Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Machine Learning Helps Power Down Electricity Theft in Jamaica

Power Theft is a silent crime that causes a huge loss of revenue to power utilities. Despite advanced managerial and technical efforts to crack down on power thieves, power distribution entities are struggling hard to constrain the unscrupulous ways used to steal power. There is no panacea for curbing power theft, and utilities have to develop their own ways.

About a quarter of the electricity produced by Jamaica’s energy utility, Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is stolen. When traditional, labor-intensive methods failed to produce lasting results, Jamaica tried a different approach: machine learning.

Globally, billions of dollars are lost every year due to electricity theft, wherein electricity is distributed to customers but is never paid for. In 2014 alone, Jamaica’s total power transmission and distribution system reported 27% of losses (due to technical and non-technical reasons), close to double the regional average. While the utility company absorbs a portion of the cost, it also passes some of that cost onto consumers. Both actors, therefore, have an incentive to want to change this.

To combat this, JPS would spend more than $10 million (USD) on anti-theft measures every year, only to see theft numbers temporarily dip before climbing back up again. The problem was, these measures relied primarily on human-intensive, manual detection, and customers stealing electricity used more and more sophisticated ways to go around regularly metered use. JPS employees would use their institutional knowledge of serial offenders and would spend hours poring over metering data to uncover irregular patterns in electricity usage to identify shady accounts. But it wasn’t enough to effectively quash incidents of theft.

Now, Jamaica is one of the first countries to use machine learning to tackle its electricity theft problem. The World Bank partnered with Chicago-based data science firm, The Impact Lab, and the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) to use machine learning to improve JPS’ theft identification process among large and commercial accounts.

A machine learning model needs much less time to scan spreadsheets than a human; even though its algorithm does the same thing that humans do. It uses experience, history, and past results and gradually trains itself to determine suspicious activity. The Impact Lab’s data scientists used employees’ experience with the types of variables to the flag and integrated the model with company data.

Tom Plagge, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of The Impact Lab shared, “Machine learning models oftentimes feel like magic, so we showed staff how these results build on the company’s staff intuition, fit with what they already know through their experiences. It’s like doing what you’re already doing but in an automated, more precise and faster way.”

The project helped JPS to combine machine learning and human intelligence to produce a digital prototype model.  Manual theft detection was replaced by time series visualizations, heat maps of usage, and detailed phase information for each account.

According to a recent World Bank brief, Energy Analytics for Development, the data found thousands of large individual and commercial account holders constituted the largest portion of electricity theft. Armed with this information, the strike rate of successful JPS investigations increased substantially, during the first months of its implementation the strike rate had doubled. Motivated by this success, JPS increased their investment in smart grid advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and combined that with the machine learning model.

“Automating the analysis of daily transactions on electricity accounts will certainly improve the strike rate for detecting and addressing theft,” confirmed Steve Dixon, Director of Transmission & Distribution Asset Management at JPS.

The developed and tested tool is now housed on GitHub’s development platform. Its code is freely useable and ready to be plugged into the accounts’ data of any utility in a situation when a company has a similar problem.

Source Credit:

For technical and administrative solutions to Power Theft, go for PHI Book Power Theft written by Sreenivasan, an Executive Engineer with Kerala State Electricity Board. He is also an activist in the prevention of power theft.  He has been highlighting the issues related to power theft all over the world to create awareness with different perceptions. As a member of the International Utility Revenue Protection Association (IURPA), he has been closely associated with developments in this sector all over the world.

The most striking feature of the book is that it uses suitable photographs to analyse the problems from various angles. It provides a graphic description of the modus operandi of power thieves and uncovers their cleverness and imagination in pilfering electricity

Saturday, 25 January 2020


1. Think about the skills you will need to achieve your future career goals: If you are to move closer to reaching your professional goals, it is crucial to subjectively take stock of your current skill set. Make concrete plans to plug any gaps you may have. The start of a new year is a great time to do this.

It is vital to appreciate the difference between skills and competencies, the former being specific learned abilities, and the latter being knowledge and behaviour that contribute to your success in a job. By understanding the differences between the two, you’ll gain a better awareness of which areas you need to focus on to reach your career goals.

Besides, it is important to understand that at different stages of your career, there will be different skills that you’ll need to focus on. In your early career, for instance, you should be mainly focused on building technical skills and expertise. As your career progresses, however, you are likely to become less involved in specific day-to-day tasks and will proceed to participate more deeply in projects in different areas of the business. That’ll necessitate you to work on project/niche skills. 

