An innovative computational technique that draws on statistics, imaging, and other disciplines has the capability to detect errors in sensitive technological systems ranging from satellites to weather instruments. The patented technique, known as the Intelligent Outlier Detection Algorithm, or IODA, is described this month in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.
IODA offers the potential to alert operators to faulty readings or other problems associated with failing sensors. If sensors malfunction and begin transmitting bad data, computers programmed with the algorithm could identify the problem and isolate that bad data.
IODA was developed by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU). The National Science Foundation, NCAR's sponsor, funded the research.
The developers of the algorithm say its principles can eventually be used in a vast range of technological settings, including cars and other transportation systems, power plants, satellites and space exploration, and data from radars and other observing instruments.
"This could, at least in theory, enable operators to keep a system performing even while it's failing," says Andrew Weekley, a software engineer at NCAR who led the algorithm development effort. "When a system starts to fail, it's absolutely critical to be able to control it as long as possible. That can make the difference between disaster or not."
From University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
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