Tech Briefs

Analyzing Contents of a Computer Cache

The Cache Contents Estimator (CCE) is a computer program that provides information on the contents of level-1 cache of a PowerPC computer. The CCE is configurable to enable simulation of any processor in the PowerPC family. The need for CCE arises because the contents of level-1 caches are not available to either hardware or software readout mechanisms, yet information on the contents is crucial in the development of fault-tolerant or highly available computing systems and for realistic modeling and prediction of computing-system performance. The CCE comprises two independent subprograms: (1) the Dynamic Application Address eXtractor (DAAX), which extracts the stream of address references from an application program undergoing execution and (2) the Cache Simulator (CacheSim), which models the level-1 cache of the processor to be analyzed, by mimicking what the cache controller would do, in response to the address stream from DAAX. CacheSim generates a running estimate of the contents of the data and the instruction subcaches of the level-1 cache, hit/miss ratios, the percentage of cache that contains valid or active data, and time-stamped histograms of the cache content.

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Discrepancy Reporting Management System

Discrepancy Reporting Management System (DRMS) is a computer program designed for use in the stations of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) to help establish the operational history of equipment items; acquire data on the quality of service provided to DSN customers; enable measurement of service performance; provide early insight into the need to improve processes, procedures, and interfaces; and enable the tracing of a data outage to a change in software or hardware. DRMS is a Web-based software system designed to include a distributed-database and replication feature to achieve location-specific autonomy while maintaining a consistent high quality of data. DRMS incorporates commercial Web and database software. DRMS collects, processes, replicates, communicates, and manages information on spacecraft data discrepancies, equipment resets, and physical equipment status, and maintains an internal station log. All discrepancy reports (DRs), Master discrepancy reports (MDRs), and Reset data are replicated to a master server at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Master DR data are replicated to all the DSN sites; and Station Logs are internal to each of the DSN sites and are not replicated. Data are validated according to several logical mathematical criteria. Queries can be performed on any combination of data.

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Simultaneous Product Development Provides a New Approach to Design Collaboration

This approach enables sharing and merging of any element of a digital model, and allows collaborative data to flow in any direction. Product development is becoming increasingly global and as a result, new challenges have emerged,such as coordinating geographically dispersed teams of suppliers and partners. Consequently, the modern enterprise is more similar to a network of interconnected nodes that work in parallel and need constant dynamic synchronization. The widespread adoption of digital design documents, the introduction of collaboration tools like Web-based review and mark-up, and Internet-accessible databases have made design data more readily available.

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Brazing SiC/SiC Composites to Metals

Success depends on suitable process conditions and adequate titanium contents in brazing alloys. Experiments have shown that active brazing alloys (ABAs) can be used to join SiC/SiC composite materials to metals, with bond strengths sufficient for some structural applications. The SiC/SiC composite coupons used in the experiments were made from polymer-based SiC fiber preforms that were chemical-vapor- infiltrated with SiC to form SiC matrices. Some of the metal coupons used in the experiments were made from 304 stainless steel;others were made from oxygen-free, high-conductivity copper.

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Composite-Material Tanks With Chemically Resistant Liners

Liner materials are chosen for compatibility with reactive and/or unstable fluids. Lightweight composite-material tanks with chemically resistant liners have been developed for storage of chemically reactive and/or unstable fluids — especially hydrogen peroxide. These tanks are similar, in some respects, to the ones described in — Lightweight Composite-Material Tanks for Cryogenic Liquids — (MFS-31379), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol.25, No.1 (January, 2001), page 58; however, the present tanks are fabricated by a different procedure and they do not incorporate insulation that would be needed to prevent boil-off of cryogenic fluids.

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Improved BN Coatings on SiC Fibers in SiC Matrices

Outside debonding would be favored over inside debonding. Modifications of BN-based coatings that are used as interfacial layers between the fibers and matrices of SiC-fiber/SiC-matrix composite materials have been investigated to improve the thermomechanical properties of these materials. Such interfacial coating layers, which are also known as interphases (not to be confused with "interphase" in the biological sense), contribute to strength and fracture toughness of a fiber/matrix composite material by providing for limited amounts of fiber/matrix debonding and sliding to absorb some of the energy that would otherwise contribute to the propagation of cracks.

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Simulating Operation of a Planetary Rover

Simulating Operation of a Planetary Rover Rover Analysis, Modeling, and Simulations (ROAMS) is a computer program that simulates the operation of a robotic vehicle (rover) engaged in exploration of a remote planet. ROAMS is a rover-specific extension of the DARTS and Dshell programs, described in prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, which afford capabilities for mathematical modeling of the dynamics of a spacecraft as a whole and of its instruments,actuators, and other subsystems. ROAMS incorporates mathematical models of kinematics and dynamics of rover mechanical subsystems, sensors, interactions with terrain, solar panels and batteries, and onboard navigation and locomotion-control software. ROAMS provides a modular simulation framework that can be used for analysis, design, development, testing,and operation of rovers. ROAMS can be used alone for system performance and trade studies. Alternatively, ROAMS can be used in an operator-in-the-loop or flight-software closed-loop environment. ROAMS can also be embedded within other software for use in analysis and development of algorithms,or for Monte Carlo studies, using a variety of terrain models, to generate performance statistics. Moreover, taking advantage of real-time features of the underlying DARTS/Dshell simulation software, ROAMS can also be used for real-time simulations.

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