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Software for Building Models of 3D Objects via the Internet

The Virtual EDF Builder (where "EDF" signifies Electronic Development Fixture) is a computer program that facilitates the use of the Internet for building and displaying digital models of three- dimensional (3D) objects that ordinarily comprise assemblies of solid models created previously by use of computer-aided-design (CAD) programs. The Virtual EDF Builder resides on a UNIX- based server computer. It is used in conjunction with a commercially available Web-based plug-in viewer program that runs on a client computer. The Virtual EDF Builder acts as a translator between the viewer program and a database stored on the server. The translation function includes the provision of uniform resource locator (URL) links to other Web-based computer systems and databases. The Virtual EDF builder can be used in two ways: (1) If the client computer is UNIX-based, then it can assemble a model locally; the computational load is transferred from the server to the client computer. (2) Alternatively, the server can be made to build the model, in which case the server bears the computational load and the results are downloaded to the client computer or workstation upon completion.

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Software for Estimating Costs of Testing Rocket Engines

A high-level parametric mathematical model for estimating the costs of testing rocket engines and components at Stennis Space Center has been implemented as a Microsoft Excel program that generates multiple spreadsheets. The model and the program are both denoted, simply, the Cost Estimating Model (CEM). The inputs to the CEM are the parameters that describe particular tests, including test types (component or engine test), numbers and duration of tests, thrust levels, and other parameters. The CEM estimates anticipated total project costs for a specific test. Estimates are broken down into testing categories based on a work-breakdown structure and a cost-element structure. A notable historical assumption incorporated into the CEM is that total labor times depend mainly on thrust levels. As a result of a recent modification of the CEM to increase the accuracy of predicted labor times, the dependence of labor time on thrust level is now embodied in third- and fourth-order polynomials.

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Analytic Method for Computing Instrument Pointing Jitter

Jitter can be computed more efficiently. A new method of calculating the root-mean-square (rms) pointing jitter of a scientific instrument (e.g., a camera, radar antenna, or telescope) is introduced based on a state-space concept. In comparison with the prior method of calculating the rms pointing jitter, the present method involves significantly less computation.

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Quantum Search in Hilbert Space

A large database would be searched in one quantum computing operation. A proposed quantum-computing algorithm would perform a search for an item of information in a database stored in a Hilbert-space memory structure. The algorithm is intended to make it possible to search relatively quickly through a large database under conditions in which available computing resources would otherwise be considered inadequate to perform such a task.

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Wavelet-Based Real-Time Diagnosis of Complex Systems

Changes in hardware and software can be simultaneously examined for signs of loss of control. A new method of robust, autonomous real-time diagnosis of a time-varying complex system (e.g., a spacecraft, an advanced aircraft, or a process-control system) is presented here. It is based upon the characterization and comparison of (1) the execution of software, as reported by discrete data, and (2) data from sensors that monitor the physical state of the system, such as performance sensors or similar quantitative time-varying measurements. By taking account of the relationship between execution of, and the responses to, software commands, this method satisfies a key requirement for robust autonomous diagnosis, namely, ensuring that control is maintained and followed.

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Coupled-Layer Architecture for Advanced Software for Robots

Decision-making and functional infrastructures interact at all levels of granularity. The title "Coupled Layer Architecture for Robotics Autonomy" (CLARATy) refers to a software architecture for robots that has been proposed to (1) improve the modularity of robotic-system software while (2) tightening the coupling between autonomy and control software subsystems. Whereas prior robotic architectures have typically been characterized by three layers, the CLARATy is characterized by only two layers. The CLARATy provides for interaction of decision-making and functional infrastructures at all levels of system granularity. This architecture is flexible enough to encompass research and application domains, and provides for an explicit coupling of artificial-intelligence and robotics techniques. The architecture is also implemented in an object-oriented fashion that makes it possible to leverage software design through both inheritance and aggregation, thereby eliminating the need for duplication of effort in the development of new software.

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Characteristics of Dynamics of Intelligent Systems

These characteristics are proposed as means of discriminating between living and nonliving systems. An investigation of nonlinear mathematical models of dynamics has led to the selection of characteristics that could be useful for distinguishing mathematically between the behaviors of (1) intelligent or living systems and (2) nonliving systems. As contemplated here, an intelligent or living system could range from a natural or artificial single-cell organism at one extreme to the whole of human society at the other extreme, whereas a nonliving system could be, for example, a collection of interacting particles or mechanisms. Among other findings, the investigation has revealed that living systems can be characterized by nonlinear evolution of probability distributions over different possible choices of the next steps in their motions.

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