TCAT researchers deliver visualization software and training

July 31, 2009
| By: Aubrey Bloom

Researchers from the Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT) traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, June 10 to deliver new developmental visualization software and provide hands-on training to users within Operational Test Command (OTC), the Army’s premiere operational testing agency.

The Process-Oriented Data Visualization (ProDV) software application provides interactive visual analysis capabilities to both analysts and data collectors by combining data transformation, processing, and visualization capabilities within an easy-to-use visual programming environment. This allows analysts to both detect the expected and discover the unexpected in extremely large and diverse collections of data. Effective visual analysis of this data is critical to the evaluation of the results of operational testing, which is designed to ensure that critical requirements are met and performance limitations are well-understood on all equipment the Army puts into the hands of its soldiers.

The software training provided students with hands-on experience creating custom interactive data visualizations and analyzing sample datasets, and was attended by Texas A&M University student intern Kyle Dudark, a senior in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Representatives from OTC who are responsible for the design and execution of test events and data collection said that this software will provide them with analytic capabilities needed for dealing with large datasets produced when complex systems are tested for function and interoperability.

OTC test officers and data collectors will also assist in software testing for ProDV during a Verification and Validation (V&V) event in October.

Larkin O’Hern is the project manager, a retired Army officer, and former Texas A&M Corps of Cadets member. O’Hern’s military knowledge combined with the TCAT research personnel's expertise produced a team that was able to design software specifically to meet the needs of OTC.

Derek Overby, who is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M, worked primarily with TCAT's Blake Stoker, Eric Landrenau and Abhishek Bhor to design and implement the software under the guidance of Dr. Jim Wall, director of TCAT's Computing and Information Technology Division and an associate research professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M.

TCAT is currently in its third year of development of the ProDV software framework and application under the University XXI congressional funding program in partnership with OTC.

During a recent project review, John Diem, the OTC representative for the project, said that "teaming with A&M over the last three years has been a model of how to do things right."

The ProDV software is currently being reviewed for an Army Certificate of Networthiness, which will allow the visualization software to be used on Army computer systems.

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Army Operational Test Command under Contract No. W900KK-08-C-0031. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command.

TCAT is part of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), the engineering research agency of the State of Texas and a member of The Texas A&M University System.


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