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Automating Exception Handing with Dynamic, Collaborative Scheduling

Automating Exception Handing  Principal Investigator:  David E Wilkins

Mailing address:
AI Center
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3493

AIC Program:  Representation and Reasoning

   Project Description

This project will integrate flight scheduling, execution management, and distributed coordination capabilities to provide an integrated basis for generating and updating flight schedules in response to new requirements, negotiating adjustments to resource assignments, immediately detecting schedule deviations during execution and alerting users about them, and dynamically revising and reoptimizing flight schedules when circumstances warrant. Current operations at the Air Mobility Command (AMC) are hampered by the gap in information flow and problem solving between planning and execution offices. We will use machine-understandable schedules and policies to close this gap. This project is joint work with Carnegie Mellon University.

We are able to close the loop by using machine-understandable schedules to derive the system’s expectations of what should happen, and using machine-understandable representations of policies and procedures to react to situations that do not meet these expectations. These policies and procedures, which encode AMC’s desired responses to execution events, will in turn modify the schedule, thus closing the loop.

While there may be automated responses for small, common deviations, responses to significant deviations will often be to alert the human user to the situation and let the user take control of revising the schedule, as directed by encoded AMC policies.

Our approach builds from a unique combination of three enabling technologies. The AMC Barrel Allocator (AMC-BA), an incremental constraint-based scheduler developed by CMU and now actively transitioning into operations as the day-to-day airlift and tanker scheduling component of AMC’s Consolidated Air Mobility Planning System (CAMPS), will be the core component for generating and revising flight schedules. AMC-BA is capable of incrementally revising schedules in response to new or changed input missions or resource availability conditions. Although currently incorporated in CAMPS as a planning tool, it is also seen to provide a direct basis for managing flight schedules in response to execution events.

We will develop an execution assistant, AMC-EA, which will actively monitor AMC data information sources for expectations it derives from the current schedule, recognize deviations immediately, and apply policies for responding to deviations. As described above, responses to significant deviations will alert the user to take control. Thus, we can view the AMC-EA as filtering the noise out of data streams, handling small deviations when so specified by a policy, and recognizing (and alerting on) those significant deviations that require human-controlled rescheduling. The AMC-EA will continuously react to new information while interspersing its proactive pursuit of response procedures. The AMC-EA will build on execution monitoring technology developed by SRI for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Small Unit Operations (SUO) program.

We will develop techniques for collaborative negotiation of resource allocation decisions between AMC planning cells by building on technology SRI is developing for incremental negotiation and coalition formation, in the DARPA Autonomous Negotiating Teams program.


Name Title E-mail
Lee, Tom J Senior Research Engineer
Ortiz, Charles L Program Director
Rauenbusch, Timothy W Computer Scientist
Wilkins, David E Senior Computer Scientist

  • Wilkins, D. and Smith, S. and Kramer, L. and Lee, T. and Rauenbusch, T. Airlift mission monitoring and dynamic rescheduling. Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 141-155, March 2008.  [Details]

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