Planning and Scheduling

GCAS Incorporated has several current efforts in Automated and Mixed-Initiative A.I. Planning and Scheduling from a theoretical and practical aspect. In our theoretical research, we are developing the core technologies in Knowledge Representation for realistic planning domains, search techniques, and planning frameworks. This includes domains with continuous and delayed effects, uncertainty, concurrency and exogenous events.

With respect to practical applications, we are currently developing an interactive and dynamic planning and scheduling system for the U.S. Air Force to perform Aerospace Command and Control (C2) and a Contract/Grant Management and Planning System for the Nation Institute of Health. In both efforts we employ the Logic Model based approach. The Air Force C2 application has allowed us to devise the planning system’s architecture that supports outcome-based planning and evaluation at multi levels of authority and collaboration. In addition, this architecture naturally integrates assumptions and external factors that contribute to the success or failure of a plan.

In the National Institute of Health application, we are pursuing the development of a computer software system that guides the development of Program Logic Models for program planning and evaluation. Using a template, the user is able to control the planning experience by answering a sequence of questions corresponding to components of the model. The software then generates a Program Logic Model based on responses to the sequence of questions. Through this process the user is able to develop plans in a more objective and time-efficient manner. The software is based on the Logic Model Development Guide by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, complemented with a set of advanced features. Such features include Scheduling (Milestone Charts, Gantt Charts, Pert Charts, Critical Path Analysis, Critical Chain Method), Project Risk Management (Belief Networks, Influence Diagrams), Timeline Budgeting and Earned Value Management.

GCAS is also developing a web-based product for Contract Management, Scheduling and Resource Management and Planning called eManage to complement its Government Cost Accounting System (GCAS) commercial product. eManage will allow project managers to construct schedules and budget of active projects and create proposals for new efforts. The software is intimately tied to the GCAS accounting system to give a comparison between budget and actual expense including Earned Value Analysis to determine the Estimated Cost to Complete. Also included is a Risk Assessment module that allows the project manager to determine the likelihood of successfully completing the job on time and within the budget.