DARPA awards Nau contract for AcT program

Professor Dana Nau (CS/ISR) has been awarded a $1.4 million, four-year research contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The purpose of DARPA's Active Templates (AcT) Program is to develop an easy-to-use planning tool for Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel, based on a spreadsheet user interface for template manipulation. One of AcT's key challenges is to develop inferencing techniques that allow plans (represented as spreadsheets) to be easily specified and proactively completed. Nau's group will work on several key technologies that target this challenge:

1. Template retrieval and elaboration techniques to adapt stored templates for incremental spreadsheet plan construction.

2. Proactive information-gathering to assist with situation assessment, work with partially specified conditions and verify the inferencing techniques' state assumptions.

3. Monitoring sentinels to provide mixed-initiative activation of the relevant problem-solving tools in response to changes in the spreadsheet.

4. Explanation techniques to communicate AcT's inferencing and decision-making rationale.

5. Template management techniques to minimize the effort required to acquire and maintain defaults, constraints, and templates.

Published March 23, 2000