Information Technology & Software

Parameterizing Shape Perturbations for Multidisciplinary Design Optimization

Shapes are deformed by use of soft-objects animation algorithms.

A recently developed method of parameterizing complex shapes that one seeks to optimize differs from prior such methods in two major respects: (1) instead of entirely parameterizing the shapes, one parameterizes only shape perturbations (deformations of initial or baseline shapes) and (2) the deformations are computed by soft-objects animation (SOA) algorithms commonly used in computer graphics. This method is suitable for multidisciplinary design-optimization processes, in which shapes of structures are optimized along with other aspects of design (e.g., aerodynamics). This method can be applied, for example, to the shapes of both exterior aerodynamic surfaces and internal structural components of aircraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Mathematical models, Optimization, Imaging and visualization

Developmental Software for Exploiting Hyperspectral Imagery

Evolutionary computing techniques are used.

A unique state-of-the-art process for exploiting hyperspectral satellite imagery, based on evolutionary computing methods, has been developed and a proof-of-concept demonstration has been conducted. This development is projected to lead to several important commercial products, including a fully integrated, high-payoff, user-friendly software package — the Integrated Hyperspectral Imagery Analysis Toolbox. This software would be capable of end-to-end processing of industrial and governmental hyperspectral satellite image data with extensions to several popular commercial software products like ENVI from Research Systems, Inc., and ESRI's ArcView Geographical Information System. The development of the end product will focus on accurate detection and identification of natural and artificial materials and objects, the use of large libraries of laboratory reference data, and ease of use. Potential commercial applications include assessment of crops (including estimation of crop yields), exploration for minerals and oil, planning of military missions and automated identification of military targets, urban planning, environmental assessment, and search-and-rescue operations.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Satellites

Algorithm for Rapid Acquisition of a PPM Optical Signal

Data frames can be synchronized with part of the synchronization sequence.

An algorithm for rapid acquisition of a pulse-position-modulation (PPM) optical data signal implements a pattern-matching technique for synchronization of receiver timing with the temporal boundaries of data frames. Synchronization is necessary because in PPM, information is conveyed by the time slot during which a pulse is detected. Fast acquisition of a signal depends on detection of pulses in noise, and on correct estimation of the times of detected pulses. To facilitate synchronization at the receiver, a transmitter periodically inserts a prescribed sequence of pulses — the synchronization sequence or word — into the transmitted data stream. Older PPM-signal-acquisition algorithms are based on correlations and depend on reception of the full synchronization word (128 bytes long in some applications). The present algorithm is more computationally efficient and is capable of achieving synchronization with part of the synchronization word — typically with as few as 2 to 6 bytes.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Mathematical models, Optics, Wireless communication systems

Expert System To Develop Job Standards

The Job Standards Development System is a user-friendly expert system that (1) helps users select an appropriate work measurement methodology to develop job standards (or the less formal job time estimates) and (2) leads the users through the steps necessary to use a work time estimating technique to develop job standards for long-duration, low-repetition work. The computer program comprises three parts, the first being a system-administration subprogram, in which an administrator sets values of parameters that are not changeable by a job standards developer. The second part is a subprogram that assists the job standards developer in the selection of an appropriate work measurement technique. The third part supports the application of a work time and resource requirement estimating technique that relies on domain expertise to describe human work, collects work time and resource requirement data from the domain expert, and computes a job standard. The program is expected to be useful for the management of organizations devoted to performing functions consisting of long-duration, low-repetition work. Illustrations of this type include facility and equipment maintenance and the knowledge work of service firms and federal, state, and local governments. The program is written for use with the Windows operating systems on IBM PC and compatible computers.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Logistics, Personnel, Product development, Standardization

Further Developments in Web Interactive Training

Displays, simulations, and quizzes are customized for each trainee.

Three innovative computer programs for training and testing personnel at Kennedy Space Center have been developed under the aegis of the Web Interactive Training (WIT) project. The WIT project exploits the capabilities afforded by the Internet and by state-of-the-art multimedia data-presentation techniques. The World Wide Web is used to deliver training from server computers to client desktop computers on demand. Training can involve multimedia data of various types (text, audio, graphics, and animated video images). Training can be interactive, enabling trainees to tailor lessons to their individual needs; a trainee can select a lesson or segment any time, anywhere, and can repeat a segment as many times as necessary. Interactivity can also be exploited to provide for testing and recording of a trainee's progress.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Internet, Displays, Technician training

Post-Processing Satellite Image Data in Secondary Schools

Direct experience helps prepare children for participation in an increasingly technological world.

Never before have secondary schools been able to post-process raw satellite data, and now they can do it in real time. This is credited to advances in technology that have recently made the necessary equipment simple, inexpensive, powerful, and available enough for any school to fit into their technology-education curricula. This equipment couples ideally with the emerging utilization of the Internet in secondary schools.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Internet, Education, Education and training, Satellites

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