Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Keeping the Skies Safe

NASA Ames’s Perilog software benefits government and commercial aviation safety and holds promise for data mining improvements for other industries

Perilog software is helping improve the quality of safety-related information for the Aviation Safety Reporting System and the U.S. airline industry.

A contextual search tool from NASA’s Ames Research Center, Perilog software provides data mining capabilities to the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) and its database of more than 110,000 aviation incident report narratives. And the software also is benefiting the airline industry through a Space Act Agreement (SAA) signed with Southwest Airlines that enables the company to use Perilog for its Aviation Safety Action Partnership (ASAP) operations.

What makes Perilog so special to these safety-focused organizations? For both ASRS and Southwest, Perilog helps reduce the cost and effort associated with analyzing safety-related incidents and improves the quality of aviation incident data retrieval. And this can lead to improved aviation and airline safety information.

Put simply, unlike other search engines, Perilog provides a simple-to-use means of finding and ranking text documents according to their relevance to particular words or phrases.

For example, Southwest uses Perilog to find nuances in the language of pilot incident reports—details that can link common threads among otherwise unrelated events to help reduce problems on a broad scale, often leading to policy changes that can enhance safety.

Perilog also offers much promise for the data mining needs of many other industries. Immanuel Barshi, a research psychologist at Ames, demonstrates Perilog regularly to other U.S. airlines and is keenly familiar with Perilog’s capabilities. Barshi notes that the software can be used to analyze similarity patterns in a myriad of applications.

“Perilog makes highly relevant contextual associations among words, word pairs, and phrases—but it can be any language,” said Barshi. He explained that Perilog could be used to analyze patterns and associations in musical notes, Braille, literature, or journalistic research.

“Perilog could be a very powerful research tool for any material that involves textual patterns.”

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–By Karen Hiser