So, as we enter a new year, use this time of reflection to consider where your skills gaps are, and then make a commitment to yourself to continuously upskill – making learning a lifelong habit for you going forward. Do everything you can to develop a growth mindset and think about finding a career mentor. Remember that a commitment to lifelong learning doesn’t just enhance your CV and LinkedIn profile – it is also something you can showcase in a job interview. This will only strengthen your appeal to hiring managers and recruiters.

2. Focus on self-awareness to improve the way you’re perceived: Interestingly, a study of senior executives, by Cornell University, found that self-aware leaders with strong interpersonal skills consistently delivered better financial performance. But what exactly does being ‘self-aware’ mean in the world of work?

If you are self-aware, you understand yourself better than anyone else on the planet does. You know your strengths and weaknesses, but also accept that you’re only human. Crucially, you understand how other people perceive you.

A good starting point in establishing greater self-awareness is asking yourself what three words you want people to most associate you with. This will help you to start getting a sense of what your values are – and once you are clear about this, you will be able to improve the way you’re perceived by potential employers, while still being your authentic self. Developing a greater sense of self-awareness can only ever be a good thing when striving to reach our career goals.

Acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses can also help you to identify the right job opportunities – rather than spending time on a job application that isn’t right for you.

3. Be clear in your mind about your unique selling proposition (USP): It’s also important to start thinking about what your USP is. While you’ve almost certainly heard of USPs, you’ve probably only ever associated them with the marketing of products or services, rather than people. Nonetheless, many of the principles of USPs can also apply to jobseekers. To determine your USP, answer the following questions: 
  • Why should an employer hire you over any other candidate? 
  • What is it that you can bring to the table that other candidates can’t? 
  • What unique skills or experiences do you have that could add real value? 
  • Do you consider yourself to be particularly creative or innovative? 
  • What salary and benefits package are you looking for?
  • What kind of role would represent a sensible step towards your long-term career goals?
  • What technical and soft skills are you looking to develop?
  • What kind of culture and work environment would you like to join?
  • What might your ‘deal-breakers’ be?
  • What are you prepared to be flexible about?
With a backdrop of increasing automation, human skills such as creativity are set to become increasingly important to employers in the decade ahead. So, keep this in mind as you embark on your job search in 2020.

Also, it’s important to think about any specific examples you can cite which clearly evidence your USPs to both recruiters and hiring managers. Perhaps your innovative thinking and new ideas led to new processes being rolled out, and thus time and money saved? Or probably your strong communication skills and compassionate leadership style improved your employer’s retention of high performers? Take some time to reflect on what tangible impact your unique skills have had on the teams and businesses you’ve worked for. Thinking about this ahead of time will help you tell your career story in a succinct, compelling, and undisputable way – which will really help you stand out from the competition.

If you can define your USPs before you start your job search, you’ll be able to clearly (and with more impact) communicate what sets you apart from others throughout each stage of the process.

4. Consider what you’re looking for in a new role and new employer: Next, put some real thought into what it is you’re looking for in a new opportunity. The more comprehensive your understanding is of precisely what you are seeking in a new job and employer, the better you will be able to target your job search so that you can be sure of only exploring the most relevant opportunities. To this end, before starting your job search and to help clarify your thoughts, ask yourself these questions:

5. Be prepared to be brave and take some risks: Contrary to the widespread perception that the best way to build a career is always to choose the most apparent and incremental steps, taking a few calculated professional risks could actually go a long way to making yourself more employable in 2020 and beyond. As Hays Spain Managing Director, Chris Dottie, has previously explained – having taken a career risk himself that turned out well – sometimes, a ‘risky’ decision can also end up being the right one.

Just imagine how much you could expand your experience and skillset, for example, if you were to switch to a different industry or move to an organisation that is significantly larger or smaller than your current employer. But of course, it’s also important not to take a gamble just for the sake of it; the wisdom of taking a particular risk will differ in each case, in light of your own particular priorities, circumstances, and ambitions. So, you should always do your research, carefully consider precisely what opportunities a specific career move could bring you, and ensure that whatever decision you do make is well-reasoned.

6. Keep positive and stay motivated when searching for a new job: A bright outlook and positive attitude will significantly aid in improving how recruiters, hiring managers and interviewers perceive you – thereby potentially bringing you one step closer to that much-desired job offer.

Crucially, a positive frame of mind isn’t just right for your own wellbeing – it also demonstrates to a prospective employer that you can deal with unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances constructively. This is a skill in and of itself – remember, after all, that employers wish to recruit people who can perform strongly on the job, including by facing down and overcoming unexpected challenges and thriving and developing under pressure.

