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DIDO is helping machines think by turning large amounts of data on ever-changing conditions into a sequence of best responses. Take the quiz to see how much DIDO you know.

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Question 1 of 20

What organization markets the DIDO software?

Elissar Global

Elissar Global is a world leader in optimal control hardware and software, including DIDO.

NASA

IBM

Question 2 of 20

What is Dido's Problem?

a logic problem dealing with conditionals

a calculus problem dealing with equations

a mathematical problem dealing with areas

Dido's Problem is the term mathematicians use to describe finding a shape encompassing the maximum area given a boundary line and the perimeter of the remaining edges.

Question 3 of 20

Which calculus theory is behind the design of DIDO software?

optimal control

DIDO software specializes in calculating optimal control at a given time based on given conditions.

optimal calculations

differential equations

Question 4 of 20

What is the biggest challenge for finding optimal control?

not enough time to make calculations

ever-changing conditions over time

Optimal control is used to find the best response under given conditions at a given time, but a machine must handle conditions that are constantly changing over time. This means that optimal control software like DIDO must constantly recalculate new best responses as it senses new conditions.

round-off errors

Question 5 of 20

True or False: DIDO software was used successfully on the International Space Station (ISS).

True

DIDO software helped NASA accomplish its zero-propellant maneuver (ZPM) used to rotate the ISS without using its thrusters, which use costly propellant material.

False

Question 6 of 20

Who created DIDO software?

Isaac "Mike" Ross

Isaac "Mike" Ross and Fariba Fahroo were professors at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School while working on a research project titled "Pseudospectral Optimal Control-Theory and Computation." Ross created DIDO software to aid in that and other aeronautics research in flight control.

Fariba Fahroo

Bill Gates

Question 7 of 20

DIDO is ideally suited to solve optimal control problems in autonomous systems. What's an autonomous system?

a laptop or desktop computer

a robot that can determine its own sequence of instructions

An autonomous system is a robotics concept referring to a system that, when given a certain goal, can calculate and execute its own instructions to reach that goal.

a simulator for a given scenario

Question 8 of 20

True or False: DIDO has been used to calculate optimal control for an undersea glider.

True

A group of researchers at Virginia Tech used DIDO as its preferred solution method to determine optimal control for an unmanned autonomous system in the form of an winged undersea vehicle.

False

Question 9 of 20

Besides helping calculate trajectories, what other benefit has DIDO brought to flight control?

improved fuel efficiency for aircraft

DIDO doesn't affect the size and shape of an aircraft, but finding the optimal control for the craft means making the most efficient use of fuel during its flight, too.

lighter aircraft

smaller aircraft

Question 10 of 20

The TRACE satellite was orbiting what object?

Earth

The mission of the TRACE satellite was to study the sun, but it orbited Earth while it trained its sensors on the sun.

the moon

the sun

Question 11 of 20

How had NASA been slewing objects in space prior to the 2010 TRACE satellite research?

in a pre-calculated arc

in an arbitrary arc

in a straight line

Though the straight line is the shortest distance between two points, it also required an extensive amount of time and electrical power to travel that path. DIDO was used in calculating the optimal slew for TRACE, which was not a straight line.

Question 12 of 20

How many zero-propellant maneuvers (ZPMs) were performed on the International Space Station in 2006 and 2007?

1

2

Attributing their success in part to DIDO software, Mike Ross and other researchers were able to perform two ZPMs, moving the ISS 90 degrees in November 2006 and 180 degrees in March 2007.

3

Question 13 of 20

DIDO's creator was a professor at what school?

U.S. Naval Postgraduate School

DIDO creator Mike Ross and his optimal control research colleague Fariba Fahroo were professors at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) when Ross first developed the language.

U.S. Naval Academy

University of California at Berkeley

Question 14 of 20

Pseudospectral optimal control is most like which of the following in nature?

water flowing from mountains all the way to the ocean

constant stimulus-response actions in the human brain

Your brain is constantly sensing the world around your and responding to those sensations, often using information in your memory to guide you.

photosynthesis in plants

Question 15 of 20

What operating system must you be running in order to install and use DIDO?

Microsoft Windows

To run DIDO, you'll need MATLAB running on Microsoft Windows.

Linux

UNIX

Question 16 of 20

DIDO was developed for what scientific computing platform?

FORTRAN

MATLAB

MATLAB is a computing platform used to design and test algorithms. Programmers can write code for MATLAB just as they can in other high-level languages, though the language's features are optimized to the specific needs of mathematicians and scientists.

Perl

Question 17 of 20

Which of the following was one of the primary reasons to move the International Space Station without using thrusters?

The thrusters were damaged and repairs were behind schedule.

The station no longer had access to the propellant it needed for the thrusters.

The propellant used in the thrusters is extremely expensive.

The propellant used by thrusters at the ISS and in other modern space vehicles is extremely expensive, and NASA hoped to spare that expense as much as possible in making ISS maneuvers.

Question 18 of 20

What is the acronym used to refer to the International Space Station maneuvers accomplished without using thrusters.

ZPM

ZPM stands for zero-propellant maneuvers.

RPM

FPM

Question 19 of 20

Which calculus theory involves using approximate values in optimal control calculations?

Bernoulli's principle

Persistent recalculation theory

Pseudospectral theory

DIDO software is known for its pseudospectral approach to solving optimal control problems.

Question 20 of 20

How long was the TRACE maneuvering research team given to perform its experiments?

2 months

NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) researcher Mark Karpenko and his team were able to maneuver TRACE successfully several times within their two-month window, accomplishing a 90-degree slew within four weeks.

6 months

1 year

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