Archive for the ‘Mitre Corporation’ Category

A New Paradigm for Small UAS (Drones)

July 21, 2012 Comments off

A New Paradigm for Small UAS
Source: Mitre Corporation

Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are different than almost any other kind of aircraft. They can fly in places where no manned aircraft flies or where it would not be desirable to fly. They also pose different risks based upon their small size and performance. Today, the FAA regulates all navigable airspace, which extends to the ground. Within this airspace, there are some areas in which manned aircraft are simply not capable of flying by existing Federal Regulations. This may include areas that are very close to the sides of buildings, under bridges, below tree cover, and near power cables. Our research envisions that small UAS might make use of this airspace, which would be considered non-navigable by traditional manned aircraft due to the proximity of obstacles. Additionally, a small UAS may weigh only ounces. An aircraft that small is likely to pose a vastly different risk to people and property on the ground than would manned aircraft. Considering usage of airspace and the associated risk in this manner represents a departure from current thinking and may influence the methods of regulating these new aircraft. This paper explores and discusses this potential new paradigm further, and illustrates the implications with a set of operational scenarios.

Situating Anonymization Within a Privacy Risk Model

April 4, 2012 Comments off

Situating Anonymization Within a Privacy Risk Model
Source: MITRE

Privacy risk analysis of complex socio-technical systems suffers from an inadequate risk model that focuses primarily on some form of Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs). Anonymization as a privacy risk control suffers from an emphasis on risk of failure, neglecting the circumstances surrounding its selection as a risk control in the first place. By interrelating an enhanced privacy risk model that goes beyond FIPPs and an integrated anonymization framework, the selection and implementation of anonymization as a privacy risk control can be more systematically considered and carried out. The Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has sponsored development of both an integrated anonymization framework and an enhanced privacy risk model to support more effective privacy risk management. Both of these are described at a high level and their interoperability illustrated by application to the Google Street View controversy.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Impacts of Severe Space Weather on the Electric Grid

December 22, 2011 Comments off

Impacts of Severe Space Weather on the Electric Grid (PDF)
Source: Mitre Corporation (JASON; via Federation of American Scientists)

Tasked by the Department of Homeland Security, the 2011 JASON Summer Study focused on the impact of space weather on the electric grid, seeking to understand 1) the current status of solar observations, warnings, and predictions, 2) the plausibility of Mr. Kappenman’s worst-case scenario, 3) how previous solar storms have affected some power grids, and 4) what can be done at reasonable cost to protect our grid. This report builds on two previous JASON studies of different aspects of the U.S. electric grid.

National Airspace System Security Cyber Architecture

June 11, 2011 Comments off

National Airspace System Security Cyber Architecture
Source: Mitre Corporation

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) manages US airspace to promote safe and efficient operations. The FAA is presently revamping its infrastructure to accommodate new air traffic control (ATC) services and to reduce risks associated with cyber threats. A description of the cyber security architecture, being deployed, is provided. The transition from a safety culture to a cyber security and safety culture is a part of this deployment. This transition is considered essential to the success of the architecture and it is also described.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

A Comparative Study of PDF Generation Methods: Measuring Loss of Fidelity When Converting Arabic and Persian MS Word Files to PDF

June 9, 2011 Comments off

A Comparative Study of PDF Generation Methods: Measuring Loss of Fidelity When Converting Arabic and Persian MS Word Files to PDF
Source: Mitre Corporation

Converting files to Portable Document Format (PDF) is popular due to the format’s many advantages. For example, PDF allows an author to control or preserve the rendering of a digital document, distribute it to other systems, and ensure that it displays in a viewer as intended.

From the perspective of Human Language Technology (HLT), however, PDFs are problematic. PDF is a display-oriented digital document format; the point of PDF is to preserve the appearance of a document, not to preserve the original electronic text. We observed errors in PDF-extracted text indicating that either the PDF generator or extractor, or both, mishandled the document structure, character data, and/or entire textual objects. And we learned that other HLT researchers reported data loss when extracting electronic text from PDFs. This motivated further study of digital document data exchange using PDFs.

MITRE conducted an exploratory study of data exchange using PDF in order to investigate the data loss phenomenon. We limited our study to Middle Eastern electronic text: specifically Arabic and Persian. The study included a test for scoring PDF generation methods—(a) using a common, best-practice setup to generate PDFs and extract text, and (b) using character accuracy to quantify the quality of PDF-extracted text. We ranked 8 methods according to the resulting accuracy scores. The 8 methods map to 3 core PDF generation classes. At best, the Microsoft Word class resulted in 42% Overall Accuracy. Best scores for the PDFMaker and Acrobat Distiller/PScript5.dll classes were 95% and 96%, respectively.

