Title page for ETD etd-05192010-020020

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Andrex, D. L.
URN etd-05192010-020020
Title Upgrade human-machine interface, provide additional analysis tool, and upgrade and migrate scheduling CPCI in existing major computing system
Degree Master of Science
Department Systems Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Blanchard, Benjamin S. Jr. Committee Chair
Harmon, L. Kenneth Jr. Committee Member
Hennis-Crawford, Lois Committee Member
  • computer
  • management
  • schedule
  • human-machine
  • MMI
  • HMI
  • upgrade
Date of Defense 1996-09-05
Availability restricted

This project was inspired by an ENG 5004 session that explored how humans process information coupled with a complaint in my workplace about how difficult it was to analyze our management data. The workplace problem lay in the technology in use: character based terminals presenting data in tabular format regarding schedule data for work on maps. This data tends to be graphically and geographically related. and more easily processed visually as symbols by humans.

The challenge in this project is that it attempts to engineer a business process and implement it in software (in an existing and operating system). The conceptual solution is to provide a graphical user interface (GUI) which presents schedule elements graphically (GANTT, PERT, and Resource Use Charts) in the visual paradigm with which managers are familiar. Further. the scheduled work is geographically based. so a graphical device that shows where a job is located is useful, especially when adjacent jobs that contended for data at their borders are also shown. And finally, given the graphic tools for reporting and analysis, the capabilities to use these tools to create and implement schedules would provide managers with greatly improved efficiency.

The conceptual solution indicates an evolution in technology for this customer. A move from the mainframe driven operations and character based display to more distributed processing and graphically based displays is indicated. The capability required is a small subset of the existing system which is not to be disturbed during integration and installation.

The solution to be implemented is to migrate the needed functions to a PC based terminal running a graphical user interface. The desired applications are hosted locally on the PC which is connected to the mainframe through existing networks. An application on the PC provides the interface to the mainframe for data extraction. and later, a data interface. Scheduling, database, and Geographic information systems (GIS) are resident on the PC. and are integrated to support customer use. The PC is then the Integrated Management Workstation (IMWS). The interface and database elements are essentially invisible to the manager. It is the manager's job to strategize and implement work plans. not worry about the inner workings of the computer system. The scheduling and GIS applications are represented to the manager who interacts, analyzes. and decides. The manager is the last and decisive element in the system, and uses the new capabilities to help manage the work. This project defines the problem, provides the conceptual solution, and provides the engineering management plans and system requirements to implement the solution. This project does not build anything and no code is written. These tasks are to be accomplished by the team that implements this project according to the guidance and stipulations contained in the project documents.

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