Writing Assignment #5 : Executive Summary
Due: Thursday, March 21, 2020 by 11:30PM
Download and carefully read the co-op work term report provided to you on Brightspace
This is the text of a real work term report written by a student within the Faculty of Computer Science. I
have replaced the company's name with [COMPANY] and their product's name with [PRODUCT], and I
have blanked out the figures to make the report as anonymous as possible. You will not need this
Read over the extra help on Summarizing.
Create an executive summary for the co-op report using the 7 steps of the summary process. Step
8 is "Document your sources"—Do not worry about this step since this is a co-op report I gave
Write your summary in a document with the following settings: 1-inch (2.54cm) margins, 12-pt
font, double-spacing, and 1/2-inch (1.25cm) paragraph indentation.
Make sure the summary is two pages long.
Your file should be named as FirstName.LastName.B00…..W3
Create a PDF of your document.
Submit the PDF into the “Writing Assignment #3” folder on Brightspace.
PLEASE NOTE: If you decide to skip the 7 steps of the summarizing process, your summary will
most likely be very poorly done and receive an appropriate grade.
A Sensor Error Notification System (SENS) is a program designed to identify if the
sensors providing information to a Sensor Management System (SMS) are operating properly
and also to monitor this sensor information. This means that SENS is responsible for identifying
if sensors are broken, reading incorrectly, or if some sort of miscommunication is occurring
between the sensors and the SMS. Running a SENS alongside a SMS ensures that the SMS is
receiving the correct information and providing the correct recommendations to the operators
The aim of a SMS is to inform the operators of a naval vessel if they are operating their
ship in an unsafe state, i.e., potentially giving enemies an improved ability to detect them. This
could entail running a ship's engine too loud or not using systems such as Active Hull Cooling
(AHC) to reduce a ship's hull temperature and minimize its infrared fingerprint. The SMS
identifies these problems and recommends what modifications need to be made to improve
Without the inclusion of SENS while executing a SMS onboard an operational vessel, the
crew are at risk of receiving erroneous sensor readings. For example, crew members could be
notified that their ship operations are putting them at risk when they are actually operating
securely. The reverse could also be true and potentially much more dangerous for the crew in
terms of combat situations. As well, the crew would be forced to incur the process of identifying
which sensors are reading improperly. Without a SENS in place, the resources and time wasted
while attempting to find problematic sensors could become very costly.
This report begins in Section 2 by elaborating on the design process behind developing a
prototype SENS. It then explores several key features in the final design of the completed SENS
LabVIEW prototype (Section 3). Next, it analyses the functionality of the prototype by taking a
look at the general structure of the prototype's LabVIEW code and suggests future improvements
to be made at later stages in the prototypes design process (Section 4). It then concludes and
reiterates what modifications were identified as necessary to the progression of SENS in the
future (Sections 5 and Section 6). The intention of this report is to provide insight into the
development process of SENS to the members of [CLIENT].
2. The Iterative Development Process
SENS is entirely new, original software, developed without the assistance of similar
existing software as reference material. Over the course of the design cycle for the SENS
prototype, numerous variations of the prototype were developed through different media
including paper, PowerPoint, and LabVIEW. Each of these went through an iterative process of
initial construction, evaluation from project supervisors and collaborators, and then subsequent
revision based on feedback. In this section, the development process and differences between
each version of the prototype over their respective lifecycles will be examined.
2.1 Paper Draft
Because SENS was developed as an original concept, the natural first step was to draw up
simple diagrams to show the general layout of the each screen (See Appendix A). This allowed
for several different early concept designs, such as a simplified pushbutton homepage, to be
quickly created and presented for review. This also allowed for the many revisions made to the
design to be added with a relatively minor time penalty.
Due to the ambiguous nature of determining how the finalized program should manifest
in terms of appearance, several design decisions were proposed and discarded at this stage. The
idea for a simple pushbutton homepage was rejected, as it would not provide the program's
operator with enough information to identify whether or not there was a problem with the ship's
operations immediately. A similar concept for a split screen interface was also rejected for the
It was determined that the necessity for the program to immediately display large amounts
of critical information on start-up was the most critical feature to focus upon. Several designs
were rejected at this stage because they were oriented towards fluidity of movement between
screens and sub-screens, as opposed to displaying data clearly and concisely. Finally, it was
determined that the volume of information needed to be displayed would require several subscreens that could be accessed from a central homepage.
2.2 PowerPoint Draft
Figure 1: A screenshot of the PowerPoint version of the homepage
The next step in the development process was to gain a more visual representation of the
SENS interface by designing a simple PowerPoint version. Each screen of the prototype would
be represented with different PowerPoint slides that could be viewed consecutively to simulate
moving through the program. This, like the paper versions, meant that a large number of design
variations could be made quickly, but this time in greater detail.
The added detail of PowerPoint allowed us to arrive at several significant design choices.
