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Distributed Problem Solving: Adaptive Networks with a Computer Intermediary Resource. Part 1. Group Problem-Solving Performance in a Simulated Military Situation Assessment Task under Varying Environmental Conditions. Part 2. Group Acquisition of Dynamic Control Skills in a Fluid Level Adjustment Problem

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Final rept. Oct 84-Jun 88,

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Networking of information sources in relation to an organizing center is often a requirement for finding solutions to problems that individuals cannot solve alone. The process may require ongoing situation assessment by the problem-solving participants and the sharing of assessment progress via transfer of information over physically restricted communication links. the communication process may occur under conditions in which the participants are stressed. In the experiment reported in this Research Note, three, physically separated Macintosh computer workstations were placed in mutual communication under various restrictions and monitored by a fourth computer that served as a file server and central data collection resource. The problem was presented as animated tanks moving across a master battlefield terrain map with different, overlapping, limited portions of the map shown on the screen at each workstation. With various restrictions placed on the communication channels, subjects sent and received messages and tried to arrive at conclusions regarding tank action parameters. Twenty-four college students participated as subjects. A 10 and a 50 probability of detection of the observer by the enemy produced a threat situation and certain operational consequences if detection occurred. The objective was to arrive at an estimate of enemy strength, destination, tactical objective, and observer location. The results suggest that a broadly accessible communications system produces higher quality situation assessment results but has certain constraints and caveats.

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  • Computer Systems

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