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Ongoing Projects

Listed here is a sampling of some of our current projects.  Please visit this page often as we will update it so you can learn about other projects.  Thank you for your interest in our products and services!

Ship Manpower Requirements and Analysis Tools (SMART)

Army Research Laboratory's Advanced Decision Architectures Collaborative Technology Alliance (ADA CTA)

CEV Human Engineering Support

Ship Manpower Requirements and Analysis Tools (SMART)

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) recognized the need for tools to help analysts plan for, design, and most importantly, evaluate alternative manning and automation concepts prior to attempting to implement technology.  To help meet these needs, ONR and NSWC sponsored the Ship Manpower Requirements and Analysis Tools (SMART) project.  The goal of this four year (FY98-01) effort was to provide the Navy Manpower Analysis Center, Millington, TN, and US Navy ship acquisition programs with a process, models and tools for assessing manpower and workload requirements for future platforms before any metal is bent.  The primary product from the effort was the development of a manpower-modeling tool entitled SMART Build 3.  A primary strength of SMART Build 3 is that it supports a flexible analysis approach through which a system designer can apply varying levels of fidelity to the analysis of manning and automation alternatives.  The scope of the functional analyses includes shipboard operations, facilities maintenance, unplanned corrective maintenance, and preventative maintenance.

SMART Build 3 assists designers in assessing the impact of reduced manning levels on performance in various dimensions of the systems.  These include the levels of automation required and the allocation of tasks to human operators of the system.  Users of SMART Build 3 can evaluate and trade-off these factors to determine the ultimate affordability of the new system.  Costs associated with a new system include the dollar cost of developing the system, including new automation, and the costs of the required crew.  SMART Build 3 combines two mature technologies: 1) skill and ability taxonomy, and 2) human performance modeling.

 

Army Research Laboratory’s Advanced Decision Architectures Collaborative Technology Alliance (ADA CTA)

Alion led the Army Research Laboratory’s Advanced Decision Architectures Collaborative Technology Alliance (ADA CTA), the Army's largest basic research program in cognitive and computer science. Alion led a team of 15 partners from academia and industry to work with government partners who complement each other with expertise in human factors, artificial intelligence, psychology, engineering, and computer science. The Alliance designed and tested new cognitive and computer science innovations that help Soldiers better understand the tactical situation and more thoroughly evaluate courses of action. The research is organized into four technical areas:

 

·         Cognitive Process Modeling and Metrics:  Cognitive processes were modeled, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Issues about trust and automation were explored and modeled to better understand the impact on performance.

·         Team Communication and Collaboration:  Tools and intelligent systems were created to support distributed teams in making collaborative decisions, sharing data in meaningful ways, and examining the impact of their decisions.

·         Context-Sensitive Information Presentation:  Cutting edge displays (i.e., haptics, multimodal, flexible) were used to present the right information to the Soldier at the right time. We researched the impact of network limitations on the Soldier's ability to understand the situation and make appropriate decisions.

·         Fusion and Intelligent Architectures:  Information fusion and intelligent architectures were developed to manage resources such as the allocation of robotic sensors. We researched architectures to help Soldiers reason about and understand the digital battlefield.

 

By combining the theories of how people make decisions with the emerging technologies we enable Soldiers to make good decisions quickly with an understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with the possible courses of action. The Research portion of the ADA ended in December of 2009, culminating in a workshop and edited book, Advanced Decision Architectures for the Warfighter: Foundations and Technology, along with a myriad products from individual projects. The Technical Transition effort continues through 2011. More information can be found at http://bldr-webtest.alionscience.com/AdaCta/.

CEV Human Engineering Support

Our primary task is to provide human factors support to LMCO for the Orion CEV Program.  This support includes the development of discrete event simulation models of the tasks performed by the astronauts from launch to landing.  The models are being built in IMPRINT and the goal is to analyze the astronauts’ workload and whether tasks and missions can be completed successfully given timing and accuracy constraints.  We are also supporting task analyses, ground support evaluations, and the development of radiation shield procedures.

 

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