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EL Highlights for March 2011

NIST Engineering Laboratory-Tested, Language Translation Devices Sent to U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan

Two hundred NIST-tested, smartphone-based language translation devices have been sent to the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan to assist U.S. soldiers in communicating with the local population. Due to the shortage of human translators, these devices are allowing the soldiers to gather critical information without needing to learn the native Dari and Pashto languages. NIST’s challenge was to provide accurate performance data to inform military decisions of where, when, and how these systems should be deployed. To address this challenge, NIST formed a multi-disciplinary team of experts from NIST laboratories and external organizations that defined and carried out seven week-long test events with U.S. military personnel and native speakers from Iraq and Afghanistan. These events immersed test subjects in realistic military scenarios and yielded quantitative and qualitative data showing how effectively the translation systems helped military personnel perform their duties. The results of each evaluation provided detailed descriptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the devices, enabling the system developers to double their performance in a two year period. BBN Corporation stated, “The results from your well-run evaluations have greatly accelerated our system’s field deployment.” In addition, the initial response from soldiers has been quite positive. PFC Merritt stated, “Keep it up, my job just got easier and I am sure the locals will be much happier with us.”

Contact: Craig Schlenoff, (301) 975-3456

NIST Authors receive “2011 Most Cited Paper Award for the journal Computer-Aided Design”

Junhwan Kim and Ram D. Sriram from NIST, along with Michael J. Pratt (LMR Systems) and Raj G. Iyer (Army TACOM) were recently selected to receive the “2011 Most Cited Paper Award” from the journal Computer-Aided Design” for their co-authored paper, "Standardized data exchange of CAD models with design intent" published in 2008, Volume 40, Issue 7, Pages 760-777.  Papers selected for this distinction are determined solely based on the highest number of cites, excluding self-citations, received for all journal articles published between the years 2008 and 2010 [data culled from SCOPUS reports (www.scopus.com) created on January 19, 2011].  The paper suggests an implementable foundation for Computer-Aided Design (CAD) data exchange with the preservation of design intent, based on the use of newly published parts of the International Standard ISO 10303 (informally known as STEP- Standard for the Exchange of Product model data). Case studies are presented which employ a hypothetical STEP application protocol (AP) using other parts from ISO 10303. A prototype translator based on this AP has been implemented and tested. The paper reports on the experience gained in 'intelligent' data exchange.

Computer-Aided Design is an established international journal that provides engineers, designers and computer scientists in academia and industry with key papers on research and developments in the application of computers to the design process. Kim and Sriram published this noteworthy article while working for the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (now NIST Engineering Laboratory), Manufacturing Systems Integration Division.

Contact: Sharon Kemmerer, 301-975-3287

NIST Engineering Laboratory Staff Participate in Strategic Dialogue on Remanufacturing Policy

Dr. Nabil Nasr (Director, Golisano Institute for Sustainability & Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery, Rochester Institute of Technology) invited NIST to participate in the Strategic Dialogue on Remanufacturing Policy meeting January 24-25, 2011, hosted by the Council on Competitiveness and Rochester Institute of Technology, at the Park Hyatt Washington Hotel, Washington, DC.  El Staff Chris Currens, Kevin Lyons, Sudarsan Rachuri, and Shaw Feng participated.  This meeting brought together leaders from the remanufacturing sector, the industrial research sector, consortia, executives of the Office of Trade Representative, representatives of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, and other subject matter experts to address the pressing issues facing remanufacturers. The meeting participants will also play an important role in developing an agenda and roadmap for a re-launch of the Remanufacturing Industries Council (RIC), and in setting initial directions for the Council and identifying/prioritizing cross-cutting challenges for the Council to address. The RIC respresents the diverse sectors of the ReMan industry.

Contact: Kevin Lyons, 301-975-6550