First, the inclusion of a top button banner would help improve the ability for the operator to
maximize the information they could access per click. One click would bring them to a screen
that would show all of the sensor information related to that screen's title. Secondly, the
incorporation of a banner layout across the bottom of the screen would allow operators to have a
continuous stream of essential information displayed to them, regardless of which sensor tab they
Over the course of this phase of the design, each SENS screen (home, ship state,
magnetic, electric, infrared, and radar) went through multiple versions to settle upon ideal layout
configurations. Figure 1 shows an example of the prototype near the end of the PowerPoint phase
of its development. This screen was significantly altered in the next phase, due to constraints in
the coding environment and the need to include a warning display.
2.3 LabVIEW Draft
Figure 2: A screenshot of the completed SENS homepage.
The final version of SENS was developed using the LabVIEW programming
environment. This involved the conversion of the finalized PowerPoint interface into a more
polished display, and also resulting in several layout alterations to accommodate LabVIEW's
limitations. This portion of the SENS design cycle was, proportionately, the most time
consuming, and resulted in a single LabVIEW version. Fortunately, this version serves as a
useful demonstration of how SENS will operate and how the program will respond when sensors
enter into states of error.
Due to software limitations, it would be impractical to compose the button banner across
the top of the screen, since this would require separately coding each button to change the
display. Instead, the banner was modified to a tab format with colour changing LED indicators to
show if there was an erroneous sensor in that section. Unfortunately, limitations within
LabVIEW prevented the addition of tabs that changed colours dynamically.
This version of SENS highlights how some of the project’s earliest design choices have
carried through to the finished product. Each screen shows an impressive amount of data,
especially the home screen which will ideally show a large portion of sensor information from all
sensor sections. As well, the banner layout across the bottom of the screen has effectively
integrated into LabVIEW from its early PowerPoint proposal. Each of these choices has helped
improve the final version, and greatly contributed to user-friendliness.
3. SENS Overview and Prototype Design Summary
Thus far, a number of layout choices that continued to the current version of SENS from
earlier prototype stages have been briefly mentioned: specifically the decisions to implement a
tabbed interface with an accompanying banner to continually show basic information. It is
important to examine the other recurring design features that permeate the current version of the
program and explain their significance in terms of the main function of SENS as an error
The most prominent means by which SENS communicates problems to its operator is
through the use of simple LED buttons and lights: a feature that can be seen repeatedly on each
screen. Each light is intended to display green if the sensor is operating within pre-set parameters
and only change to red if the sensor has exceeded or fallen below its expected performance
threshold. This approach may seem underwhelming; however, SENS attempts to communicate a
massive amount of information to the user with minimum time consumption. In terms of the
program's objectives, simplicity is the best option.
Another useful feature is the ability to interact with each ship diagram through the use of
the aforementioned LED buttons. The SENS home screen prominently demonstrates the utility
of this feature by allowing the operator to click on each sensor indicator LED and receive
feedback in the form of a sensor state message. These messages include the sensors' current
values, along with the current time and an example description based on whether or not the
sensor is operating properly. Direct access to important information is very important.
Notably, several of the ship's sensor tabs, such as magnetic and infrared, show a large
number of sensors for monitoring exactly the same information. In these cases, showing the
sensor information in graphs both individually and using combined axis displays with all other
related sensors serves the user as a secondary error check. For example, it would intuitively be
expected that many of the ship's hull temperature sensors above water level would be reading
similar temperatures over the course of conventional sea operations. As such, seeing a sensor
value sharply increase or decrease on a graph accompanied by closely related readings of what
that sensor data should look like can serve as a critical error reference. Each of these design
features will ideally help make SENS friendlier to the user while still preserving its functionality.
4. SENS Analysis
With the completion of SENS, the next step is to analyze the functionality and usability
of the program relative to the purposes that it intends to achieve. This requires the examination
of how intuitively, informatively, and practically SENS displays and monitors sensor data and
error cases. The simplest way to do this is by examining the main portion of the LabVIEW code
in greater detail and identifying areas that require improvement. Finally, based on the
identification of any problems in each of these areas, there is a discussion on what alterations
could be made to improve the current version of SENS.
4.1 Code Review
When discussing the LabVIEW version of SENS, it is important to detail the structure of
the code and explore how the functionality discussed in the previous sections was implemented.
This is also especially relevant since the LabVIEW version of SENS was developed with
minimal previous background in the LabVIEW programming environment. We can see how the
program works by breaking down the codes central loop structure into its several events and
elaborating on what they each accomplish.
The first event, which is perhaps the most important, is the Init event. This event encloses
the initializations of all of the buttons, graphs, and active data displays in SENS. As well, it loads
any necessary pictures and data files, and plots the ship track. Init can be viewed as the central
hub of the program: without it, no information would be loaded and the user would see little
more than a program template.
