Site: Institute for Automation and Control Processes (IAPU)
5 Radio Street
Vladivostok, 690032, Russia
Phone: (4232) 310439
Fax: (4232) 310452
Telex: IAPU-41
Email: director@iapu2.marine.su

Date Visited: October 24, 1995

WTEC Attendees:

L. Gentry (report author), H. B. Ali, R. Blidberg, S. Chechin, M. J. DeHaemer, J. Moniz, J.B. Mooney, D. Walsh

Hosts:

Anatoly A. Suponya

Deputy Director

Victor G. Lifshits

Professor; Director of the Center

Oleg V. Abramov

Professor; Head of the Department

BACKGROUND

The institute was established in 1971 by Academician A. A. Voronov, a Lenin-prize winner and well-known expert in cybernetics. The institute was chartered to do research in control theory, computer science, mathematical modeling, and simulation. The institute is presently made up of 250 people including a research staff of 112. Thirteen of this number are doctors of science, and 54 are candidates of science (students). Three academicians are listed along with four corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Previous levels in 1991 included a science staff of 175 with 10 doctors and 65 candidates.

The present director, Academician V. P. Myasnikov was absent during our visit, and we were hosted by Deputy Director A. Suponya who made the following points during his initial remarks.

The institute has six departments:

  1. Expert Systems Design
  2. Research of Control Processes and Reliability Problems
  3. Mathematical Simulation of Complex Systems
  4. Surface Physics and Design of Semiconductor Systems
  5. Development of Non-Traditional New Technologies
  6. Information Support for Ocean and Environment Exploration.

Due to the absence of some of the department heads, we had access only to the work performed by departments 2, 4, and 6. We also were given a paper describing the work of department 1. These four areas are discussed in the Research and Development section of this site report.

The institute, in addition to conducting fundamental research in the aforementioned departments, services four educational departments in Far East universities. They have cooperative efforts with at least two other institutes, the Institute of Applied Mathematics and the Institute of Computational Mathematics (Khabarovsk). Funding has decreased since Perestroika, and both scientists and facilities are "lightly loaded" at present. Suponya was not very positive about the future of the institute at these present funding levels.

Funding levels for the institute include about $450K from the government for fundamental research, $250K from the government in grants, $50K from the Russian Academy of Sciences for applied science, and $100K for new facilities. They used to have cooperative programs with other institutes, but this has evaporated.

Because of the lack of funds, many of their younger scientists have left the institute to take positions in private industry and banking institutions. In fact, the panel observed essentially no young personnel at any of the laboratories visited. They used to have a number of funded joint cooperative programs with other institutes in the Soviet Union that produced funds of about $350K but presently have very few. Numerous brochures were provided the panel summarizing the work of the institute; however, they were primarily public relations materials and seemed to describe work activities in the past. Discussion of current activities evidenced few recent advances.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

Due to the short time for this visit, the panel divided into three groups to cover the topics available. Of the various laboratories at this institute, we directly observed only the laboratory associated with information support for ocean research.

Expert Systems Design

The director of this laboratory, Dr. A. S. Kleshchev, was away on a long-term assignment supporting an expert system joint development project in Japan. Past work has been in four areas, including knowledge representation, medicine expert systems, expert system support tools, and hybrid expert systems. From brochure descriptions, much of their work seems to have been in the areas of medical diagnosis and of the recognition of moving objects.

A 1994 working paper (preprint) titled "Expert Systems Based on Metaknowledge" was given to us. The paper describes a metashell concept and asserts that normal methods of using expert system shells are an evolutionary development process that is adequate for rapid prototyping of relatively uncomplicated systems. However, the use of the metashell includes both evolutionary and revolutionary development tools to deal with rapid prototyping of large and complicated expert systems.

The metashell is a computer-based tool involving software that incorporates organized assistance for modifying the knowledge base, the domain model, and a problem-solving method. The metashell may be viewed as an expert system to help in the construction of an expert system developed from a variety of expert system shells that are presently available.

It was not possible to verify the capabilities and maturity of this approach since we were not able to enter into a dialog with the expert, but it sounds similar to existing expert system concepts available from several sources in the United States. In addition to expert system shells, many tools are available to knowledge engineers, including software tools for knowledge acquisition and knowledge validation, verification and construction of interface. These tools have been in use by knowledge engineers over the past 20 years (Turban, 1995).

Research of Control Processes and Reliability Problems

Dr. O. V. Abramov, the head of the department, described their work in the development of control systems for process control. Much of their work has been to develop system models and computer-based tools for the experimental and predictive evaluation of system parameters and the generation of optimum control strategies.

Dr. Abramov described the range of his department's work and asserted that their approach is different from traditional work in that both the design of systems is optimized as a function of reliability and operational maintenance is optimized on the basis of equipment status. Two computer-based tools developed at the institute and used in the countries of the former Soviet Union were described in handouts.

In the past, their capabilities were largely developed for the Soviet military, in particular for Navy ship systems and other applications. Today the group seems to have little if any funding and desires to find users for their expertise and the computer-based tools in the West.

Mathematical Simulation

Responsible personnel were not available. From brochures the scope of their work includes ecological system simulation, geoinformatics, mechanics of deformable solids, numerical analysis, and operator equations.

Surface Physics and Design of Semiconductor Systems

We were introduced to the following researchers and their disciplines by Prof. Victor G. Lifshits, a Soros scientist and director of the laboratory.

Dr. Yuri Gavriluk produces mono-layer silicon on epitaxial silicon substrates, yielding 2-D diodes, for example. The work is done at very low vacuum (10-10 torrs) at room temperature in a layering and annealing process. He works in both surface and buried phases. He is working on single mono-layer surface phase deposits on silicon mono-crystals at very low vacuum.

