Tool for Research Enhancement Decision Support (TREDS) is a computer program developed to assist managers in ranking options for research aboard the International Space Station (ISS). It could likely also be adapted to perform similar decision support functions in industrial and academic settings. TREDS provides a ranking of the options, based on a quantifiable assessment of all the relevant programmatic decision factors of benefit, cost, and risk. The computation of the benefit for each option is based on a figure of merit (FOM) for ISS research capacity that incorporates both quantitative and qualitative inputs. Qualitative inputs are gathered and partly quantified by use of the time-tested analytical hierarchical process and used to set weighting factors in the FOM corresponding to priorities determined by the cognizant decision maker(s). Then by use of algorithms developed specifically for this application, TREDS adjusts the projected benefit for each option on the basis of levels of technical implementation, cost, and schedule risk. Based partly on Excel spreadsheets, TREDS provides screens for entering cost, benefit, and risk information. Drop-down boxes are provided for entry of qualitative information. TREDS produces graphical output in multiple formats that can be tailored by users.

This program was written by James N. Ortiz of Johnson Space Center, Kelly Scott of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., and Harold Smith of Raytheon Co. For further information, contact the Johnson Technology Transfer Office at (281) 483-3809.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2005 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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