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Probabilistic Technology Investment Ranking System

Methods and Models II Track



This paper describes the Probabilistic Technology Investment Ranking System (PTIRS), a multi-tool cost estimating system. PTIRS is a new cost estimating tool that has been developed for the NASA Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project at Langley Research Center. The ERA Project is charged with developing new technologies for commercial transport aircraft that will reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise. The PTIRS tool assesses the integrated, end-to-end benefits of a new technology and allows the benefits to be weighed against the cost of maturing, certifying, and ultimately implementing the technology in a generation-after-next (N+2) subsonic transport system. The tool is both deterministic and probabilistic: it allows inputs with ranges of uncertainty described as statistical distributions and it uses Monte Carlo simulation to produce results with statistically described ranges of uncertainty. The tool produces a two part answer: 1) the life cycle cost impact and noise, emission, and performance benefit of implementing and operating the new technology, and 2) the cost and time required to mature and certify the technology to a readiness level appropriate for full-scale development. PTIRS provides a business case for the technology to determining whether airframe contractors and their airline customers should choose to implement the technology. Furthermore, PTIRS will show the internal business case, supporting portfolio assessment to determine how to prioritize technology investments.

The PTIRS user interface is implemented using Microsoft Excel, with model behavior supported by Excel worksheet formulae and custom Excel Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code where necessary. Cost calculations, and Monte Carlo simulation capabilities are implemented using Tecolote’s Automated Cost Estimator (ACE) tool. The ACE tool runs in the calculation engine mode, invisibly, under control of the Excel-based user interface. The user interface also provides interfaces to third-party cost estimating tools such as PRICE Systems PRICE-H and Galorath SEER-SEM for additional flexibility in addressing unique estimating problems.


Peter Frederic
Tecolote Research, Inc.
Mr. Frederic has been with Tecolote Research since 1983. He is the Chief Scientist of Tecolote’s Santa Barbara Group, which includes offices in Santa Barbara, Ogden, Albuquerque, and Dayton. In his career at Tecolote, Mr. Frederic has logged a wide variety of experience including cost database software development, CER development, technical baseline development, schedule analysis, simulation software development, and cost estimating. His efforts have addressed many aerospace technologies including radars, optical sensors, missile systems, launch vehicles, launch facilities, space vehicles, and aircraft.