Operational Level Inter-Modal Lift Planner

Period of Performance: 04/28/2000 - 01/28/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Alphatech, Inc.
6 New England Executive Park
Burlington, MA 01803
Principal Investigator


Missions for Special Operations Forces (SOF) are distinctive in their degree of jointness, their strict timing constraints, and their peculiar equipment requirements. Inter-modal lift planning for special operations is consequently a challenging task, and is further complicated by the unusually close connection between lift planning at the operational level and planning for the tactical mission (possibly including multiple branch plans for infiltration and exfiltration).This proposal explores the use of knowledge-based technologies from artificial intelligence to represent inter-modal lift planning problems for SOF operations. It also builds on recent innovations in the application of constraint programming methods to develop efficient algorithms for generating near-optimal solutions. Key technical challenges include the development of a rich knowledge representation framework sufficient to capture the unique aspects of the SOF inter-modal lift planning domain, characterizing SOF lift planning problems as constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs), and developing novel constraint-programming algorithms to generate near-optimal solutions. Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility of combining knowledge-based and constraint-programming technologies by constructing an initial software prototype. Phase II will implement tools that can be integrated with existing and emerging systems. The technology developed under this program will immediately benefit logistics planning for SOF operations, but also has more general application to crisis action planning for asymmetric threats, and planning time-critical civilian missions such as search and rescue.