Brief History

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.
Section 6 - Cybernetics Consultancy

PANGARO Incorporated History - Table of Contents