Tuesday, September 26, 2006


What is real, what is false?
How do we decide what we percieve through our senses
is an illusion or not?

How do we feel confidence in the information we get and the meaning we assign to it?

"If the rate of directional change is quite small - and not confirmed
by the eyes - the change will be virtually undetectable and the pilot
probably will not sense any motion whatsoever".

In a large Air Traffic Control(ATC) system, a time span of continious
maintenance activity with many successfull changes may cause
the formation of a false sense of safety.

How can an operational manager decide what he percieves in a general sense is real or not?

Any changes he decides to be made to the large system causes an increase in the risk to the safety. On the other hand any necessary changes he decides to delay may cause an increase
in the risk for the future safety.

How can he decide the risk he percieves at that moment is a real reasonable one?

Actually, we all face this dilemma in many facets of our lives...
What is real, what is false? How do our brains decide what is real?

Some of our brain's mysterious algorithms are:

- Repetition or repeatibility:
If stg is real, it has to be there when tested more than once.

-Episodic memory:
It has to be remembered as a part of a sequence of events...

-Rightness anticipation:
It has to be coherent with our knowledge and long term memory.

It has to be percived by our senses.

When carefully inspected all four of these ingredients carry the
discrepancies which form the false sense of safety in a large system.

The formation of the sense of reality in the human mind is reflected
to the air traffic control systems architecture(including the human element).

False sense of safety is the vertigo of Air Traffic Control system.

Ali Riza SARAL

Note: I will be writing more on the psychological may be neurological basis of vertigo a bit in an article named "VERTIGO IN THE CONTROL ROOM". This article will also compare the concepts in a pilot's vertigo warning article with CONTROL ROOM VERTIGO.

Second article will be on "Situation Awareness in the Maintenance and Enhancement of ATC systems".

Third article will be on the "Passenger's Right to Know"...

Ali Riza SARAL

Sunday, September 10, 2006



This summer flights to Istanbul and Antalya
had delays of around one hour. My sister's
airplane had to wait one hour at London
Heathrow airport the motors working.
Luckily, EUROCONTROL's air traffic
flow management center at Brussels keeps
airplanes on the ground till there is a
window of safe opportunity in the traffic.

What went wrong and why does the Turkish
air traffic system can not handle
heavy traffic loads? Is it safe to fly to
Turkey during the heavy season,
namely the June, July, August and the new year,
Christmas season? Is it safe?

The answers to these questions may be found
in the EUROCONTROL Experimental Center's
Report No: 396. "In 2003 the Turkish
ANS Service Provider DHMI (Devlet Hava
Meydanlari Isletmesi) requested assistance
from EUROCONTROL for a series of simulations
to analyse the current ATC sectorisation and
routeing schemes within the Turkish airspace
against forecast traffic growth until 2015
and propose a new sectorisation plan suitable
to existing and planned route network". "The
simulation study has to provide a “survival
plan” for the existing system until SMART
becomes operational, and to provide a revised
sectorisation plan for the new system up to
the year 2015". SMART is DHMI's new project
which is supposed to replace the current
ATC system left from 1980's.

The SMART project bidding was won by the
INDRA company last year. But the project was
cancelled on the ground that although THOMSON
had offered some 30 million Euros more they
had also offered a more sophisticated technical
system. DHMI cancelled the bidding and made
an other this year, around January... This
time only two companies entered the bidding
process. The bidding was cancelled once
more when one of these companies withdrew...
No reason was given...

It is impossible to tell every detail of EEC
Report 396 here... You can find it on both
EUROCONTROL and DHMI sites or you may request
it from me.

The pith of the issue is, EEC report 396
states clearly that the Turkish ATC system,
specially Istanbul and Antalya may not be
able to respond healtily to the Air Traffic
beginning with 2005 - 2010... You can see
careful and restrained warnings, such as
"Additional sectorisation capability should
be made as dynamic as possible to relieve
temporary overload".

