Rogers and O'Gallagher are collaborating with Bradley on the development of a program to automatically construct ODE models of physical systems. The resulting procedure will provide an important modeling tool that can be used as a corroborator of existing models and designs, as a medium for instruction, and as an intelligent assistant whose aid enables scientists to devote their time and creative thought to more demanding tasks. One of the ultimate goals of this research is to produce a tool that can construct a model of a ``black-box'' system using only information from its ports. The aim is emphatically not to build a tool that is tuned for one particular application domain, but rather to provide methods for solving problems of interest to a wide variety of industries. It is especially appropriate for NIST/ACMD to participate in this collaborative effort because of the broad impact that this research is expected to have.
The program currently under development will autonomously construct mathematical models from information about a system presented in a variety of forms and formats: measurements made directly on the physical device; a user's observations, symbolically or graphically described to the program; partial models and hypotheses suggested by a user; and general mathematical theory that is encoded in the program's knowledge base. This past year, Rogers and O'Gallagher have added new capabilities for selecting starting values and for modeling higher order systems to the data-fitting portion of this modeling tool. They will continue to contribute their experience with data modeling techniques and ODE solution procedures as development moves towards its next stage, in which more-complex and less well-specified physical systems will be addressed.