Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Sirin Tekinay

Second Advisor

Franz J. Kurfess

Third Advisor

Marcus J. Healey

Abstract

NJPIES is associated with Information Ecology and Sustainability, a holistic approach to environmental data collection, compilation, integration and provision that puts people, not technology, at the center of the environmental information world.

The first main goal of this project was to develop an algorithm and associated computer-based tool that could perform a lifecycle cost analysis for a model system. The application developed solved the primary problem associated with the lifecycle cost analysis of a product: it accounted for all costs (e.g., environmental costs such as ecological costs and health costs associated with emissions) of the activity. A lifecycle cost analysis attempts to identify, measure, and quantify the social costs of human activities such as manufacturing that are not considered with traditional accounting systems. The application developed will quantify, monetize, and rank the damage or external costs to the environment of certain types of emissions. We developed a preliminary algorithm and software and implemented it at two plants: load assembly pack operation at Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP) and Armtec, a manufacturer of combustible cartridge cases.

The second main goal of this project is to act as a credible information-clearing house in pollution prevention (P2) and related environmental matters, and to educate the public and keep them aware of facts taking place in the environmental/manufacturing world. Intelligent search engines have been built to access these huge databases in human readable format and correlate the data to various reports providing information on the environmentally hazardous chemicals, releases, and facilities in different regions.

The third main goal is the enhancement of EnviroDaemon with a hierarchical information search interface. This project describes some approaches that locate information according to syntactic criteria, augmented by pragmatic aspects like the utilization of information in a certain context. The main emphasis of this project lies in the treatment of structured knowledge, where essential aspects about the topic of interest are encoded not only by the individual items, but also by their relationships among each other. Benefits of this approach are enhanced precision and approximate search in an already focused, context specific search engine for the environment.

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