During this simulation there has been conflicts
between the Turkish side and possibly members
of the EUROCONTROL simulation theme because:
". Despite the fact that members of the working
group have accepted restrictions only with a
certain degree of hesitation it must be said
that their application lead to the fact that
no High or Upp sector is faced with serious
problems. Contrary to this are the Ist-Mid-West
and the Ank-South-Low sectors which show the
highest loadings for this exercise. In Europe,
strategic restriction of flight operation is in
general use. The safe and orderly handling of
the high number of flights could not be
possible otherwise. Turkey has a tradition of
offering, as far as possible, an unrestricted
flight path to the operators. In the future
however, in order to cope with the increased
traffic demand and to provide a safe service,
it will be necessary to consider restrictions
with regard to flight levels, routes and times
more regularly".

"As traffic grows yearly, solutions will be
found gradually and constraints applied if
and when necessary. The working group is
convinced that useful and intelligent solutions
will be tested and applied to assure the safe
and efficient control of the increasing traffic
and refrain from making specific suggestions
in this area".

". saturation of the Istanbul sectors depend to
a large extent on the traffic in and outbound
Istanbul. Since no restrictions apply, a flight
entering at high level will penetrate all existing
sectors during its descent. Departing flights
climbing to a high level will also penetrate
all sectors. With strategic restrictions the number
of flights per sector and hour can be reduced".

The reporter TEWES declares the simulation target
as impossible to achieve by:
"Despite that all these results are theoretical
ones, they gave good indications and hints to the
working group where to start to search for
improvements, especially having in mind the traffic
forecast for the year 2015. It was evident that
the sector plan developed for the 2005 scenario
was not able to cope with the traffic demand
forecast for 2010."

There certainly are more to say about the report
but I will suffice by making a few comparisons
with a similar report of a simulation done for
1-Bulgarians used both military and civil data
in their simulations.
2-Bulgarians used only August data where as Turkish
data is dispersed two different times of the year.
3-Bulgarian report indicates the names of the
Bulgarian ATC personnel. The Turkish reports do
not indicate any individual who would take conciencious
4-Signs by comparison indicate that the DHMI system
has discrepencies in Planning Controller and
Radar Controller functionalities.
5-Signs by comparison indicate that the DHMI system
is a system left from 1980's which does not have
automatic strip printing.

By the way, strips are the last resort of air
traffic controllers when the radar picture is lost...

Safety is a feeling at the personal level.
I fully understand that you choose or not to fly
over Istanbul under these conditions at specific times...

But, safety has also a technically established
universal definition that is assigned to a meaning.
No air traffic controller should claim his skill
to be over his vigilance...

Ali Riza SARAL
Note: Any specific question is wellcome. I have a
very detailed analysis of this report and what may
have gone wrong there.

Monday, September 04, 2006



Thinking through agents… Temsilciler kanalı ile düşünmek…

Kiraya vermek için evinizi ve isteklerinizi iyi bilen bir komisyoncu bulmanız gerekir… Komisyoncu sizi ne kadar iyi tanırsa, sanki sizin ayakkabılarınız içinde imiş gibi davranabiliyorsa amacınıza ulaşma şansınız daha fazla olur… Bunun için en uygun komisyoncuyu seçmiş olmanız gerekir…

Laporoscopi Video-Surgery ameliyatlarında, işlemler çeşitli sondalarla vücuda sokulmuş bir video kamera, ışık ve diğer aletlerle yapılır. Bu sayede ekibin tümü aynı görüntüyü görür. Eski yöntemde el ile hissetmenin yerini zamanla oluşan görsel hissetme alır. Bir süre sonra aletler operatörün vücudunun bir parçası haline gelir(GATTI).

Yazılım geliştirme araçlarından oluşan geliştirme ortamları da insanın kullandığı her araç gibi, onun yeteneklerini arttırır ve giderek kullanıcının bir parçası olur. Bu ortamlar insan muhakemesinin doğal bir parçası haline gelir. Komisyoncu örneğinde olduğu gibi bu ortamlar ne kadar kullanıcının amaçlarına uygun tasarlanırsa ve kullanıcı bu ortamları ne kadar iyi tanırsa başarı o kadar artar…

Düşünme yeteneğimizi bir araç ya da araçlar ortamı ile genişletmemiz, bize çok karmaşık bir problemi soyutlayarak, az sayıda ve bildiğimiz değişkenler cinsinden muhakeme etme şansını verir… Çünkü insan ancak yedi artı eksi iki şeyi aynı anda algılayabilir(Miller).

