Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, June 02, 2004
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

Automating CapCom
The Mobile Agents Integrated Field Test at the Mars Desert Research Station

William J. Clancey, PhD, Chief Scientist, Human-Centered Computing
Computational Sciences Division, NASA Ames Research Center
About the talk:

More than twenty scientists and engineers from three NASA centers and two universities refined and tested the Mobile Agents system in a series of incremental scenarios at the Mars Desert Research Station in April 2003. Runtime agent software, implemented in Brahms, processed GPS, health data, and voice commands-monitoring, controlling and logging science data throughout simulated Extra Vehicular Activity (moon walk, space walk, etc.) with two geologists. Brahms is a modeling and simulation environment that includes a multi-agent programming language for modeling and simulating how people work and collaborate in a work system. (For more information, see BrahmsWorkingPaper.pdf ) Predefined Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) plans, modified on the fly, enabled the Mobile Agents system to provide navigation and timing advice. Communications were maintained over five wireless nodes distributed over hills and canyons for 5 Km. Science data, including photographs and status, were transmitted automatically to a remote support team.

This talk presents examples from Apollo lunar traverses and Mars analog missions that suggest methods for augmenting human capability to make operations safer and more efficient, while reducing flight controller supervision. Many photographs and videos show how the distributed system is developed in the context of use, establishing a baseline for field science requirements relative to Mars. Issues in extending the system to facilitate cooperation of multiple robots and astronaut teams are also considered.

About the speaker:

Dr. William J. Clancey is Chief Scientist for Human-Centered Computing at NASA Ames Research Center, Computational Sciences Division, where he manages the Work Systems Design & Evaluation Group. He is on leave from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola.

Clancey's research includes work practice modeling, distributed multiagent systems, and the ethnography of field science. Projects in his group include participation in MER mission operations, simulation of a day-in-the-life of the ISS, knowledge management for future launch vehicles, and developing flight systems that make automation more transparent.

Clancey has degrees in Mathematical Sciences (BA, Rice University, 1974) and Computer Science (PhD, Stanford University, 1979). At the Knowledge Systems Laboratory of Stanford University (1974-1987), Clancey developed some of the earliest artificial intelligence programs for explanation, the critiquing method of consultation, tutorial discourse, and student modeling. Prior to joining NASA, he was a founding member of the Institute for Research on Learning (1987-1997) where he co-developed the methods of business anthropology in corporate environments.

Contact information:

William J. Clancey, PhD
Chief Scientist, Human-Centered Computing
Computational Sciences Division, M/S 269-3
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA 94035

650-604-2526, fax 4-4036
web: bill.clancey