Dr. A. A. Saranin works on co-deposition of elemental hydrogen and various metals to form nm-scale features. In essence, his process produces 2-D precisely-controlled metal agglomerates.

Dr. A. Shaparenko works with special methods of cleaning multi-layer silicon structures.

Other researchers are involved in deposition of silicon-nitride on silicon, both film and buried, and on chromium-silicide depositions on silicon substrate to form epitaxial layers of the silicide. They produce, for sale, an automatic computer-controlled spectrometer (referred to by our hosts as an "Oge spectrometer"). The lab worked with depositing carbon on silicon substrates about 15 years ago. They apparently gave up because, though they were able to form diamond, they couldn't control the process well enough to assure they didn't get other forms of carbon as well. They also work with Dr. Rapinsky at the Institute of Semiconductors in Novosibirsk on Blodgett-Miller films on Si substrate.

In general, the laboratories appeared in good order and adequately equipped to do the types of work described, and the researchers were particularly enthusiastic. Some of the published documents of the institute are listed at the end of this site report.

Development of Non-Traditional New Technologies

Responsible personnel were not available. From brochures, we gathered that the scope of their work includes transport vehicles, electrophysics and electric power engineering, and applied opto-electronics.

Information Support for Ocean and Environment Research

Kandidat Herbeck demonstrated how satellite data is received and processed in his laboratory. He uses data from the U.S. NOAA 10 satellite which provides high resolution sea surface temperature (SST) information. The SST data is taken in five bands: four infrared and one visible. They do not use the Russian Cosmos satellite(s) that also have an SST capability due to the fact that these "Sputniks" have a wobble which reduces accuracy of the data.

From analysis of sea surface temperature patterns and temperature anomalies, Herbeck is able to plot sea surface currents. Where there are strong anomaly areas, there are usually ocean fronts. It is in these boundary areas where fishing opportunities are the best. The laboratory produces a predictive information product for fishermen.

Herbeck's laboratory does not work with satellite altimetry data (i.e., the TOPEX satellite) or NOAA's coastal zone color scanner on LANDSAT. They use only SST data.

Their primary geographic area of interest is the coastal waters of the Russian Far East.

SUMMARY

The institute has supported Soviet science in the area of controls for over 30 years. While we were not shown much in the way of active laboratories and saw limited activity, the credentials over the years of this institute are significant. They have been responsible for a number of products used in reliability-centered design of analog electronic systems and in prediction of system reliability. They are also presently active in developing advanced expert systems for a variety of applications. They have also been instrumental in founding an R&D center for microelectronics and a joint stock company named "CENTER." While the SST data imagery was relatively straightforward, the data has proven very useful to fishermen. The institute has also founded Far Eastern University branches for controls and for foreign languages. The Institute for Technical Marine Problems was started at IAPU in the 1970s and spun off as a separate institute in 1982 (see ITMP site report). Most of the activity observed at IAPU is applied science; however, the institute is quite large and much was not seen due to limited time and the lateness of the hour.

The present viability of the institute is uncertain. Funding is down by more than 40%, and younger scientific personnel have left for better paying careers. There is an air of desperation and a lack of focus about how to move into the new era of funding. Little of what we saw is cutting-edge technology and appears to have stagnated at an early 1990s level. The satellite data analysis and display technology and the reliability centered design tools will only become more outdated unless outside funding for joint programs can be found.

REFERENCES

Booklet. 1994. (in Russian) describing in detail the history and work of the institute. 40 pages.

Booklet. ca. 1991. (in Russian and partly in English) pictorial showing various laboratories at the institute. 23 pages.

Computer Aided Reliability-Oriented Design System (CARD). 1995. PR Flyer (in English). 1 page.

Forecast. 1995. A package of Algorithms and Programs for Individual Forecasting and Maintenance Scheduling. PR Flyer (in English). 1 page.

Institute for Automation and Control Processes. Ca 1994-95. General Capability Brochure (in English). Overview and description of the Institute and the main departments.

Khramtsova, E. A., A. A. Saranin, A. B. Chub, and V. G. Lifshits. 1995. "Au and Al binary surface phases on the Si (111) surface." Surface Sciences (v. 331/333, in press).

Kleshchev, A. S. 1995. "Expert systems based on metaknowledge." Technical paper (preprint in English). 15 p.

Lifshits, V. G., A. A. Saranin, and A. V. Zotov. 1994. Surface Phases on Silicon. Wiley, Chichester, UK, 450 p.

Proceedings of the First Russia-Japan Seminar on Semiconductor Surfaces. 1993. Vladivostok, Russia, 5-12 September.

Sranin, A. A., O. L. Tarasova, V. G. Kotlyar, E. A. Khramtsova, and V. G. Lifshits. 1995. "Thermal nitridation of Si(110) by NH3: LEED and AES study." Surface Science (v. 331/333, in press).

Turban, Efraim. 1995. Decision Support and Expert Systems. Fourth Edition, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1995, pp. 645-6.

Zotov, A. V., S. V. Ryzhkov, and V. G. Lifshits. 1995. "Stability of surface reconstructions on silicon during RT deposition of Si submonolayers." Surface Science (accepted for publication).

Zotov, A. V., F. Wittmann, J. Lechner, S. V. Ryshkov, V. G. Lifshits, and I. Eisels. "Electrical properties of surface phases on silicon capped by amorphous Si layers." (submitted to Appl. Phys. Lett.).


Published: August 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian