Safer skies for the flying public

September 3, 2008
Dr. Caramanis is working on a mathematical model that combines theories and calculations from probability, statistics, optimization modeling, economics and game theory to be used for a new air traffic control system. Credit: Erin McCarley

University of Texas professor Constantine Caramanis and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on a air traffic decision-making system that rapidly adapts its flight recommendations without human input based on thousands of changing variables. The computer model Caramanis, lead researcher Cynthia Barnhart, and other colleagues from MIT are developing will monitor weather conditions as well as current airplane locations and probable routes.

"There is currently no unified decision-making framework for air traffic flow optimization," said Dr. Caramanis. "The complicated nature of the process, and the need to make quick adjustments when changes occur, will best be addressed with a mathematical model that combines theories and calculations from probability, statistics, optimization modeling, economics and game theory."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides each airline with a set limit of planes that can take off and land during any given timeframe. These slot decisions are based on estimates of what will optimize air traffic flow, taking into consideration imperfect weather predictions, the changing mix of flights airlines wants to move, and other variables for the thousands of flights that crisscross U.S. skies daily. The airlines then choose the flights.

While developing the air traffic optimization model, the researchers will also consider new ways to lessen delays and flight cancellations. For example, they will consider the possibility of allowing airlines to barter for slots when one airline can't get a flight off the ground and others could do so.

"The idea is to have an overarching optimization model that allows balance and flexibility to the decisions being made so that we can successfully exploit whatever slack in the system we can," Caramanis said. "Our model will have autonomous re-configurability which is the ability to adapt to new information on its own."

Source: University of Texas at Austin

Explore further: New database could make airport ground movements quicker, greener and cheaper

Related Stories

Driving myelination by actin disassembly

July 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—If a metallurgist wanted to determine how a blade was made they might cut a small cross section, mount, polish, and etch it, and then look at it under a microscope. They could probably tell right away whether ...

High-resolution mapping produces ecological data

July 24, 2015

Beyond simple topographic data, high-resolution digital elevation models can provide estimates for a diverse range of ecological variables. But as shown in a recent study, higher resolution models do not always provide more ...

Stress 'sweet spot' differs for mellow vs. hyper dogs

July 21, 2015

People aren't the only ones who perform better on tests or athletic events when they are just a little bit nervous—dogs do too. But in dogs as in people, the right amount of stress depends on disposition.

Recommended for you

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.