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Research Groups

Advanced Exploration Knowledge Networks
The AEKN Group develops information management technologies for integrating and accessing high-throughput, heterogeneous data sources and knowledge representations. The AEKN Group performs research and development on NASA’s next-generation knowledge management systems and provides operational support for current high-performance systems, such as the Program Management Tool (PMT) and the joint collaboration project between NASA and the Xerox Corporation known as the NX Knowledge Network.
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Advanced Spaceflight Training Systems
The focus of the ASTS Group is human-spaceflight scheduling, training, and mission preparation, including the automatic tracking of certification and other records for crew and flight controllers. In 2006, the group took over management, maintenance, and development of NASA's 25-year-old spaceflight training management system (TMS) for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. The ASTS Group plans to integrate the separate modules of the TMS and to migrate all systems and interfaces into a web-based environment.
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Information Sharing & Integration
The focus of the ISI Group is on the development of innovative tools and techniques for collaboration, information sharing, knowledge modeling, and semantic data integration. The customers for these tools are the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) at Johnson Space Center; distributed teams of NASA scientists and engineers; NASA’s Next-Generation air-traffic management research project; and government-industry teams responsible for safety, operations, and maintenance in civil aviation. Research within the group is conducted in search and integration of information across multiple enterprise-level and operational data repositories, agent-assisted collaboratories, knowledge acquisition and management for science and engineering, semantic technologies, and information-integration architectures.
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User-Centered Technologies
The UCT Group employs a multi-disciplinary user-centered design process to create technology based on carefully defined and documented user requirements. The Group’s research focus is the development of component-based computing technologies, so that the complexity for the users is that of their tasks, not of their tools. Two current UCT projects are the design, development, testing, and engineering of Mission Control Technologies for human spaceflight missions; and the design and deployment of Planetary Data Systems (PDS) web pages for sharing NASA’s planetary science imagery. UCT is also working with Google to improve the availability and user experience of searching planetary data.
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Work Systems Design & Evaluation
The WSDE Group emphasizes the analysis and modeling of activities in complex NASA work environments, including the International Space Station Mission Control Center (MCC), Mars-and lunar-analog surface habitats, Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) science operations, current and future civil aviation cockpits, and current and future air-traffic management systems. The goal of analyzing and modeling these complex activities—involving both human experts and advanced software systems—is to identify opportunities to improve safety and efficiency, and to reduce cost, through automation. Specific technologies developed and implemented by the WSDE Group range from complete automation of functions previously performed by human experts, to adjustable-autonomy mixed-initiative systems, to advanced displays that integrate and organize multidimensional data for expert human operators.
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