Software

Dynamically Alterable Arrays of Polymorphic Data Types

An application library package was developed that represents data packets for Deep Space Network (DSN) message packets as dynamically alterable arrays composed of arbitrary polymorphic data types. The software was to address a limitation of the present state of the practice for having an array directly composed of a single monomorphic data type. This is a severe limitation when one is dealing with science data in that the types of objects one is dealing with are typically not known in advance and, therefore, are dynamic in nature. The unique feature of this approach is that it enables one to define at run-time the dynamic shape of the matrix with the ability to store polymorphic data types in each of its indices. Existing languages such as C and C++ have the restriction that the shape of the array must be known in advance and each of its elements be a monomorphic data type that is strictly defined at compile-time. This program can be executed on a variety of platforms. It can be distributed in either source code or binary code form. It must be run in conjunction with any one of a number of Lisp compilers that are available commercially or as shareware.

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Representation of Serendipitous Scientific Data

A computer program defines and implements an innovative kind of data structure than can be used for representing information derived from serendipitous discoveries made via collection of scientific data on long exploratory spacecraft missions. Data structures capable of collecting any kind of data can easily be implemented in advance, but the task of designing a fixed and efficient data structure suitable for processing raw data into useful information and taking advantage of serendipitous scientific discovery is becoming increasingly difficult as missions go deeper into space. The present software eases the task by enabling definition of arbitrarily complex data structures that can adapt at run time as raw data are transformed into other types of information. This software runs on a variety of computers, and can be distributed in either source code or binary code form. It must be run in conjunction with any one of a number of Lisp compilers that are available commercially or as shareware. It has no specific memory requirements and depends upon the other software with which it is used. This program is implemented as a library that is called by, and becomes folded into, the other software with which it is used.

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User Interactive Software for Analysis of Human Physiological Data

Ambulatory physiological monitoring has been used to study human health and performance in space and in a variety of Earth-based environments (e.g., military aircraft, armored vehicles, small groups in isolation, and patients). Large, multi-channel data files are typically recorded in these environments, and these files often require the removal of contaminated data prior to processing and analyses.

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Driver Code for Adaptive Optics

A special-purpose computer code for a deformable-mirror adaptive-optics control system transmits pixel-registered control from (1) a personal computer running software that generates the control data to (2) a circuit board with 128 digital-to-analog converters (DACs) that generate voltages to drive the deformable-mirror actuators. This program reads control-voltage codes from a text file, then sends them, via the computer’s parallel port, to a circuit board with four AD5535 (or equivalent) chips. Whereas a similar prior computer program was capable of transmitting data to only one chip at a time, this program can send data to four chips simultaneously. This program is in the form of C-language code that can be compiled and linked into an adaptive-optics software system. The program as supplied includes source code for integration into the adaptive-optics software, documentation, and a component that provides a demonstration of loading DAC codes from a text file. On a standard Windows desktop computer, the software can update 128 channels in 10 ms. On Real- Time Linux with a digital I/O card, the software can update 1024 channels (8 boards in parallel) every 8 ms.

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Web-Based Software for Managing Research

aeroCOMPASS is a software system, originally designed to aid in the management of wind tunnels at Langley Research Center, that could be adapted to provide similar aid to other enterprises in which research is performed in common laboratory facilities by users who may be geographically dispersed. Included in aeroCOMPASS is Webinterface software that provides a single, convenient portal to a set of project- and test-related software tools and other application programs. The heart of aeroCOMPASS is a user-oriented document-management software subsystem that enables geographically dispersed users to easily share and manage a variety of documents. A principle of “write once, read many” is implemented throughout aeroCOMPASS to eliminate the need for multiple entry of the same information. The Web framework of aeroCOMPASS provides links to client-side application programs that are fully integrated with databases and server-side application programs. Other subsystems of aeroCOMPASS include ones for reserving hardware, tracking of requests and feedback from users, generating interactive notes, administration of a customer-satisfaction questionnaire, managing execution of tests, managing archives of metadata about tests, planning tests, and providing online help and instruction for users.

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Arbitrating Control of Control and Display Units

The ARINC 739 Switch is a computer program that arbitrates control of two multi-function control and display units (MCDUs) between (1) a commercial flight-management computer (FMC) and (2) NASA software used in research on transport aircraft. (MCDUs are the primary interfaces between pilots and FMCs on many commercial aircraft.) This program was recently redesigned into a software library that can be embedded in research application programs. As part of the redesign, this software was combined with software for creating custom pages of information to be displayed on a CDU. This software commands independent switching of the left (pilot’s) and right (copilot’s) MCDUs. For example, a custom CDU page can control the left CDU while the FMC controls the right CDU. The software uses menu keys to switch control of the CDU between the FMC or a custom CDU page. The software provides an interface that enables custom CDU pages to insert keystrokes into the FMC’s CDU input interface. This feature allows the custom CDU pages to manipulate the FMC as if it were a pilot.

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Machine Aided Indexing and the NASA Thesaurus

Machine Aided Indexing (MAI) is a Web-based application program for aiding the indexing of literature in the NASA Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Database. MAI was designed to be a convenient, fully interactive tool for determining the subject matter of documents and identifying keywords. The heart of MAI is a natural-language processor that accepts, as input, any user-supplied text, including abstracts, full documents, and Web pages. Within seconds, the text is analyzed and a ranked list of terms is generated. The 17,800 terms of the NASA Thesaurus serve as the foundation of the knowledge base used by MAI. The NASA Thesaurus defines a standard vocabulary, the use of which enables MAI to assist in ensuring that STI documents are uniformly and consistently accessible. Of particular interest to traditional users of the NASA Thesaurus, MAI incorporates a fully searchable thesaurus display module that affords wordsearch and hierarchy-navigation capabilities that make it much easier and less time-consuming to look up terms and browse, relative to lookup and browsing in older print and Portable Document Format (PDF) digital versions of the Thesaurus. In addition, because MAI is centrally hosted, the Thesaurus data are always current.

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