an example, one of the female students, Victoria, is a very good mathematician. She is not really one hundred percent Latvian. Her mother is Russian and her father is Lithuanian, but the father is professor at the university and the mother is working there, too. They are becoming Latvians, and she is now married to a Latvian boy. We have another student who married here. She became a Latvian. Very good girl. There was a boy, he spoke very good English and was very successful here. He worked with ASCEA and wrote a very good report for one of the professors who is working on control processes. He is working partly in Riga, partly here. During the lecture season he is here, but other times he is working on the Latvian network and Latvian systems.

### International exchange of technology in Europe

Nebeker:

In Europe, is there a very good exchange of technology from country to country?

Bubenko:

I think there is, yes. There is a very good exchange here in Scandinavia. I will show you. This is Scandinavia. Sweden is in the middle, Finland is on the right, and Norway is on the left.

Nebeker:

So there's already a connected power system?

Bubenko:

Already connected. What is left is to connect all this part, here, and build a Baltic ring. What is more interesting is, a girl with the Swedish Power Board is the chief of this project. So I think you should talk with her, not with me. There was a very nice article in one of the newspapers yesterday, about her and what she is doing.

Nebeker:

Just so that this will be understandable on the tape, you are showing me a map of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark with an interconnected power system. And you're saying that the Baltic states are going to be included in this?

Bubenko:

Yes. We will build a cable from Finland to Estonia, and then from Estonia there are already connections to Latvia. And then we will run it from Estonia to Poland.

Nebeker:

I see, so Poland will be included as well?

Bubenko:

Yes. There will be a cable from south Sweden over to Poland. There will also be a cable from Norway to the rest of Europe. The project will be financed by Europa Unity. What will be the most interesting part is that the two networks - East and West, could not work together. They are not the same frequencies. They will be connected by DC links. This will be very interesting. I will talk with this girl to see if I can take some students from Riga and let them work on this project. This connection was written about yesterday in the newspapers. There will also be another connection from Gotland over to Latvia. This accomplishment will be historically significant. It will take perhaps thirty years to build the whole ring and it will cost thirty or forty billion dollars.

### Electrical Power Systems Division, Royal Institute of Technology

Bubenko:

You need this network for many reasons. This center is a part of these electrical power systems.

Nebeker:

So it's one division of this department of electric power engineering?

Bubenko:

Yes.

Nebeker:

Have you always been associated with electric power systems?

Bubenko:

I have worked here as an associate, but not only an associate.

Nebeker:

You started it?

Bubenko:

Yes. We have another center, in cooperation with industry, which receives money from the government. We are working in two areas: one area is distribution problems, and the other area is electrical machines, drives and electronics. We have people from ASEA, RBB, the Swedish Power Board and from the network working with us. This center is at a little higher level. It is not educational, but is already at the utilization level. The center could be a part of the research process, but it is research for a specific purpose.

Nebeker:

That partly answers a question that I had. Sometimes in the electrical engineering departments there is the critique that the research gets farther and farther from the practice. Very often research results don't have a very immediate application. There can be a divergence between the practical concerns and the research interests.

Bubenko:

I think that it's very difficult to do that. You should understand that the people who are coming here do not have experience. They are young engineers, and it is difficult for them to start something which is used in practice. I will give you some sample theses and these are all from Ph.D. students.

Nebeker:

Bubenko:

Bussarin’s thesis was, “Mathematical Programming Methods for Short-Term Operation of Electric Power Systems.” Anderson’s thesis was, “On the Reliability Evolution for Short-Term Operation of Part Power Systems.” The people doing work here are trying to mathematically formulate these things. Practical people say, “no, we don't need this. What we need to know is it stable or not.”

Nebeker:

So you have here thirty doctoral theses that have been done under your direction?

Bubenko:

Yes.

Nebeker:

How many of these would you say have had some direct application? I mean, the model or the methods that were developed for the doctoral theses did many of them have any immediate application?

Bubenko:

I don't think so. I'm not working in this direction. I am not only looking to develop a man who can do an excellent job, but I want one who has a head. Now, for example, Bussarin did this project in Malaysia. Anderson did work with Billington. Billington is a reliability man in Canada. He spent six months researching the reliability of a part-power system for a short-term operation. He is now researching how to use electricity efficiently, how to produce electricity and how to support electricity. He can do all of this. Good job. You must be a man, who worked and developed something. Now he can do some other work. We get the money from the utilities, ASCEA and from the Swedish Power Board.

