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Software for Network Processing of

The Electronic Portable Information Collection (EPIC) computer program is a computer system that processes work authorization documents (WADs). The EPIC System, which is also known as the Portable Data Collection System, comprises a central data server and portable data terminals. The central data server acts as the host on a local-area network and maintains the WAD data in Structured Query Language (SQL) and a database. The portable data terminals are desktop, laptop, and pen-based tablet computers that run, variously, the Windows 95 or Windows NT operating system and are connected to the central data server via the network.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Software for Analyzing Valve-Actuator

A computer program assists engineers in analyzing data on the performances of actuators of fuel and oxidizer valves in the main engines of the space shuttle. The program could be adapted to similar use in other settings in which, as in the space shuttle, valve actuators are instrumented to provide data on commanded versus actual actuator positions. The program acquires such data during a specified diagnostic procedure in which valves are opened and closed. The program processes the data and generates several indications of performance, including trend plots, delta command minus actual positions plots, ramp-rate plots, error-from-command plots, and the means and standard deviations of the plotted quantities. The advantage afforded by the program is that it gives more information than does a simple pass/fail testing criterion. By looking at engineering performance profiles generated by this program during tests performed at different times, the engineers can identify valves that are about to fail in time to replace them.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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KPP — a Preprocessor for VHDL

KPP is a computer program that serves as a preprocessor for VHDL code. [“VHDL” signifies VHSIC Hardware Description Language, which is a language used by the United States Department of Defense for describing, designing, and simulating very-high-speed integrated circuits (VHSICs).] KPP is based on, and similar to, CPP, which is a preprocessing program for the C computing language. KPP adds certain features that are useful to digital design engineers but are lacking in VHDL. These include, most notably, a capability for nested looping. KPP also provides a number of standard functions for defining and undefining variables, incorporating contents of named files, conditional execution of instructions, and block comments. The use of KPP can enable faster coding and greater reuse of designs. KPP can run in the Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT operating systems.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Exhaustible Energy



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Compressor-Free Fridge



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Multirover Coordination Based on Contract Net Protocol

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A computer program coordinates operations of multiple cooperating rovers (small exploratory robotic vehicles deployed from a lander spacecraft), each of which is equipped with computer hardware and software that schedule the tasks assigned to it. The program implements a contract net protocol — a type of coordination protocol commonly used in distributed artificial intelligence. In a contract net protocol, a manager announces a task to a set of contractors, each contractor bids for the task, and the manager awards the task to the contractor with the best bid. In the present program, the lander (manager) incrementally transmits tasks to each rover (contractor). Upon receiving a task, a rover tries to fit the task into its current schedule. If the rover can do so, it bids the total distance it would have to travel to complete all of its tasks (including the newly inserted one). Rovers that fail to fit the task into their schedules within a time limit do not participate in the auction. Upon receiving all bids, the lander awards the task to the rover with the smallest bid.

Posted in: Briefs

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Asphalt Solar Collector



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