Strategic Assessment of Risk and Technology (START) is a user-friendly computer program that assists human managers in making decisions regarding research- and- development investment portfolios in the presence of uncertainties and of non- technological constraints that include budgetary and time limits, restrictions related to infrastructure, and programmatic and institutional priorities. START facilitates quantitative analysis of technologies, capabilities, missions, scenarios and programs, and thereby enables the selection and scheduling of value-optimal development efforts. START incorporates features that, variously, perform or support a unique combination of functions, most of which are not systematically performed or supported by prior decision-support software. These functions include the following:

  • Optimal portfolio selection using an expected-utility-based assessment of capabilities and technologies;
  • Temporal investment recommendations;
  • Distinctions between enhancing and enabling capabilities;
  • Analysis of partial funding for enhancing capabilities; and
  • Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis.

START can run on almost any computing hardware, within Linux and related operating systems that include Mac OS X versions 10.3 and later, and can run in Windows under the Cygwin environment. START can be distributed in binary code form. START calls, as external libraries, several open-source software packages. Output is in Excel (.xls) file format.

This program was written by Virgil Adumitroaie, Hook Hua, William Lincoln, Gary Block, Joseph Mrozinski, Kacie Shelton, Charles Weisbin, Alberto Elfes, and Jeffrey Smith of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-44800.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2007 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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