Nebeker:

They were supporting these graduate students?

Bubenko:

They were supporting and at the same time they were giving the money, and saying what they would like them to work on. Certe is now with us. His thesis was, “An Assessment of Binge Power in Hydro-Thermal Power Systems." This is quite interesting. This is an alternative energy source, and more and more, people are starting to be interested. He now teaches many people. He is now an associate professor with us.

Nebeker:

So industry has some say in what problems are studied here, because they are supporting the doctoral students?

Bubenko:

Yes. Here is another thesis by Ilya Vaklund entitled "Reactor Modeling of Regional Electrical Systems." This is what I was referring to when I spoke of planning the future network. He is now a consulting engineer.

Nebeker:

So, in short, this is all practical knowledge, is what you're saying?

Bubenko:

The students are taught to work, and it depends on how they use their training. It depends on what kind of work they get. Some people get more interesting jobs, and some get less interesting jobs. Some of their research is good for practical use, and some is not. The main thing is, that they must be good mathematicians, model-builders, programmers and good at computer applications. When you have this training, then you can put it all together.

Nebeker:

Yes, to handle whatever problems they have to deal with.

Bubenko:

Exactly.

### AIEE and IEEE activities

Nebeker:

You mentioned earlier that you joined IEEE at an early age. I assume that was the American Institute of Electrical Engineers that you joined, before it became IEEE. And you did that partly because you valued their publications, is that right?

Bubenko:

Yes and their conferences. I liked it very much.

Nebeker:

I imagine that there have been many more international conferences since 1963 when the Institute of Radio Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers had their conference.

Bubenko:

There was a power systems conference here last year in June.

Nebeker:

Have you been active in the Swedish IEEE?

Bubenko:

Not very much. There is not so very much activity in it. IEEE’s role is to inform us of the things that are going on in the field.

Nebeker:

Another large area of IEEE activity is standards. It works very hard to arrive at standards for different areas of electrical engineering.

Bubenko:

Yes, but we do not often work in this area.

### International scholarly communication in power engineering

Nebeker:

It sounds like there's a pretty good international exchange in the power field, not only among Europeans, but worldwide. Is that right?

Bubenko:

It is. We have ten doctoral students, and half of them are foreigners. One from Germany, one from Africa, and one from Latvia, and another who I cannot remember where he is from.

OTHER VOICE:

We have one coming from Yugoslavia. One coming soon, in September.

Nebeker:

So there's a very good international understanding in this area?

Bubenko:

Yes. There is very good communication between the Scandinavian countries. Perhaps not so much between the students, but the professors are meeting each year and discussing questions.

Nebeker:

What about with the former Soviet Union, or, I should say, with Russia? Is there good communication there?

Bubenko:

Ha! We foreigners, we don't like Russia, so there is very little communication. We had a very famous professor, Reynikoff, doing work on stability, and I knew him. We have met in conferences and so on. I haven't been to Russia.

Nebeker:

Have you ever felt that you were an outsider in the Swedish engineering community.

Bubenko:

No, not at all.

Nebeker:

You've always felt fully accepted.

Bubenko:

Yes. In some way, sometimes a little too much. In the last few years, because I am so old, I think younger people are keeping more to themselves. But I have no problem with that.

### Influential publications in power engineering

Nebeker:

Earlier, you mentioned the book by Schneider on energy economy. What other books, textbooks, have been very important in the field of power engineering? Can you name some of them?

Bubenko:

Yes. The book by Glenstag was the first book on power system analysis and computer application research. There is also the book written by Padiyah and on electrical power systems analysis. There are also all the books written by the Americans. We have a very rich private library. We look at what is new at IEEE, and then we order the books.

Nebeker:

So there's a very good exchange of literature?

Bubenko:

Yes, a very good exchange. Ford's stability book is also a good one.

Nebeker:

Is there one book that has shaped your career and guided you?

Bubenko:

No. These books were written in different time periods, and all of them contained something new and different.

Nebeker:

Is there anything I didn't ask about that you'd like to comment on?

Bubenko:

I've already said it. Will you take these doctoral theses?

Nebeker:

Yes, I would appreciate those.

### Electric power and energy systems journal

Bubenko:

There is something I wanted to mention. We established a journal on electric power and energy systems. There were four of us who started it. There was Dillon, Lautern, Sashimi, and me.

Nebeker: