Decision Support Research Projects

Current Projects

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - Human Machine Interface (Sept. 2012 – June 2014)

Lincoln Laboratory – Lee Spence
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Military Fellow – Mark Boyer
MIT – Missy Cummings (Duke University)

This research addresses the human response to rapid changes in workload.  Much research using traditional methods has been done on sustained low workload (vigilance) and sustained high workload, but this research looks at the less-studied transition period between low and high mental workload by measuring the hemodynamic response of subjects to a simulated missile defense task using functional near-infrared spectroscopy, or fNIRS. 

Air Operations Center Air Task Order Planning (Sept. 2013 – June 2015)

Lincoln Laboratory – Steven Relyea
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Military Fellow – Kevin Rossillon
MIT – Dimitris Bertsimas

This research investigates robust optimization methods to improve the current Air Task Order planning cycle performed by the Air Force.  In particular, sensitivities to pre-emption, dependent tasks, and multi-stage planning cycles are explored.




Potential Future Projects:

Novel Human-Machine Interface Prototype (2014-2015)

Lincoln Laboratory - Suvendra Dutta

This project involves the visualization of satellites that orbit the Earth. The population of Earth-orbiting objects continues to increase in size, because of space launches, satellite breakups, and other debris-causing events. At some orbit regimes, particularly the geostationary belt, satellites can pose collision threats to other satellites. Both operators and analysts need new ways to interact with an immense amount of satellite tracking and telemetry data in order to protect their satellites. The consumer electronics and gaming industries are cultivating communities of device hacks for unexpected uses. This project will develop and prototype novel human interaction and visualization interface concepts utilizing consumer multimedia devices, such as the Microsoft Xbox and the upcoming Oculus Rift.



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Space Situational Awareness Graphical Environment (2014-2015)

Lincoln Laboratory - Suvendra Dutta

The current user interfaces in space situational awareness (SSA) would be unrecognizable to users of today’s mobile applications. At the same time, new sensors are increasing both the amount and richness of information that is being presented to the operator. Novel analytical approaches will be required to comprehend and extract information from these new kinds of data. Having a large software system that is built to a specific workflow under standard government acquisition processes makes it very difficult and expensive to deploy new capability rapidly to the operator. This project will prototype a new framework that allows users to view and use core software components (data parsers, processing, visualization, etc.) and compose workflows through a graphical programming environment. Users will be able to drag and drop different components and have the output of one component flow to the input of another. The components and data will be SSA-specific (viz., observations, states, state update, initial orbit determination, etc.), allowing users to use their high-level knowledge without requiring software expertise. We propose to collaborate with the Scratch development group at MIT that has been involved in graphical programming research for many years as applied to the education community. We propose to extend this research to SSA where operators (like students) tend to repeatedly perform the same tasks while analysts (like teachers) explore the data in new and innovative ways to establish new activity patterns for the operators.