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Equations for Scoring Rules When Data Are Missing

A document presents equations for scoring rules in a diagnostic and/or prognostic artificial-intelligence software system of the rule-based inference- engine type. The equations define a set of metrics that characterize the evaluation of a rule when data required for the antecedence clause(s) of the rule are missing. The metrics include a primary measure denoted the rule completeness metric (RCM) plus a number of subsidiary measures that contribute to the RCM. The RCM is derived from an analysis of a rule with respect to its truth and a measure of the completeness of its input data. The derivation is such that the truth value of an antecedent is independent of the measure of its completeness. The RCM can be used to compare the degree of completeness of two or more rules with respect to a given set of data. Hence, the RCM can be used as a guide to choosing among rules during the rule-selection phase of operation of the artificial-intelligence system.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Using Electrostriction To Manipulate Ullage in Microgravity

A report proposes to use electrostriction to manipulate the ullage in a tank containing a dielectric liquid in a microgravitational environment. In the original intended application, the liquid would be a spacecraft propellant and the goal would be to force the ullage (comprising bubbles of noncondensible gas) to coalesce at one end of the tank, to enable use of one of the established means of (1) measuring the position of the gas/liquid interface and (2) inferring the quantity of liquid from the measurement. Electrically insulated wires would be installed in the tank, shaped and positioned so that application of a suitably high potential (e.g., 1 kV) between adjacent wires in successive pairs would give rise to a sufficient electric field gradient along the tank. The resulting electrostriction in the liquid would give rise to a pressure gradient that would force the ullage toward the low-electric-field-magnitude end of the tank. The feasibility of this proposal was demonstrated in an experiment in a tank containing liquid helium aboard an airplane flying a low-gravity arc. The ullage-segregating electrostrictive effect is expected to be considerably greater in other liquids.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Radio Heating of Lunar Soil To Release Gases

A report proposes the development of a system to collect volatile elements and compounds from Lunar soil for use in supporting habitation and processing into rocket fuel. Prior exploratory missions revealed that H2, He, and N2 are present in Lunar soil and there are some indications that water ice may also be present. The proposed system would include a shroud that would be placed on the Lunar surface. Inside the shroud would be a radio antenna aimed downward. The antenna would be excited at a suitably high power and at a frequency chosen to optimize the depth of penetration of radio waves into the soil. The radio waves would heat the soil, thereby releasing volatiles bound to soil particles. The escaping volatiles would be retained by the shroud and collected by condensation in a radiatively cooled vessel connected to the shroud. It has been estimated that through radio-frequency heating at a power of 10 kW for one day, it should be possible to increase the temperature of a soil volume of about 1 m3 by about 200 °C — an amount that should suffice for harvesting a significant quantity of volatile material.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Expectation-Based Control of Noise and Chaos

A proposed approach to control of noise and chaos in dynamic systems would supplement conventional methods. The approach is based on fictitious forces composed of expectations governed by Fokker-Planck or Liouville equations that describe the evolution of the probability densities of the controlled parameters. These forces would be utilized as feedback control forces that would suppress the undesired diffusion of the controlled parameters. Examples of dynamic systems in which the approach is expected to prove beneficial include spacecraft, electronic systems, and coupled lasers.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Algorithm for Rapid Searching Among Star-Catalog Entries

Recursive algorithm utilizes precompiled search structure of spherical coverings. An algorithm searches a star catalog to identify guide stars within the field of view of a telescope or camera. The algorithm is fast: the number of computations needed to perform the search is approximately proportional to the logarithm of the number of stars in the catalog.

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Sequence Detection for PPM Optical Communication With ISI

Inter-symbol interference could be reduced. A method of sequence detection has been proposed to mitigate the effects of inter-slot interference and inter-symbol interference (both denoted “ISI”) in the reception of M-ary pulse-position modulation (PPM) optical signals. The method would make it possible to reduce the error rate for a given slot duration, to use a shorter slot duration (and, hence, to communicate at a higher rate) without exceeding a given error rate, or to use a lower-bandwidth (and, hence, less-expensive) receiver to receive a signal of a given slot width without exceeding a given error rate.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Computing Fault Displacements From Surface Deformations

Simplex is a computer program that calculates locations and displacements of subterranean faults from data on Earth-surface deformations. The calculation involves inversion of a forward model (given a point source representing a fault, a forward model calculates the surface deformations) for displacements, and strains caused by a fault located in isotropic, elastic half-space. The inversion involves the use of nonlinear, multi-parameter estimation techniques. The input surface-deformation data can be in multiple formats, with absolute or differential positioning. The input data can be derived from multiple sources, including interferometric synthetic-aperture radar, the Global Positioning System, and strain meters. Parameters can be constrained or free. Estimates can be calculated for single or multiple faults. Estimates of parameters are accompanied by reports of their covariances and uncertainties. Simplex has been tested extensively against forward models and against other means of inverting geodetic data and seismic observations.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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