Whatever you aspire to achieve in your career in 2020, the steps above will help improve your employability, and ultimately ensure your professional dreams become a reality this year.

Source Credit:

For any career that you choose, Communication is among the most commonly listed employability skills and is in demand across most industries, disciplines, and professions. Keeping the need for this core employability skill in mind, PHI has come up with a series on Communication Skills that helps you to develop the skill to communicate with diverse individuals and organizations across regions, countries, and time-zones.

Browse our Communication titles here: Communication Series

Friday, 24 January 2020

A Career in Metallurgical Engineering

Engineering is filled with boundless possibilities, whether you want to enter the technological world. It is not just limited to the popular career streams of Software Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electronic Engineering, etc. but you can also discover Robotic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, among others. One such lesser-known field is Metallurgical Engineering. Referred to as the study of metals and mining, Metallurgical Engineering is slowly advancing into a full-fledged career. Here, we are bringing you all the details about the field of Metallurgical Engineering, the best courses to pursue and the career scope it entails.


Metallurgical Engineering is a sub-field of Engineering that studies the various properties and processes related to metal and metal extraction. This field also applies the fundamentals of engineering to the processing, designing, and extraction of metals along with analyzing the significant processes of the metal industry. If you are interested in assessing the various practical as well as theoretical aspects that revolve around metals and ores, then this is an ideal field to explore. Metallurgical engineering is also associated with diverse areas like mining, the composition of alloys, separating minerals, etc. 

Key Elements of Metallurgical Engineering

To explore this field, you need to look at the fundamental courses and subfields that constitute metallurgical engineering. Here are a few critical elements of this field that are taught in detail while pursuing a program in Metallurgical Engineering:

Engineering Mechanics

Also known as Applied Mechanics, this field looks at the practical application of the theory of mechanics. This field acts as a bridge between the theories of Physical Sciences and its technological applications. Engineering Mechanics is a critical part of any program in Metallurgical Engineering because it serves as building the foundation of the study of metals.

Physical Metallurgy

This sub-field of Metallurgy Engineering is concerned with the physical properties and structures of metals and alloys. Physical Metallurgy ensures that the properties of an alloy or a metal extracted as per the standards. It also involves large scale metal extraction and composition of alloys. 

Chemical Metallurgy

Chemical Metallurgy is a sub-field of Metallurgy Engineering that mainly consists of chemical processes behind extractions of metals from its ores. This field like physical metallurgy plays a crucial role in the basic processes involved in the field of Metallurgy. 

Machine Elements and Machining

This field looks at the theoretical and practical study of various machinery involved in the extraction, remodeling, shaping, and manufacturing of metals. If you have an interest in learning how multiple machines help in the processes related to metallurgy, then studying Machine Elements and Machining will provide you with an overview of those machines and their related processes.

Career in Metallurgy

The field of Metallurgical Engineering has ample career opportunities for those who are passionate enough to discover the world of metals. A metallurgical engineer has several prospects to explore in several metal industries and can play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth functioning of various industrial processes in different capacities. 

Here are a few job prospects that you can discover after pursuing a course in Metallurgical Engineering:

Application Engineer

Application engineers are experts in the field of Metallurgy and are hired by corporate firms to get expert advice on various industrial processes managed by the firm. An application engineer helps the sales department by providing their expertise on certain commercial aspects of Metallurgy.

Process Design Engineer

A process design engineer looks at various processes involved in designing a project and supervising it. These projects may include various metallurgical processes from mining to designing of alloys. Process design engineers also interact with the multiple sales sections of a firm to meet the demands of the market and the firm. 

Maintenance Engineer

A maintenance engineer supervises a range of different industrial processes and is responsible for regular inspection of machinery as well as an efficient flow of work in the industry. 
Thus, if you are curious enough to explore the world of metals, Metallurgical Engineering is the ideal career path for you. 

Source Credit:

PHI Learning has an exhaustive list of titles in the discipline of Metallurgical Engineering, written by eminent authors in the field. These books are used by Metallurgical Engineering students of premier institutes including IITs, NITs, BITs, and many other technical universities.

You may browse through the complete list available at: Metallurgy and Materials Engineering

Under the imprint Eastern Economy Editions (EEE), PHI learning brought out a series of books, written by Dr. V. Raghavan,  for the students of metallurgical and material science engineering. It helps students to apply metallurgical engineering principles in their employment successfully.

