Missile Defense Agency Funds Charles River Analytics to Develop Simulation Optimization Engine

Charles River Analytics, a developer of advanced technologies for intelligent systems, received a follow on Phase II SBIR contract award from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to develop its Simulation Optimization Engine (SIMON). SIMON is a strategic planning decision-support tool that can support MDA’s development and acquisition activities by automating the exploration of numerous possible decision options through a combination of simulation and optimization. SIMON is a significant addition to Charles River’s support to the MDA over several years.

SIMON provides a ballistic missile defense system (BMDS)-level simulation optimization capability to support exploration of the complex decision spaces facing the MDA, such as how to allocate future missile defense system capabilities to protect against potential attack scenarios. In this contract, SIMON will use evolutionary algorithms (EAs) to discover optimal parameters of decision variables for BMDS-level simulations. EAs are complemented by graphical configuration, analysis, and visualization tools to support modeling and simulation (M&S) operators to explore and understand the design optimization space.

“Using SIMON, analysts can assess which areas to improve within current BMDS configurations, guide BMDS design concepts, provide benchmarks to compare battle management strategies and system acquisition decisions, or even establish curricula for training programs,” said Brad Rosenberg, Senior Scientist at Charles River and Principal Investigator for SIMON. “Currently, this is a sequential process. Analysts simulate one configuration, examine the results, and then tweak the parameters again. With SIMON, analysts can set up an experiment that automatically optimizes the parameters.”

Charles River has supported the MDA for several years through projects in battle management command and control, such as SNOMAN (Sensor Network Optimization Using Multi-Agent Negotiation) and ALAMO (Arbitrage Look-ahead Agents for Market-based Optimization), which optimally allocate sensors in real-time to protect against threats. Charles River has also supported the MDA through analysis projects, such as the Language Conversion Engine (LANCE), which converts code written in the ADA programming language to C. This conversion migrates legacy software that is difficult to maintain into software with greater support and interoperability. The MDA has featured some of these projects in recent publications, including Optimizing Networks and Resources in the 2009 report Building on Our Strengths, and The Optimization Game in the 2008 technology transfer newsletter TechUpdate.

Material described above is based upon prior and on-going work supported by the MDA, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA), and SMDC-RDC-W under Contracts No. HQ0006-11-C-7247, W9113M-05-C-0173, W9113M-08-C-0142, and W91260-09-C-0006. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the MDA, AFRL, DARPA, or SMDC-RDC-W.

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