The Marine Engineering Department has initiated a project to study the application of developing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for monitoring the performance of systems and equipment typically found in power plants. To facilitate the study, the department is purchasing apparatus that may become part of an AI laboratory and expand on current AI capabilities. The AI laboratory has a number of devices, such as heat exchangers, that can be interconnected to simulate a fluid system. A data acquisition system is used to gather information about the operation of the system or one of its components. AI technologies are then trained to use that information to recognize different operating conditions. The problem was that the existing laboratory equipment was not capable of simulating a typical system and was limiting the ability to make the study realistic. The purpose of this project is the development of sets of devices that can simulate typical systems in power plants. Work has already been done by junior and senior engineering students enrolled in independent study courses. They have successfully used a data acquisition system to gather information about the operation of a laboratory heat exchanger and pressure drop device. The information was supplied to a neural network which was trained to recognize normal and abnormal fluid flow characteristics for that equipment. The significance of this project is that new laboratory equipment is giving the students the chance to be involved in applying AI technologies. The project should also be of interest to the maritime industry as it looks to improve the operation and safety of its ships. Plans have been made to disseminate the results through professional organizations such as the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, American Society of Engineering Education, and industry.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Eric J. Sheppard
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Suny Maritime College
United States
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