The second and third events are the update fields and homebutton value change events
respectively. Update fields instructs the loop to generate updated display information and refresh
each display so the SENS operator sees new data, such as graphs, timestamps, etc., being
updated continuously. The homebutton value change event associates a large number of example
sensor display messages to each sensor on the homepage ship diagram. This event also allows
each of these messages to be viewed on the homepage warning display field by a simple click of
each sensor button (LED) on the ship diagram.
The fourth event is a simple mouse down event applying to the sound speed profile graph
on the ship state tab. This event essentially encompasses the example history function that SENS
will eventually be incorporated throughout every screen. In short, this mouse down event
instructs the program to pop out a screen display of the graph area that the user clicks on for
improved detail. This screen is accompanied by an interactive slider bar used to access several
hours of previously recorded data. Due to time constraints, this functionality was limited to a
single display in the current version of SENS.
The fifth and sixth events operate opposite of each other, and are titled start error value
change and clear error value change respectively. Start error value change encompasses the
instructions for the example error case in SENS. It tells the program, upon the press of a hidden
button along the bottom banner, to display a warning message on the homepage ship diagram,
change the LED next to the infrared tab from green to red, and change the LED indicator for the
erroneous sensor (in this case, the first temperature sensor) on the infrared screen to red. As well,
it swaps the data going through both the combined temperature graph and the first temperature
sensors graph to bad data. Clear error value change resets all of these changes, fixing the error
situation and simulating what would happen once the problem has been identified and resolved.
The final two events are timeout and terminate program events that shutdown the
program when it has timed out or when the operator has chosen to close the program. These are
essential for the standalone executable version of SENS, as the user would not be able to close
the program easily unless they had the LabVIEW developer environment installed on their
system. These eight events are not the entirety of the LabVIEW code; however, they do represent
the essential instructions needed to make SENS demonstrate its intended purpose properly.
4.2 Usability and Functionality Examination
SENS has been designed for the purpose of displaying large volumes of sensor data,
identifying situations were sensors have entered a state of error, and notifying the user of each
problem as clearly as possible. Overall, SENS achieves its goal of demonstrating the
functionality of a finished version of the program. The inclusion of an interactive history
function allows users to view data logs for given time periods to facilitate error searching. As
well, the error case demonstration shows each of the alerts that the user will receive quite visibly.
However, the program itself has several weak points that need to be highlighted.
The major drawback to SENS in this form is that its functionality does not extend across
the entire program, as the error case demonstration is limited to a single sensor. Intuitively, we
understand the necessity for SENS to serve this function across all screens and all sensors. This
is a monumental task that could not be achieved due to time constraints; however, it is integral to
the future development of the program. This, in addition to program-wide implementation of
sensor history recording, will be necessary to maximize the functionality of SENS.
The next most critical flaw in SENS is its inherent lack of connectivity to real-world data
streams. At present, the program only displays a set duration of test data in each of its various
graphs and data fields. Implementing the ability to continuously read data that are both up-todate
and dynamic will be a challenging step. Doing so, however, would transition SENS from a
prototype to a fully operational application ready for practical use.
SENS was developed in conjunction with continued feedback from vanous supervisory
authorities for each individual sensor area. This does not mean that all essential information has
been included in the program. It is entirely possible that whole sections of information have been
omitted from SENS in its current state. SENS is a prototype, not a finished product. Ideally, the
program should be presented to a large group of persons familiar with naval vessel operations
and each signature area. This should assist the identification of missing information.
Lastly, the program suffers from minor delays when switching between tabs. There is a
sizeable amount of data loaded through the program on startup, however, such a strongly
manifested delay suggests that there are some unidentified inefficiencies in the code. Due to a
lack of experience in the LabVIEW environment, it is difficult to determine which portion of the
code could be causing these issues. Nevertheless, this is definitely a noticeable flaw in the
program's ability to operate and should be explored and fixed in future versions of SENS.
To ensure successful and safe operations of military vessels, Signature Management
Systems are used to track the vessels signature output and suggest improvements to minimize
ship operations and reduce the risk of detection. A Sensor Error Notification System is intended
to run alongside the SMS to ensure that all of the information going to the SMS is accurate and
that the sensors are operating correctly. This report details the development of a semi-functional
SENS prototype and suggests improvements for the future of the prototype. The process was
divided into three sections: the iterative development process, the SENS prototype design
overview, and the prototype analysis. The prototype originated as simple paper designs outlining
how each sensor display screen would appear. Then, PowerPoint versions of the prototype began
to develop critical information and organize it into a visually appealing UI based on collaboration
with several individuals knowledgeable in the various sensor fields. Next was the LabVIEW
version, which successfully demonstrates the potential of what future applications of the
prototype will accomplish. This finalized LabVIEW version of the prototype operates by reading
several test data streams and demonstrates a case in which a sensor error has occurred, how that
error can be identified, and what happens when the error is addressed. Unfortunately, the
prototype is still at a very early stage in its development cycle, and is missing several key
features including the ability to connect to...
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