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Session 38 - ADS and Expert Assistants.
Display session, Tuesday, June 09
Atlas Ballroom,

[38.05] Scientist's Expert Assistant to Support NGST Observing Program

T. Brooks (Century Computing), A. Koratkar (STScI), J. Jones, L. Ruley (GSFC), S. Grosvenor (Federal Data Corp.)

The Scientist's Expert Assistant is a prototype effort to explore new alternatives for developing observing proposals. Supporting the Phase II proposal effort at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is currently a manually intensive effort. In order to meet the operational cost objectives for the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), this process needs to be dramatically less time consuming and less costly.

Our approach is to use a combination of artificial intelligence and user interface techniques to provide a system that minimizes redundant data entry, allows users to approach the process visually, and provides a guided interview process to structure observations.

The Advanced Architectures and Automation Branch of NASA Goddard's Information Systems Center is working with the STScI to explore alternatives for SEA, using an iterative prototype-review-revise cycle. We are testing the usefulness of rule-based expert systems to painlessly guide a scientist to his or her desired observation specification. We are also prototyping an interactive, visual tool (The Visual Target Tuner, VTT) for fine-tuning the target location and orientation, and an Exposure Time Calculator (ETC). Both the VTT and ETC are essential tools during proposal preparation, because they help an observer determine important observational constraints.

In developing our prototype, we are using STScI's two-phase proposal submission approach and Hubble Space Telescope's upcoming Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) as our testbed instrument. We are using the latest release of Java as our development language for its object-oriented capabilities and platform independence. This gives us the ability to easily extend the tools capabilities and to provide a means to easily "plug-in" customized components such as new or different detectors, new observing modes, or even the characteristics of a completely different observatory.

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