Safer skies for the flying public

Sep 03, 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: Our new anti-earthquake technology could protect cities from destruction

Related Stories

Learning early about late flights

Jun 25, 2015

A new study published in the Articles in Advance section of Transportation Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), improves how air traffic managers cope with unexpe ...

Chombo-Crunch sinks its teeth into fluid dynamics

Jun 03, 2015

For more than a decade, mathematicians and computational scientists have been collaborating with earth scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to break new ground in the modeling ...

Recommended for you

Focused energy of lasers breaks microscopic adhesion

Jul 02, 2015

Small objects tend to cling to everything. It's why parents dread hosting parties that involve confetti. It's why glitter is fun for crafts—until it finds its way onto everything else you touch.

Insect decoys could protect ash trees

Jul 02, 2015

Emerald ash borers have no trouble reproducing themselves as they have now spread through half the United States, but duplicating effective emerald ash borer decoys is not quite as easy. Now, engineers have ...

User comments : 0

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.