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Microworld Research Laboratory

This Web site describes the computer-simulated microworlds and facilities used for our continuing research efforts on measures of expertise (i.e., CWS), decision-making, mental models, individual differences, and team behavior.


Controller Teamwork Evaluation and Assessment Methodology (CTEAM)

The CTEAM computer-simulated microworld is a low fidelity simulation of air traffic control. Developed and maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration, CTEAM is a simplified version of a real air traffic control task that allows for individual or team operator designs.

CTEAM operators control traffic in their virtual airspace by using a command toolbar, located in the right hand corner of the screen, to issue heading, speed, and altitude commands. Aircraft are either landed at an airport in the operators sector or sent through an adjacent exit gate. Time through sector (the time from when an aircraft appears in an operator's sector to the time it reaches its final destination) is a common performance measure used in our studies.

Demonstration Downloads

You can view the demonstration as a Web slide presentation.

View PPS of an individual controlling air traffic in a single sector (1220 KB) or View individual sector demonstration as a Web page (for best viewing, click the "Full Screen Slide Show" icon in the lower right corner of the window)

View PPS of a team controlling air traffic in a multiple sectors (820 KB) or View the team demonstration as a Web page (for best viewing, click the "Full Screen Slide Show" icon in the lower right corner of the window)



Networked Fire Chief (NFC)

Networked Fire Chief was created by Mary Omodei and is continually being adapted to explore contemporary research questions by Mary and the rest of the Complex Decision Research Group (CDRG). For more information about their work with Fire Chief and related decision research, please see the CDRG hompage. NFC is a program for generating distributed interactive task environments, including but not limited to firefighting simulations, that capture the essential attributes of real-life distributed decision-making situations. The two major features of the program are its flexibility for scenario development and the ability to network a number of computer stations running the same scenario.

NFC can be used to simulate firefighting or any other scattering environmental malady, for example, oil spills and locust swarms. We have designed firefighting team scenarios that have multiple-sector layouts similar to CTEAM scenarios. A demonstration of an individual fighting fires in his or her sector can be downloaded below. In this scenario, the operator's goal is to save as much landscape as possible using a helicopter and a firetruck. Both of these firefighting appliances are limited in speed (i.e., the helicopter is faster than the firetruck) and the amount of water they hold (i.e., the firetruck holds more water than the helicopter). When an appliance runs out of water, the operator must refill it at any one of the ponds. In addition to directing the appliances to fires and ponds, operators must also attend to the direction and speed of the wind. Common performance measures used in NFC include the amount of landscape preserved, resources used, and the number of moves used in the scenario.

Demonstration Download

You can view the demonstration as a Web slide presentation.

View PPS of an individual fighting fires in a single sector (697 KB) or View the firefighting demonstration as a Web page (for best viewing, click the "Full Screen Slide Show" icon in the lower right corner of the window)

Site designer: J. Shawn Farris

Webmaster: C. Vowels cvowels@ksu.edu

  Microworlds Facilities