Temsilciler kanalı ile düşünmek… Thinking through Agents…

İnsan düşüncesinde farklı şekillerde uygulanan bir yaklaşım… Örneğin bir kavramı kısa şekilde ifade etmek için sembol kullanımı… Bilgisayarınızda bir kutuphaneyi bir file’dan kolaylıkla ayırt etmemizi sağlıyor semboller… Ve biz semboller cinsinden seri bir şekilde düşünüyoruz, bilgisayarda iş yaparken…

Satranc ya da tavla oyunları, küçük birer oyun sistemi… Oyun oynarken, biz kendi duygu ve düşüncelerimizi o oyunun kuralları çerçevesinde ifade ediyoruz ve yaşıyoruz…

Daha soyut bir örnek, idealler, dogmalar ya da her türlü düşünsel – özetleyici – kalıplar…
“Mutlak muhakemenin ve anlık belleğin kısıtlı imkanları algılayabildiğimiz, işleyebildiğimiz ve hatırlayabildiğimiz bilgi miktarı üzerine ağır sınırlar koyar. Uyarı girişini bir çok boyuta göre düzenleyip daha sonra bir diziye ya da gruba ayırarak bu bilgisel dar boğazı kırabiliriz ya da en azından genişletebiliriz(MILLER)”. “Grup kolaylıkla tanınabilen düzenlenmiş uyarı malzemesi birimidir(EBART)”.

Gruplama, save, save as vb. menu maddelerini file menusunde birleştirmek gibi. Bir dogma çerçevesinde düşünmek te düşünen kişinin işini kolaylaştırıyor… Numeric degerler, azlık çokluk, renklere, giderek siyah beyaza donusuyor… Kolaylık bazen sorunun çözümünü içeren olası durumların, esnekliğin kaybına yol açabiliyor…

Sanılmasın ki siyah beyaz renkler, kalın sınırlar tümüyle gereksiz. Bunlar kişilik belirlenmesinin zorunlu olabilen unsurları. Bir bebeğin Konuşmasında ilk unsurlar anne, baba ben gibi temel kavramlar… Az bilgili kişinin öğrenmesinde semboller hayati derecede önemli…

Bir bilgi şeması olmadan yeni öğrenilen şeyleri, yeni yaprakları nereye ekleyebilir öğrenci kişi… Semboller, dogmalar ve diğer tüm basite indirgeyici muhakeme unsurları bilgi yetersizliği içindeki insanın ayakta kalabilmek için geliştirdiği düşünsel yapılar…

“Belirsizliğin reddi ve doğruluktan emin olma ihtiyacı yalnızca paranoya ve ilişkili patalojik koşullardan daha geniş uygulaması olan bir insanca düşünme özelliğidir. Geniş bir uyumsal ve sosyal değerli insani düşünme süreçlerini kapsar”(MEISSNER).

İnsanın kendi içsel dünyası ve kendi dışındaki ‘gerçek’ dünya! Kişilik oluşumu ve öğrenmede bunların dengesi önemli… Kişi bilgi birikimine göre algıladığı şeyleri anlayarak öğrenebilir. Ya da anlamaz ve algıladıkları bilinçaltını koşullar… Bir öğretmen öğretmek için yetkili bir kişidir. Temsil ettiği kişiler çocuğun ailesi, toplum hatta devlettir.

Temsilciler aracılığı ile düşünmek… Thinking through agents…

Konunun uzmani olan kişiler – bizim yapamadığımız işler için bizi temsil etmekteler… Öğretmen, emlak komisyoncusu, politikacı vb… Bu kişilerin semiotic tree’leri yani bilgi dağarcıkları ilgili konuda bizden çok daha gelişmiş … Kendi kendilerine kaldıklarında
semboller, dogmalar ve diğer bütün kolaylaştırıcılardan ayrık kendi dışlarındaki nesneler cinsinden,objective olarak düşünebilirler… Çünkü ilgili tüm object’ler düşünme ağaçlarında var… Hemen hemen…

Bir konuyu başka bir düzlemde çözmek sonra da sonuçları başlangıç düzlemine taşımak LAPLACE teoreminde uygulanan bir düşünme yöntemi… Bu düşünme yöntemi de bir araç-temsilci aracılığı ile düşünmek şeklinde değerlendirilebilir. Doğrudan sonuca yaklaşan pragmatik düşünme yöntemi yerine sonuç alınması için gerekli sağlıklı ortamı sağlama epistemik düşünme yöntemi(KIRSCH) gibi…

