Section 5 - Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation
Another of PANGARO Incorporated's major contracts was a research and development
project in cognitive modeling, with Niagara
Mohawk in New York.
The interaction between people operating a plant and its machine control
systems is critical for the safe operation of nuclear power stations. There
have existed potentially dangerous discrepancies between the real condition
of the power plants and the human operator's assessment of the plant's state.
PANGARO Incorporated was contacted by NMPC because of its strong reputation
for cybernetic applications. The similarities to previous work for ARE were
striking. As a result NMPC commissioned a brief "Phase I Study"
to examine the problems of plant operations, and to determine more precisely
how techniques of cognitive modeling developed by PANGARO Incorporated in
previous research were applicable.
For the safe operation of a plant, it is essential to understand the operator's
concept of the situation and his specific objective. This cognitive model
must exist in a form that can be recorded, studied and compared with desired
operational requirements and standard procedures. The model can then be
compared to the assessments made by experts performing under the same conditions.
The results can be used in many ways: to assess training needs; to revise
how emergency procedures are presented; to measure agreement about a particular
plant condition and its resolution.
Phase II was an 18-month study and software demonstration, showing specifically
how PANGARO Incorporated's approach to cognitive modeling and intelligent
training would be knitted together with a simulation of the nuclear plant.
This proved the feasibility of constructing a software system to deliver
one-on-one, targeted training for individual operators, in the actions,
purposes and bases of the EOPs.
Phase III, completed in 1992, involved the construction of the complete
prototype for installation at NMPC.
A more detailed description of this project is available on request, published
in the October 1991 IEEE "Systems, Man and Cybernetics" conference
proceedings. A paper of similar content invited by the American Institute
of Chemical Engineers is available on-line.
6 - Cybernetics Consultancy
PANGARO Incorporated History - Table of Contents