Following well-adopted textbooks reflect the expertise of Dr. V. Raghavan: 

  • Materials Science and Engineering: A First Course
  • Physical Metallurgy: Principles and Practice
  • Solid State Phase Transformations

Monday, 20 January 2020

GATE 2020 – Dates, Pattern and PHI Textbooks

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering or GATE is an exam conducted by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore and seven Indian Institutes of Technology (Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, and Roorkee) on behalf of The National Coordination Board (NCB)-GATE, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), and Government of India. The GATE score is used for getting admissions to masters and direct doctoral programmers in Engineering/Technology/Architecture/relevant branches in science and PSU’s recruitment.

GATE is basically an examination of the comprehensive understanding of the candidates in various undergraduate subjects in Engineering/Technology/ Architecture and post-graduate level subjects in Science. GATE 2020 will be conducted for 25 subjects, and it would be distributed over 1st, 2nd, 8th & 9th of February 2020. The GATE examination centres are spread in different cities across India, as well as in six cities outside India. The examination would be purely a Computer Based Test (CBT). Note that the GATE 2020 score is valid for three years from the date of the announcement of the results.

Examination Duration

All the papers of the GATE 2020 examination will be for 3 hours duration, and they consist of 65questions for a total of 100 marks. Since the examination is an ONLINE computer-based test, at the end of the stipulated time (3-hours), the computer will automatically close the screen inhibiting any further action.

Exam Dates

This year exam is scheduled for the dates of February 1,2,8 and 9. It will be a Computer Based Test (CBT) conducted by IIT Delhi. After taking the GATE exam, the result would be announced on 16th March 2020. 


Candidates can search for the discipline of their choice using the following codes:

Gate paper


Gate Paper


Aerospace Engineering


Instrumentation Engineering


Agricultural Engineering




Architecture and Planning


Mechanical Engineering


Biomedical Engineering


Mining Engineering




Metallurgical Engineering


Civil Engineering


Petroleum Engineering


Chemical Engineering




Computer Science and Information Technology


Production and Industrial Engineering






Electronics and Communication Engineering


Textile Engineering and Fabric Science


Electrical Engineering


Engineering Sciences


Ecology and Evolution


Life Sciences


Geology and Geophysics




GATE 2020 Exam Schedule

The official GATE 2020 Paper Schedule released by IIT Delhi for all papers is as follows:

Sr. No.
Session Code
Examination Date & Day
Paper Codes
Feb 1, 2020 (Saturday)
09:30-12:30 hrs (Forenoon Session)
Feb 1, 2020 (Saturday)
14:30-17:30 hrs (Afternoon Session)
Feb 2, 2020 (Sunday)
09:30-12:30 hrs (Forenoon Session)
Feb 2, 2020 (Sunday)
14:30-17:30 hrs (Afternoon Session)
Feb 8, 2020 (Saturday)
09:30-12:30 hrs (Forenoon Session)
Feb 8, 2020 (Saturday)
14:30-17:30 hrs (Afternoon Session)
Feb 9, 2020 (Sunday)
09:30-12:30 hrs (Forenoon Session)
Feb 9, 2020 (Sunday)
14:30-17:30 hrs (Afternoon Session)

General Aptitude (Common To All Papers)

Verbal Ability: English grammar, sentence completion, verbal analogies, word groups, instructions, critical reasoning, and verbal deduction.

Numerical Ability: Numerical computation, numerical estimation, numerical reasoning and data interpretation.

For detailed syllabus of different subjects, visit

Exam Pattern

Number of Questions
Total Marks
Technical + Engineering

Exam Duration: 3 Hours
Technical Section: 70 marks
General Aptitude: 15 marks
Engineering Mathematics: 15 marks

GATE Examination comprises the following type of questions:
  1. Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs): It is objective in nature. There are four options given for each question. The candidate has to write one correct answer out of four given choices. Each question carries one or two marks. There is a negative marking of 1/3rd of the marks allotted to each MCQ question, i.e. 0.33 for a 1-mark question and 0.66 for every 2-mark question.
  2. Numerical Type: There will be no choices given to candidates to answer these questions. An answer is a real number which is to be entered via mouse or virtual keyboard. There is no negative marking for these types of questions.
Source Credit:

To crack GATE Exam, SHOP for PHI GATE Textbooks at an Affordable Price!
  • Quantitative Aptitude and Reasoning by Praveen
  • GATE Mechanical Engineering by Sharma
  • GATE and PGECET for Computer Science and Information Technology by Dasaradh Ramaiah
  • GATE for Electrical Engineering by Chanda et al.
The Step by Step and simple Problem Solving Technique approach followed in PHI GATE Series enables aspiring students to sharpen skills to crack GATE 2020 Exams.

 Visit to place your order before we run out of stock! 

Good Luck to all the GATE Aspirants from PHI Learning!

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