Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
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Institutional Budgeting Tool (IBT)

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Institutional Budgeting Tool (IBT) was designed and developed to meet the needs of JPL's budget planners, numbering 1,600, who required a robust and state-of-the-art budgeting application. JPL's budgeting process had been constrained by legacy tools that presented usability and performance issues and lacked critical innovative budgeting features. IBT delivered superior user experience, system performance, and modern features necessary for essential laboratory budgeting.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer software and hardware, Financial management

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Tubes Standards-Compliant C Header Library

Due to limitations imposed by transistor physics as device geometries continue to get finer and finer, the time when each new generation of processors was clocked faster than its predecessors is largely over. Nevertheless, as individual processor cores get smaller, chip manufacturers have turned instead to cramming a large number of cores onto a single die. Consequently, nearly all commercially available CPUs (central processing units), even those used in smartphones, already depend upon a multicore architecture. Unfortunately, the programming languages used for nearly all commercial software projects are really intended for generating code for a single CPU core. Though extensions exist that support multiple cores, it is something that is essentially tacked on, not part of the core language's constructs.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Architecture, Computer software and hardware, Transistors, Terminology

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Techniques for Conducting Effective Concept Design and Design-to-Cost Trade Studies

Concept design plays a central role in project success for space missions, as the product of concept design effectively locks in the majority of system lifecycle cost. It involves a concurrent investigation of requirements and multiple mission characteristics such as flight dynamics, design, performance, concept of operations, technology, verification approach, launch and ground interfaces, cost, schedule, and risk.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Life cycle analysis, Cost analysis, Systems engineering

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HyDE Model-Based Diagnosis Engine for Stochastic Hybrid Systems

Model-based diagnosis deals with the problem of diagnosing faults in systems using a model of the system for guidance. This problem is complicated by the presence of hybrid dynamics in the system (continuous evolution of the system interspersed with discrete events like commands to change configuration), as well as uncertainties in the form of model approximations and sensor noise. Several model-based technologies have been developed and successfully demonstrated using discrete abstractions of the system as models. These techniques are severely restricted in model expressiveness due to the discrete nature of the models. Moreover, sophisticated model abstraction techniques, as well as algorithms to convert continuous data to discrete form, need to be developed for such an approach to work. Recently, there have been efforts to develop diagnostic engines for hybrid and stochastic systems. However, these techniques have either focused on parametric faults, or use a probabilistic approach to fault identification. Consistency-based approaches that have been successfully demonstrated using discrete models have not been extended to work with stochastic and hybrid models.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer simulation, Failure analysis, Scale models, Diagnostics

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Farzin Amzajerdian, Principal Investigator, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Since 2003, Farzin Amzajerdian has worked on the Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL), a sensor designed to support safe and precise vehicle landings on Mars and other destinations. The breadbox-sized NDL contains three lasers, a small electronics box, and lenses connected by fiber-optic cables. Amzajerdian will soon oversee the testing of the technology in California's Mojave Desert.

Posted in: Who's Who, Sensors

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PRINTED ELECTRONICS: THE FUTURE IS FLEXIBLE

Chances are that most of us have used a printed electronic device, whether it's a security tag on a piece of clothing, or a plastic badge used to open the door of our workplace. Printable electronics have diverse potential applications in flexible solar cells, batteries, sensors, lighting products, medical diagnostic devices, drug delivery devices, smart packaging and clothing, and displays. Following are several innovative applications incorporating printable electronics. Low-Cost Printable Electronics FabricationThe need for low-cost and environmentally friendly processes for fabricating printable electronics and biosensor chips is rapidly growing. NASA has developed a unique approach for an atmospheric pressure plasma-based process for fabricating printable electronics and functional coatings. This system involves aerosol-assisted, room-temperature printing in which an aerosol carrying the desired material for deposition is introduced into a cold plasma jet operated at atmospheric pressure.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Sensors and actuators, Additive manufacturing, Magnetic materials, Nanomaterials

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Laser Vision Helps Package Shippers See Clearly

An analyzer developed for Hubble mirror testing helps FedEx scan packages.For more than 25 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has provided stunning photos of the universe unequalled in their depth, detail, and distinction. But in its early days, Hubble wasn't capable of sending back such breathtaking photos. Within weeks of launch, the images beamed back to Earth were fuzzy and out of focus. It was determined that Hubble's primary mirror had been ground to the wrong shape and was too flat by 2.2 micrometers, causing reflected light from the edge of the mirror to be focused on a different point than light coming from near the center. It was determined that the device used to create the nonspherical mirror had been incorrectly assembled, and the mirror's manufacturer had failed to notice the problem before Hubble was launched.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Lasers, Optics, Logistics

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