Tech Briefs

Forecasting of Storm-Surge Floods Using ADCIRC and Optimized DEMs

Maximum water levels are mapped for Hurricanes Camille and Katrina. Increasing the accuracy of storm-surge flood forecasts is essential for improving preparedness for hurricanes and other severe storms and, in particular, for optimizing evacuation scenarios. An interactive database, developed by WorldWinds, Inc., contains atlases of storm-surge flood levels for the Louisiana/Mississippi gulf coast region. These atlases were developed to improve forecasting of flooding along the coastline and estuaries and in adjacent inland areas. Storm-surge heights depend on a complex interaction of several factors, including: storm size, central minimum pressure, forward speed of motion, bottom topography near the point of landfall, astronomical tides, and, most importantly, maximum wind speed.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Cartography, Weather and climate, Data management


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.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Communication protocols, Computer software and hardware, Data exchange, Data management


Identifying Trends in Deep Space Network Monitor Data

A computer program has been developed that analyzes Deep Space Network monitor data, looking for changes of trends in critical parameters. This program represents a significant improvement over the previous practice of manually plotting data and visually inspecting the resulting graphs to identify trends. This program uses proven numerical techniques to identify trends. When a statistically significant trend is detected, then it is characterized by means of a symbol that can be used by pre-existing model-based reasoning software. The program can perform any of the following functions:

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Statistical analysis, Artificial intelligence, Data management


Predicting Lifetime of a Thermomechanically Loaded Component

NASALIFE is a computer program for predicting the lifetime, as affected by low cycle fatigue (LCF) and creep rupture, of a structural component subject to temporally varying, multiaxial thermomechanical loads. The component could be, for example, part of an aircraft turbine engine. Empirical data from LCF tests, creep rupture tests, and static tensile tests are used as references for predicting the number of missions the component can withstand under a given thermomechanical loading condition. The user prepares an input file containing the creep-rupture and cyclic-fatigue information, temperature-dependent material properties, and mission loading and control flags. The creep rupture information can be entered in tabular form as stress versus life or by means of parameters of the Larson- Miller equation. The program uses the Walker mean-stress model to adjust predicted life for ranges of the ratio between the maximum and minimum stresses. Data representing complex load cycles are reduced by the rainflow counting method. Miner’s rule is utilized to combine the damage at different load levels. Finally, the program determines the total damage due to creep and combines it with the fatigue damage due to the cyclic loading and predicts the approximate number of missions a component can endure before failing. This work was done by Pappu L. N. Murthy of Glenn Research Center, John Z. Gyekenyesi of N&R Engineering and Management Services Corp., Subodh Mital of the University of Toledo, and David N. Brewer of the U. S. Army Aviation Systems Command. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at under the Software category. Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steve Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18081.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Life cycle analysis, Prognostics, Fatigue, Parts


Partial Automation of Requirements Tracing

Requirements Tracing on Target (RETRO) is software for after-the-fact tracing of textual requirements to support independent verification and validation of software. RETRO applies one of three user-selectable information-retrieval techniques: (1) term frequency/inverse document frequency (TF/IDF) vector retrieval, (2) TF/IDF vector retrieval with simple thesaurus, or (3) keyword extraction. One component of RETRO is the graphical user interface (GUI) for use in initiating a requirements-tracing project (a pair of artifacts to be traced to each other, such as a requirements spec and a design spec). Once the artifacts have been specified and the IR technique chosen, another component constructs a representation of the artifact elements and stores it on disk.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Computer software and hardware, Automation, Certification


Automated Synthesis of Architectures of Avionic Systems

The Architecture Synthesis Tool (AST) is software that automatically synthesizes software and hardware architectures of avionic systems. The AST is expected to be most helpful during initial formulation of an avionic-system design, when system requirements change frequently and manual modification of architecture is time-consuming and susceptible to error. The AST comprises two parts: (1) an architecture generator, which utilizes a genetic algorithm to create a multitude of architectures; and (2) a functionality evaluator, which analyzes the architectures for viability, rejecting most of the non-viable ones. The functionality evaluator generates and uses a viability tree — a hierarchy representing functions and components that perform the functions such that the system as a whole performs system-level functions representing the requirements for the system as specified by a user. Architectures that survive the functionality evaluator are further evaluated by the selection process of the genetic algorithm. Architectures found to be most promising to satisfy the user’s requirements and to perform optimally are selected as parents to the next generation of architectures. The foregoing process is iterated as many times as the user desires. The final output is one or a few viable architectures that satisfy the user’s requirements.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Architecture, Avionics, Systems engineering


SSRL Emergency Response Shore Tool

The SSRL Emergency Response Shore Tool (wherein “SSRL” signifies “Smart Systems Research Laboratory”) is a computer program within a system of communication and mobile-computing software and hardware being developed to increase the situational awareness of first responders at building collapses. This program is intended for use mainly in planning and constructing shores to stabilize partially collapsed structures. The program consists of client and server components, runs in the Windows operating system on commercial off-the-shelf portable computers, and can utilize such additional hardware as digital cameras and Global Positioning System devices.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Global positioning systems, Global positioning systems (GPS), Hazards and emergency management, Hazards and emergency operations, Construction vehicles and equipment


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