A Case Resource for Cognitive Task Analysis

Period of Performance: 07/01/2000 - 06/30/2002


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aptima, Inc.
12 Gill Street Array
Woburn, MA 01801
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The design of effective and useable complex systems requires a thorough understanding of a target user population. Several disciplines (i.e. psychology) have developed and validated sophisticated Cognitive TaskAnalysis (CTA) methods and models and some tools to provide that understanding. However, within each discipline there appears to be a lack of awareness of others' progress in CTA development, and the use of CTA in the design of real-world systems is minimal. What is needed is a convenient resource providing targeted access to cases from prior, successful CTAs. The goal of the proposed work is rapid development of an Internet-based ccomputer resource that supports the practitioner by providing access to examples of prior CTAs that best match their project-specific search criteria or problem dimensions. The CTA Resource schema for categorizing and linking case information is based on established CTA dimensions related to the objectives of the user. The system exploits the potential of advanced retrieval methods, namely Latent Semantic Indexing and Extensive Evaluation Functions. We will go beyond the creation of a unilateral resource, by creating an evolving and dynamic system and building a community of diverse users whom not only benefit from the product, but also contribute to its growth. BENEFITS: The technology for the CTA resource tool (CTAresource.com) that Aptima proposes to develop under this SBIR project, has the potential to tap into an extraordinarily increasing network-based market. Although the content and information retrieval strategies of CTAresource.com are tailored for potential CTA practitioners and system designers in Phase II, its sound underlying categorization principles, basic network technology, and unique interactive construct make it an ideal candidate for commercialization in several technology/market pairs. In addition to traditional CTA practitioners, potential customers for CTAresource.com will be acquisition executives, operational concept developers, front-end analysts, and system architects. These user populations have different views of the systems and organizations they design and analyze, at different levels of granularity, with different objectives. The classification and retrieval technology underlying the tool is generalizable to case retrieval products in support of industrial, business, legal, and health care organizations. Practical, user-oriented ways to classify and retrieve cases are needed outside the "CTA market." The fact that this SBIR focuses on CTA cases is incidental to the marketability of the tool. We will specifically research markets in the legal (law cases), medical (patient cases), and corporate (business cases) domains.