Nasil hava karardığında lehim yapmaya devam etmek ve işi pragmatik yolla bitirmeye çalışmak yerine ışığı açmak epistemik bir çözümse… Vurdu kırdılı tartışmaya
girmek yerine önce tartışmanın grammerinde anlaşmak daha uygun olur…
Halledilecek işle ilgili herşeyi konuşabilir olmak gerekir… Yok bunu haklı haksız yapamıyorsak, o zaman güvenilir uzman temsilcilere bırakmak gerekir…

Ali Riza SARAL

Not: (En son fakat sonuncu olmayan) Güven ilk öğrendiğimiz duygu… İnanmak ise insan beyninin duygu ve düşünce unsurlarını dengeleyen hayati unsur.

Miller, G. (1956) "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information", Psychological Review, 63, 81-97
"The span of absolute judgment and the span of immediate memory impose severe limitations on the amount of information that we are able to receive, process, and remember. By organizing, the stimulus input simultaneously into several dimensions and successively into a sequence or chunks, we manage to break (or at least stretch) this informational bottleneck".

Ray E. Ebarts, "User Interface Design", Prentice Hall
The chunk is a unit of organized stimulus material that can easily be recognized. "Learning plays an important role in the formation of these chunks",[ p. 169].

Meissner, W. W. (1978) The Paranoid Process
“the need for conviction of rightness and the denial of uncertainity is a quality of human thinking that has broader application than merely to paranoia or related pathological conditions. Rather it spans a wide spectrum of adaptive and socially valuable human cognitive processes.”

Alberto Gatti
Sensing and Thinking through Technological Tools: The Impact on Cognitive Processes of a Change in the Organization of the Boundaries of Body. The Case of Laparoscopic Video-Surgery
Most of the surgical acts are mediated by external instruments, the surgical instruments. These tools fit, on one hand, the surgeon’s anatomical and ergonomic features and, on the other hand, the pragmatic function that they have to achieve. Step by step, with the experience, the surgical instruments tend to become something transparent for the surgeon, in the sense that the surgeon becomes so expert in using these instruments, which are, in their turn, shaped so as to fit the humans’ physical features, that the instruments almost become part of the surgeon’s body itself.
The concept that emerges from this consideration and that has a deep cognitive relevance is the concept of embodiment. Embodiment acquires here a specific meaning. In several contexts within Cognitive Science, the term “embodiment” is used to mean that cognitive processes sometimes take the form of physical actions without going through an isolate abstract theoretical step any more. In this article, I use the term “embodiment” in a different meaning. Embodiment is understood here as the structure of the boundaries of our body. In other words, embodiment refers to the way in which we organize our contact with the environment. We do not have a body which remains stable over time, nor do we always interact with the world only with our naked body, but very often we make use of suitable interfaces that modify the boundaries of our body and, therefore, the kind of interaction between us and the environment.
Alteration of our embodiment has strong consequences both on our sense of our self (Clark, 2003) and on the mechanisms of collecting and processing of information. A change in the structure of the boundaries of our body means a change in the structure of the boundaries of our mind.

DAVID KIRSH AND PAUL MAGLIO On Distinguishing Epistemic from Pragmatic Action
These actions are not used to implement a plan, or to implement a reaction; they are used to change the world in order to simplify the problem-solving task. Thus, we distinguish pragmatic octions-- actions performed to bring one physically closer to a goal-from epistemic actions -actions performed to uncover informatioan that is hidden or hard to compute mentally.

Less widely appreciated is how valuable external actions can be for simplifying the mental computation that takes place in tasks which are not clearly symbolic-particularly in tasks requiring agents to react quickly. We …

Let us call actions whose primary function is to bring the agent closer to his or her physical goal pragmatic actions, to distinguish them from
epistemic actions. As suggested earlier, existing literature on planning (Tate, Hendler, & Drummond, 1990), action theory (Bratman, 1987), and to a lesser extent decision theory (Chernoff & Moses, 1967) has focused almost exclusively on pragmatic actions.