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Distribution package for the Power TAC simulation server

Welcome to the current 1.8.0-SNAPSHOT version of the Power TAC simulation server. This is a reasonably stable development snapshot containing the server and a version of the game visualizer that works in "development" mode, including a simple control panel that allows you to set up and run bootstrap and competition sessions. There is a compatible sample broker distributed separately. This release is intended to support broker development and simple experiments.

This version requires an installation of Java 11 jdk. A jre installation will not work. Release notes are available at

Javadocs are available at

Running the server

The server is distributed as a maven pom.xml file, and you must have Apache Maven 3.5.0 or later installed to use it. The first time you run it, maven will download all the server components, as well as other libraries, from Maven Central (or from the Sonatype snapshot repository if you are running a snapshot version). This can take some time the first time you start the server.

Before you run the server, note that it runs in two different modes:

  • in bootstrap mode, only the "default" broker is active, and all customers are subscribed to its simple production and consumption tariffs. The bootstrap period is typically 360 timeslots (15 days), and data from the last 14 days is collected and used to "seed" a normal simulation run.
  • in sim mode, competing brokers are allowed to log in. Before the sim starts, the bootstrap dataset is broadcast to all brokers to permit them to seed their models, such as customer usage profiles and wholesale market price models. The simulation then starts at a point in simulated time immediately following the end of the bootstrap period. Many sims can be run with the same bootstrap dataset.

The server can be run from the command line (the "cli" option), and from the web interface (the "web" option). Both options accept the same input settings, except that the web option does not support the Tournament Manager.

Configuration is by command-line options or the equivalent data in a web form, and by a configuration file. Note that a number of these options refer to the Tournament Manager, which is not yet released. See for background on this.

The command line options depend on the type of session you want to run. To run a bootstrap session, the command is

  mvn -Pcli -Dexec.args="--boot bootstrap-data [options]"

where bootstrap-data is the name (not a URL) of the xml file that will be written with the results of the bootstrap run, options include:

  • --control controller-url gives the URL of the Tournament Manager api, from which the server can request a configuration and a log-prefix string.
  • --game-id labels the game. This label will form part of the names of the logfiles, and will show up in the Visualizer.
  • --config server-config gives the URL (or a filename) of a properties file that overrides the standard server configuration. If this option is missing and the --control option is given, the server configuration is retrieved from controller-url/server-config.
  • --config-dump filename gathers and dumps the full server configuration to filename. The resulting file will contain all the high-level configuration parameters and their configured values, even if they were not set by any configuration file. It will not contain low-level details that require knowledge of the code to use correctly. Note that this option can be used without actually running a boot or sim session, by omitting the --boot and --sim options.

To run the server from the command line in sim mode, the command is

  mvn -Pcli -Dexec.args="--sim --boot-data bootname [options]"

where options include the --config, --game-id, --log-suffix, and --control options as in bootstrap mode, as well as

  • --boot-data bootstrap-data gives the URL (or simply a filename) of the xml file from which a bootstrap record can be read. If this option is missing and the --control is a URL. If given, it provides a prefix for the URL of the bootstrap record, which will be control-url/bootstrap-data. Note that the server will not start if one of these two sources does not produce a valid bootstrap dataset.
  • --weather-data name gives the name of a file (XML or state) or URL (state) containing weather data. The XML can be generated by, which can be found in the script directory of powertac-weather-server. The state file is a state log from a previous game, this can also be a URL or a compressed archive file containing a state log. Using this option also sets the BaseTime of the simulation.
  • --random-seeds name gives the name of a file or URL containing random seed values. Typically this is the state log from a previous game, or just the lines from a state log containing the string "powertac.common.RandomSeed". It can also be a URL or a compressed archive containing a state log.
  • --jms-url url gives the URL of the jms message broker, which is typically, but not necessarily, instantiated inside the server. The default value is tcp://localhost:61616 unless you change it in your server configuration file. If you want to connect to it from another host, you need to use a valid hostname rather than localhost, and the brokers must specify the same URL.
  • --brokers broker,... is a comma-separated list (no whitespace allowed) of broker usernames that are expected to log in to the simulation before it starts. If this option is missing and --control is provided, then the broker list will be retrieved from controller-url/broker-list. A broker name can be given as username/queue-name, in which case the broker's input queue will be called queue-name. If the queue-name is not given, then the broker's input queue name will be the same as its username.
  • --input-queue name gives the name of the jms input queue for the server. If not given, then the jms input queue is called serverInput.
  • --log-suffix suffix defaults to "sim" rather than "boot".

If you want to override some aspect of server configuration that is not directly supported by command-line options, you will need to edit the sample server configuration file given in config/, and then specify it as the argument to the --config option.

To run the server under control of the new visualizer2, the command is

  mvn -Pweb2 [-Dexec.args='options']

Where options can include

  • --application.timeslotPause=nnn slows down the pace of replay when using the visualizer to view an existing game through its state log, to allow you to inspect and interact with it while it's running. The nnn value is the time in msec to pause between timeslots. Values less than about 800 may not give consistent results when viewing games with larger numbers of brokers.

Shortly after you see the JHIPSTER logo in the console, you can point a browser at localhost:8080 (assuming you haven't changed the port configuration) to get to the UI.

Please take note of file locations when using the -Pweb2 profile.

Out of the box, two accounts are created: admin and user. The passwords are initially admin and user, respectively. You may want to change that when you're up and running.

In the new visualizer, games are owned by the user who logged in to create/start them. To account for this, the log files are now written to user-specific directories, e.g. "files/admin/log".

Refer to the of the visualizer2 for more information.

If you have just upgraded and are having trouble logging into the visualizer, such as seeing a "500 server error" instead of the usual page, you may try to recover by deleting files/system and clearing out the localhost cookies from your browser.


Three server-configuration files are provided as examples; all can be used by specifying them as the value of the --config option, or by filling in their names in the Server-config field on the GUI. The config short-game.props runs a very short simulation session, about 4 days. The config 2week-game.props runs a sim slightly longer than 2 weeks, enough to see two cycles of peak-demand assessment. The config pause.props is a roughly 4-day session that allows brokers to pause the server. If you want to use these configs with the visualizer, you will need to copy them to files/admin/config.

Access to code resources

The server and other project assets are archived in several repos under the github Power TAC organization page. Many of those repos are no longer active; the currently active repos include

The developer's wiki contains a wealth of detail on the design of the Power TAC server and associated infrastructure, as well as instructions for working with the code. You may wish to subscribe to the developer's mailing list for release announcements, discussion on tournaments, proposals for new features, and general relevant discussions among server and broker developers.

Bug reporting

If you believe you have found a bug and can describe it with some degree of accuracy, you are welcome to create an issue. If you have a question or a suggestion for the development team, you are welcome to post a message to the developer's mailing list. Keep in mind that the development team is entirely composed of volunteers and students, and although we will do our best to respond in a timely fashion, response will not always be immediate.

Please let us know what you think of the Power TAC system, and how we can improve our software and processes.

John Collins, Wolf Ketter, and the Power TAC development team: Jurica Babic, Govert Buijs, Antonios Chrysopoulos, Mathijs de Weerdt, Josh Edeen, Ryan Finneman, Erik Kemperman, Frederik Milkau, Nguyen Nguyen, Erik Onarheim, Shashank Pande, Markus Peters, Vedran Podobnik, Kailash Ramanathan, Prashant Reddy, Andreas Symeonidis, and Konstantina Valogianni