NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is auctioning an exclusive license to five patents for automated software development on November 11, 2010. The patents encompass a new method for automatically creating software code which is verifiably equivalent to user requirements specified in natural language, graphic formats, or other formats with a known semantic structure.
"Other approaches have claimed this, but this is the first time that the relationship is fully proven mathematically."
There are two steps in automatically generating software codes. The first step, currently done manually, generates a formal model that embodies the user requirements. NASA Goddard's breakthrough technology utilizes Learning Automata to generate potential scenarios from a formal set of user requirements. The scenarios are then used to generate a formal model that is verifiably consistent with the user requirements. The second step, from formal model to verifiable code, is already well established.
"What's exciting about this technology is that it's the first time that developers can have absolute confidence that the implementation truly meets their requirements and that the system operates correctly," explains inventor Michael Hinchey. "Other approaches have claimed this, but this is the first time that the relationship is fully proven mathematically."
Automated generation improves reliability of code while slashing software development time and eliminating human coding errors. The technology was originally developed to handle coding of control code for spacecraft swarms, but it is broadly applicable to any commercial application where rule-based systems development is used. Examples include: Simulation and Modeling Software, Automated Industrial Control Systems, Sensor Networks, Smart Grid IT Systems, Complex Robotics. For more information, please visit the auction's information page at Ocean Tomo, which includes technology summaries and full text patents.
Located in Greenbelt, MD, Goddard Space Flight Center's team of more than 8,500 men and women build spacecraft and instruments, and develop new technologies to study Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe beyond. One well known mission is the Hubble Space Telescope.
Foresight Science & Technology Incorporated, Providence, RI, is the commercialization support contractor for NASA Goddard and a leading vendor of commercialization and technology transfer services with operations in the US, Canada, European Union, and South America. The company works in all disciplines of science, engineering and technology and all sectors of the global economy.