The NASA project MORSE, carried out jointly with Professor Bonnie John of HCII, is a project consisting of the following five goals:
- To create a task that requires humans to collaborate as a team.
- To describe the task and the points of cognitive overload that the individual human teammates might experience.
- To create accurate models of human problem solving and cognitive load in solving the task.
- To discover areas where intelligent and autonomous software agent technology can reduce the cognitive load on the individual team members, so as to improve their individual performance, and to improve the performance of the team as a whole.
- To run human subject experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of the cognitive models and of the agents, in order to improve individual and team performance.
The task that we have chosen to simulate involves range operations.
Fifteen hours before a launch, three radar station commanders must watch an area of the Atlantic Ocean over which the launch vehicle will be passing. They must coordinate and share resources to remove incursions (air and sea vehicles) from that area. They must also deploy weather monitoring instruments to ascertain how the weather might impact the launch, or modify the assumptions of the effective launch range. At the end of the fifteen hours, the team has a one hour window in which to decide whether to launch or abort the mission, or to whether or not they should change their previous decision.