This paper explains our tests and discusses the results, including evidence that using PDF for data exchange of typical Arabic and Persian documents results in a loss of important electronic text content. This loss confuses human language technologies such as search engines, machine translation engines, computer-assisted translation tools, named entity recognizers, and information extractors.

Furthermore, most of the spurious newlines, spurious spaces in tokens, spurious character substitutions, and entity errors observed in the study were due to the PDF generation method, rather than the PDF text extractor. So, using a common configuration to convert reliable electronic text to PDF for data exchange causes irretrievable loss of electronic text on the receiving end.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Measuring the Forecast Accuracy of Intelligence Products

June 6, 2011 Comments off

Measuring the Forecast Accuracy of Intelligence Products
Source: Mitre Corporation

Our experience has been that many in the Intelligence Community are resistant to the idea of rigorous, scientific measurement of the accuracy of analytic forecasts, preferring instead to evaluate analyses through a critical review process. Unfortunately, research and experience in other complex domains show that expert self-assessments based only on critical reviews frequently result in measurably incorrect lessons learned. In this paper we argue that the Intelligence Community should adopt a program of rigorous, scientific measurement of forecast accuracy, because such a program is essential to improving accuracy. The paper also describes a new method for measuring the accuracy of analytic forecasts expressed with verbal imprecision. The method was used to evaluate the accuracy of ten open source intelligence products, including the declassified key judgments in two National Intelligence Estimates. Results show that forecasts in these products were reasonably calibrated, with a strong positive correlation between the strength of the language used to express forecast certainty and the frequency with which forecast events actually occurred. These results demonstrate that the forecast accuracy of analytic products can be measured rigorously.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Improving Departure Taxi Time Predictions Using ASDE-X Surveillance Data

May 28, 2011 Comments off

Improving Departure Taxi Time Predictions Using ASDE-X Surveillance Data
Source: Mitre Corporation

Often flights incur a large percentage of delay on the ground during the departure process; however, predicting the taxi-out time is difficult due to uncertainties associated with the factors influencing it, such as airport surface traffic, downstream traffic restrictions, runway configuration, weather, and human causes. Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X) surveillance data provides high resolution coverage of aircraft surface movement which can be leveraged to address this problem. This paper presents a novel approach which builds an adaptive taxi-out prediction model based on a historical traffic flow database generated using ASDE-X data. The model correlates taxi-out time and taxi-out delay to a set of explanatory variables such as aircraft queue position, distance to the runway, arrival rates, departure rates and weather. Two prediction models are developed. One treats aircraft movement from starting location to the runway threshold uniformly while the other models aircraft time to get to the runway queue different from the wait time experienced by the aircraft while in the runway queue. The models are evaluated using data from New York’s John F Kennedy (JFK) airport during the summer of 2010. Results show significant improvement in taxi-out predictions as compared to predictions using FAA’s Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS) data.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Determining Assertion Status for Medical Problems in Clinical Records

May 6, 2011 Comments off

Determining Assertion Status for Medical Problems in Clinical Records
Source: Mitre Corporation

This paper describes the MITRE system entries for the 2010 i2b2/VA community evaluation “Challenges in Natural Language Processing for Clinical Data” for the task of classifying assertions associated with problem concepts extracted from patient records. Our best performing system obtained an overall micro-averaged F-score of 0.9343. The methods employed were a combination of machine learning (Conditional Random Field and Maximum Entropy) and rule-based (pattern matching) techniques.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Air Traffic Controllers — Human Performance and Fatigue Research

April 25, 2011 Comments off

Human Performance and Fatigue Research for Controllers (PDF)
Source: Mitre Corporation

Fatigue has been on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) “Most Wanted List” since the initial list in 1990 and remains a topic of active investigation to this day. The focus of this document was placed on Air Traffic Controller fatigue. In order to provide a starting point for future applied research pertaining to air traffic controllers, MITRE analyzed existing research to: 1) review what is known about the effect of fatigue on performance, 2) identify gaps in knowledge, and 3) develop a plan to fill those gaps. While a wealth of historical and current studies were examined during the course of the review, the majority of research fails to adequately address many current areas of concern within the aviation community. Gaps identified during the review were prioritized based on the estimated risk to safety in the National Airspace System (NAS) from highest to lowest. Finally, studies were recommended to quantify Air Traffic Controller fatigue for all positions, validate measures of Air Traffic Controller performance sensitive to fatigue, validate individual shift schedules, collect data to support sleep disorder policy, and validate human performance models to predict fatigue. Multiple appendices supporting the analysis are provided, forming a comprehensive collection of reference material for the global fatigue research community. A major contribution of this initiative is to help highlight the areas of research that are currently lacking and to encourage a collaborative effort to achieve a broader understanding of the causal factors for fatigue in aviation as well as investigate how these factors interact.


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