CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (CISD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Michael J. Lazlo

Committee Member

Amon B Seagull

Committee Member

Sumitra Mukherjee

Abstract

Modern information systems require a flexible, scalable, and upgradeable infrastructure that allows communication and collaboration between heterogeneous information processing and computing environments. Aviation systems from different organizations often use differing representations and distribution policies for the same data and messages, limiting interoperability and collaboration. Although this problem is conceptually straightforward, information exchange is error prone, often dramatically underestimated, and unexpectedly complex. In the air traffic domain, complexity is often the result of the many different uncoordinated information processing environments that are used.

The complexity and variation in information processing environments results in a barrier between domain practitioners and the engineers that build the information systems. These divisions have contributed to development challenges on high profile systems such as the FAA's Advanced Automation System and the FBI's Virtual Case File. Operationally, difficulties in sharing information have contributed to significant coordination challenges between organizations. These coordination problems are evident in events such as the response to Hurricane Katrina, the October 2009 Northwest Airlines flight that overflew its scheduled destination by more than 100 miles, and other incidents requiring coordination between multiple organizations.

To address interoperability in the aviation domain, a prototype Domain-Specific Language (DSL) for aviation data, an aviation metadata repository, and a data generation capability was designed and implemented. These elements provide the capability to specify and generate data for use in the aviation domain. The DSL was designed to allow the domain practitioner to participate in dynamic information exchange without being burdened by the complexities of information technology and organizational policy. The DSL provides the capability to specify and generate information system usable representations of aviation data. Data is generated according to the representational details stored in the aviation metadata repository. The combination of DSL, aviation metadata repository, and data generation provide the capability for aviation systems to interoperate, enabling collaboration, information sharing, and coordination.

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