AMES (Version Release 1.31)
Downloads, Manuals, and Tutorials

Last Updated: 29 June 2008

Site maintained by:
Leigh Tesfatsion
Professor of Economics and Mathematics
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011-1070
tesfatsi AT

AMES Market Package Homepage

Electricity Market Open-Source Software
IEEE Task Force on Open-Source Software
Agent-Based Computational Economics (ACE)
ACE Electricity Research
ISU Electric Energy Economics (E3) Group
AMES Market Package Schematic

Software Release Disclaimer:
The AMES Market Package is our software implementation, in Java, of the AMES Wholesale Power Market Test Bed. This software, provided below, is unsupported and provided as-is, without warranty of any kind.

Table of Contents:

Software Overview

The wholesale power market design proposed by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in an April 2003 white paper [FERC 2003] encompasses the following core features: central oversight by an independent market operator; a two-settlement system consisting of a day-ahead market supported by a parallel real-time market to ensure continual balancing of supply and demand for power; and management of grid congestion by means of Locational Marginal Pricing (LMP), i.e., the pricing of power by the location and timing of its injection into, or withdrawal from, the transmission grid.

Versions of FERC’s market design have been implemented (or scheduled for implementation) in U.S. energy regions in the Midwest (MISO), New England (ISO-NE), New York (NYISO), the mid-Atlantic states (PJM), California (CAISO), the southwest (SPP), and Texas (ERCOT). Nevertheless, strong criticism of the design persists. Part of this criticism stems from the concerns of non-adopters about the suitability of the design for their regions due to distinct local conditions (e.g., hydroelectric power in the northwest). Even in regions adopting the design, however, criticisms continue to be raised about market performance.

One key problem for participants in wholesale power markets restructured in accordance with FERC’s design is a lack of full transparency regarding market operations. Due in great part to the complexity of the market design in its various actual implementations, the business practices manuals and other public documents released by market operators are daunting to read and difficult to comprehend. Moreover, in many energy regions (e.g., MISO), data is only posted in partial and masked form with a significant time delay. The result is that many participants are wary regarding the efficiency, reliability, and fairness of market protocols (e.g., settlement practices and market power mitigation rules). Moreover, outsiders (e.g., university researchers) are hindered from subjecting the design to systematic testing in an open and impartial manner.

As elaborated in Sun and Tesfatsion (2007a), Sun and Tesfatsion (2007b), and Li, Sun, and Tesfatsion (2008), the AMES Wholesale Power Market Test Bed is being developed as a “simple but not too simple” computational laboratory for the systematic experimental study of wholesale power markets restructured in accordance with FERC's market design. AMES is an acronym for Agent-based Modeling of Electricity Systems.

The objective is the facilitation of research, teaching, and training, not commercial-grade application. The release of AMES as an open-source package is intended to encourage the cumulative development of this test bed by others (as well as ourselves) in directions appropriate for their specific needs. It is also intended to encourage continual dialog with market stakeholders and regulators leading to successive refinements and improvements of the test bed. To further these purposes, AMES has been constructed (in Java) to have an extensible modular architecture and an easily-navigated graphical user interface (GUI). The following section discusses these features in greater detail.

Software Features

Version 1.31 of the AMES Market Package -- hereafter referred to as AMES(V1.31) -- incorporates the following features:

The reinforcement learning of the GenCos is implemented by the free open-source Java Reinforcement Learning Module (JReLM) developed by Gieseler (2005). JReLM can implement a variety of different reinforcement learning methods, permitting flexible representation of trader learning within this family of methods.

At the beginning of each run with learning GenCos a "competitive equilibrium benchmark" is first calculated off line in which the GenCos' true supply data is used to solve for LMPs and power commitments. Comparing subsequent market outcomes under learning with competitive equilibrium benchmark outcomes permits the calculation of standard market performance measures such as market efficiency and market power.

The ISO determines hourly power supply commitments and LMPs for the day-ahead market by solving hourly bid/offer-based DC optimal power flow (DC-OPF) problems that approximate underlying AC-OPF problems. The ISO solves its DC-OPF problems by invoking an accurate and efficient DC-OPF solver, DCOPFJ, incorporated into AMES(V1.31). Developed in Java by Sun and Tesfatsion (2007c), the DCOPFJ package is free open-source software that can be used either as part of a Java application or as a stand-alone DC-OPF solver.

The length of each simulation run is determined by the following stopping rule: A run terminates when either a user-specified maximum number of days is reached or each GenCo is choosing a single supply offer with a probability that exceeds a user-specified threshold probability, whichever comes first.

It is hoped that the free open-source release of AMES will encourage the cumulative development of future versions with enhanced features critical for determining the performance of real-world restructured electricity markets. Examples of such enhanced features include:

Software Downloads and Supporting Materials

Detailed instructions are provided below for downloading, compiling, and running AMES(V1.31). Explanations of the modifications incorporated into successive versions released to date can be obtained at the Version Release History Site.

AMES Market Package--Version 1.31 (Sun, Li, and Tesfatsion):

Licensing Terms

AMES(V1.31) is licensed by the copyright holders (Junjie Sun, Hongyan Li, and Leigh Tesfatsion) as free open-source software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Anyone who is interested is allowed to view, modify, and/or improve upon the code used to produce this package, but any software generated using all or part of this code must be released as free open-source software in turn. The GNU GPL can be viewed in its entirety here.

Publications and References


The work reported at this site has been supported in part by Grant NSF-0527460 awarded by the National Science Foundation and by grants awarded by the ISU Electric Power Research Center.