Software

Decision Support for Emergency Operations Centers

The Flood Disaster Mitigation Decision Support System (DSS) is a computerized information system that allows regional emergency-operations government officials to make decisions regarding the dispatch of resources in response to flooding. The DSS implements a real-time model of inundation utilizing recently acquired lidar elevation data as well asreal-time data from flood gauges, and other instruments within and upstream of an area that is or could become flooded. The DSS information is updated as new data become available. The model generates real-time maps of flooded areas and predicts flood crests at specified locations. The inundation maps are overlaid with information on population densities, property values, hazardous materials, evacuation routes, official contact information, and other information needed for emergency response. The program maintains a database and a Web portal through which real-time data from instrumentation are gathered into the database. Also included in the database is a geographic information system, from which the program obtains the overlay data for areas of interest as needed. The portal makes some portions of the database accessible to the public. Access to other portions of the database is restricted to government officials according to various levels of authorization. The Flood Disaster Mitigation DSS has been integrated into a larger DSS named REACT (Real-time Emergency Action Coordination Tool), which also provides emergency operations managers with data for any type of impact area such as floods, fires, bomb emergencies, and the like.

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NASA Records Database

The NASA Records Database, comprising a Web-based application program and a database, is used to administer an archive of paper records at Stennis Space Center. The system begins with an electronic form, into which a user enters information about records that the user is sending to the archive. The form is “smart”: it provides instructions for entering information correctly and prompts the user to enter all required information. Once complete, the form is digitally signed and submitted to the database. The system determines which storage locations are not in use, assigns the user’s boxes of records to some of them, and enters these assignments in the database. Thereafter, the software tracks the boxes and can be used to locate them. By use of search capabilities of the software, specific records can be sought by box storage locations, accession numbers, record dates, submitting organizations, or details of the records themselves. Boxes can be marked with such statuses as checked out, lost, transferred, and destroyed. The system can generate reports showing boxes awaiting destruction or transfer. When boxes are transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the system can automatically fill out NARA records-transfer forms. Currently, several other NASA Centers are considering deploying the NASA Records Database to help automate their records archives.

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Real-Time Principal-Component Analysis

A recently written computer program implements dominant-element-based gradient descent and dynamic initial learning rate (DOGEDYN), which was described in “Method of Real-Time Principal-Component Analysis” (NPO-40034) NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 29, No. 1 (January 2005), page 59. To recapitulate: DOGEDYN is a method of sequential principal-component analysis (PCA) suitable for such applications as data compression and extraction of features from sets of data. In DOGEDYN, input data are represented as a sequence of vectors acquired at sampling times. The learning algorithm in DOGEDYN involves sequential extraction of principal vectors by means of a gradient descent in which only the dominant element is used at each iteration. Each iteration includes updating of elements of a weight matrix by amounts proportional to a dynamic initial learning rate chosen to increase the rate of convergence by compensating for the energy lost through the previous extraction of principal components. In comparison with a prior method of gradient-descent-based sequential PCA, DOGEDYN involves less computation and offers a greater rate of learning convergence. The sequential DOGEDYN computations require less memory than would parallel computations for the same purpose. The DOGEDYN software can be executed on a personal computer.

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Fuzzy/Neural Software Estimates Costs of Rocket-Engine Tests

The Highly Accurate Cost Estimating Model (HACEM) is a software system for estimating the costs of testing rocket engines and components at Stennis Space Center. HACEM is built on a foundation of adaptive-network-based fuzzy inference systems (ANFIS) — a hybrid software concept that combines the adaptive capabilities of neural networks with the ease of development and additional benefits of fuzzy-logic-based systems. In ANFIS, fuzzy inference systems are trained by use of neural networks. HACEM includes selectable subsystems that utilize various numbers and types of inputs, various numbers of fuzzy membership functions, and various input-preprocessing techniques. The inputs to HACEM are parameters of specific tests or series of tests. These parameters include test type (component or engine test), number and duration of tests, and thrust level(s) (in the case of engine tests). The ANFIS in HACEM are trained by use of sets of these parameters, along with costs of past tests. Thereafter, the user feeds HACEM a simple input text file that contains the parameters of a planned test or series of tests, the user selects the desired HACEM subsystem, and the subsystem processes the parameters into an estimate of cost(s).

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Spacecraft Antenna Clusters for High EIRP

Several documents in a collection discuss a proposal to use clusters of appropriately phased, relatively small microwave antennas to obtain high levels of effective isotropically radiated power (EIRP) for transmission of data from spacecraft to Earth during exploration of distant planets. The advantages of such a cluster, relative to a single larger antenna of equivalent EIRP, would include the following:

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Autonomous Navigation by a Mobile Robot

ROAMAN is a computer program for autonomous navigation of a mobile robot on a long (as much as hundreds of meters) traversal of terrain. Developed for use aboard a robotic vehicle (rover) exploring the surface of a remote planet, ROAMAN could also be adapted to similar use on terrestrial mobile robots. ROAMAN implements a combination of algorithms for (1) long-range path planning based on images acquired by mast-mounted, wide-baseline stereoscopic cameras, and (2) local path planning based on images acquired by body-mounted, narrow-baseline stereoscopic cameras. The long-range path-planning algorithm autonomously generates a series of waypoints that are passed to the local pathplanning algorithm, which plans obstacleavoiding legs between the waypoints. Both the long- and short-range algorithms use an occupancy-grid representation in computations to detect obstacles and plan paths. Maps that are maintained by the long- and short-range portions of the software are not shared because substantial localization errors can accumulate during any long traverse. ROAMAN is not guaranteed to generate an optimal shortest path, but does maintain the safety of the rover.

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Software Would Largely Automate Design of Kalman Filter

Embedded Navigation Filter Automatic Designer (ENFAD) is a computer program being developed to automate the most difficult tasks in designing embedded software to implement a Kalman filter in a navigation system. The most difficult tasks are selection of error states of the filter and tuning of filter parameters, which are timeconsuming trial-and-error tasks that require expertise and rarely yield optimum results. An optimum selection of error states and filter parameters depends on navigation-sensor and vehicle characteristics, and on filter processing time. ENFAD would include a simulation module that would incorporate all possible error states with respect to a given set of vehicle and sensor characteristics. The first of two iterative optimization loops would vary the selection of error states until the best filter performance was achieved in Monte Carlo simulations. For a fixed selection of error states, the second loop would vary the filter parameter values until an optimal performance value was obtained. Design constraints would be satisfied in the optimization loops. Users would supply vehicle and sensor test data that would be used to refine digital models in ENFAD. Filter processing time and filter accuracy would be computed by ENFAD.

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