Tracking Resource Allocation Cognitive Strategies (TRACS)

Technology #12389

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Interface for software to assist with cognitive resource allocation
Categories
Inventors
Professor Mary Cummings
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
External Link (esd.mit.edu)
Sylvain Bruni
Department Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
Managed By
Daniel Dardani
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Publications
Tracking Resource Allocation Cognitive Strategies for Strike Planning
Cognitive Systems with Interactive Sensors, 2006

Applications

Applications for this technology is found in mission planning for multi-criteria resource allocation for military strikes and multi-variable geospatial path planning problems for astronaut moon traversals.

Problem Addressed

This technology aims to solve the optimization problems faced by operators using automated design support in multivariate resource allocation and geospatial path planning problems. Such optimization problems require that human operators integrate different sources and types of information at different levels of certainty in order to find solutions that satisfy not only constraints, but overall mission objectives and goals.

Technology

The "Tracking Resource Allocation Cognitive Strategies" tool (TRACS) allows for post-hoc visualization of the cognitive steps exhibited by a human operator while interacting with a multivariate resource allocation decision-support interface. This tool was applied to both mission planning for multi-criteria resource allocation for military strikes, and also multi-variable geospatial path planning problems for astronaut moon traversals. Both domains involve a human operator interacting with an automated decision-support system in order to find a solution to a complex planning problem involving multivariate and constrained optimization for a cost function. With the help of TRACS, clear patterns of behavior are identified that can be correlated to performance in both applications.

Advantages

  • TRACS depicts transitions in a user's thought process and actions, or mode changes, which allows for identification and evaluation of where user's spend cognitive resources.
  • As TRACS is a standardized representation of an individual's cognitive strategy, it can be used to compare strategies between different users performing the same task, or to compare strategies across different interfaces.