DVIDS – News – Intuitive behavior analysis tool developed by NPS now available to the public



From drone communication to supply chain optimization, the Monterey Phoenix (MP) Firebird behavioral modeling web-based tool, developed at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), has already been used by numerous projects in research since it was first uploaded in 2015 because of how widely emerging behavioral analysis is useful. And now the open source tool is free and publicly available through the NPS Gitlab website.

MP models a wide range of system behaviors, bridging computing and systems engineering to reduce human error in the systems design process before a single line of code is written or a prototype is formed . In other words, MP examines almost any system design situation that comes before it and visualizes them through process flowcharts in a simplified way for its users.

According to NPS Associate Professor Kristin Giammarco, while the human brain is amazing at thinking through different behavioral scenarios, a behavior modeling tool like MP can help the human brain fill in the gaps in emerging behavioral analysis.

“Humans know how to do everything the automated tool does, but they can do more”, explains Giammarco. “We just offload repetitive, time-consuming tasks to the automatic tool to free up human cognitive resources for things only humans can do now. That is, to reason through behavioral logic, access experience and intuition, and apply the imagination to predict the possible states of the modeled systems. The automated tool does all the heavy lifting of calculating and generating scenarios, so humans can focus on analyzing and refining the scenarios presented.

Giammarco was given the reins of MP software by its founder, Dr. Mikhail Auguston, during his recent retirement from NPS. Auguston worked to create languages ​​that can bridge communication between humans and computers for about 30 years. He notes that MP is instinctive and says that these instincts are better for analysis in the same way that decimal notation is better for calculation than Roman numerals.

The National Cryptologic School (NCS) of the National Security Agency (NSA) recently sponsored a pilot virtual MP internship program for 60 selected students with a wide variety of majors ranging from cybersecurity to psychology. The students discovered a substantial number of unexpected emerging behaviors during their part-time four-week program.

“The National Cryptologic School at the NSA is delighted to have partnered with another defense educational institution to bring this phenomenal software and framework to our military trainees,” said NCS Commander Diane Janosek. “Partnerships like this between NCS and NPS are the wave of the future – united for our nation. It takes collaboration between private industry, government and academia to keep our country safe. We are proud to serve!

How Monterey Phoenix Works

MP consists of a simple event grammar for describing the order of events and the hierarchy of said events. It will continue to exhaustively research all possible scenarios from this information until it is told to stop by taking advantage of the small scope assumption to expose any errors in the user’s thinking. Giammarco compares the process of discovering scenarios to observing a child’s behavior after receiving instructions.

“Precocious children, for example, can get very creative with instructions,” she says. “You could tell them to do something, and although they do, they can do it in a way that you didn’t expect. You simply did not realize your assumptions at the time of the initial instruction.

“It’s the same with the behavior of the system,” she continued. “All of these scenarios presented by MP help you think about all the possible ways to implement your behavioral logic. Some means can be expected; others may be unexpected. Some means may be acceptable, others unacceptable. MP lets you think about other scenarios ahead of time and update the logic until it captures exactly what you mean.

Auguston developed several MP prototypes from 2009 to 2015. While he has now reached the point of great application potential, the MP team is continuously working on improving the tool. Currently, the fourth version of MP is available for public use through the NPS Firebird server or offline using Gryphon. NPS faculty professor, US Army Lt. Col. Michael Senft, made it possible for MP graphics to be imported into Neo4j’s Cypher scripting language. He is currently developing a GoJS interface for MP.

Endless applications

At NPS, two recent graduates, Peter Pommer and Nickolas Carter, applied MP to explore all the possible behaviors a drone could exhibit when tasked with locating a target and reporting. MP discovered a loophole in their instructions to the drone, saving time and energy downstream if the problem had not been found. Carter noted that he was quite worried about MP before using it, but now he really believes in its capabilities, especially when upgrading from a 32-bit to 64-bit system (a good thesis topic for an interested NPS student, he says).

Dr Ed Griffor of the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) worked with James Butler at Helpful Engineering, a social impact engineering community, to design the architecture for the Agile Production Platform (APP). APP examines every link in the supply chain to find other ways to make a product faster than what the normal supply chain could provide. They hope this work could deliver essential items, like personal protective equipment, to those who need it more quickly in cases where primary supply chains experience delays, such as during a pandemic.

Meanwhile, NPS Professor Charles Pickar is using MP to help with an acquisition research project, to develop simulation to prepare acquisition agents for real acquisition programs using MP for virtual simulation. He hopes to create a learning environment to provide our students with a better understanding of the dynamics of weapon systems development.

Dr. John James and Dr. Misha Novitzky, faculty members and scientific researchers at the US Military Academy in West Point, NY, brought MP to their campus for research and development efforts with cadets and faculty. Proposed development efforts include mission planning for UxV human robot teams supporting small unit combat operations, including Assisted Threat Recognition (ATR) and confirmation and queuing of threat.

The future of Monterey Phoenix

Current MP users are excited to see where the technology is going. One of the 60 students who completed an internship last year, Texas A&M information technology student Johnnie Roberts, said program staff “provided excellent advice and mentorship” during their internship. stay. He enjoyed it so much that Roberts volunteered for the MP Ambassador Program where he will continue to learn more about MP and possibly teach it to incoming students.

Giammarco is already working to generalize the program for any interested sponsor. She is currently testing the concept through a six-week learning sprint.

The MP team was also invited by Dr Ramon Flores from the Naval Surface Warfighting Center in Port Hueneme to present the basics of MP to pre-engineering high school students. In addition, they plan to create a manual for anyone to learn about MP.

Giammarco believes that MP can be applied to all NPS departments and other schools, as the study of behavior comes in many forms, from software problem solving and prediction of human behavior. ‘improvement of the efficiency of organizational structures. She hopes it becomes a core college skill standard where it can highlight the important partnership between IT, defense management, and systems engineering, if not others.

“I would really like MP to be easy to use and be able to be used by DOD and its partners,” she says. “This is something that NPS should be really proud of.”

Date taken: 19.02.2021
Date posted: 02/19/2021 6:28 PM
Story ID: 389440
Site: MONTEREY, California, United States

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