Framework for robust design: a forecast environment using intelligent discrete event simulation

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Beisecker, Elise K.
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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The US Navy is shifting to power projection from the sea which stresses the capabilities of its current fleet and exposes a need for a new surface connector. The design of complex systems in the presence of changing requirements, rapidly evolving technologies, and operational uncertainty continues to be a challenge. Furthermore, the design of future naval platforms must take into account the interoperability of a variety of heterogeneous systems and their role in a larger system-of-systems context. To date, methodologies to address these complex interactions and optimize the system at the macro-level have lacked a clear direction and structure and have largely been conducted in an ad-hoc fashion. Traditional optimization has centered around individual vehicles with little regard for the impact on the overall system. A key enabler in designing a future connector is the ability to rapidly analyze technologies and perform trade studies using a system-of-systems level approach. The objective of this work is a process that can quantitatively assess the impacts of new capabilities and vessels at the systems-of-systems level. This new methodology must be able to investigate diverse, disruptive technologies acting on multiple elements within the system-of-systems architecture. Illustrated through a test case for a Medium Exploratory Connector (MEC), the method must be capable of capturing the complex interactions between elements and the architecture and must be able to assess the impacts of new systems). Following a review of current methods, six gaps were identified, including the need to break the problem into subproblems in order to incorporate a heterogeneous, interacting fleet, dynamic loading, and dynamic routing. For the robust selection of design requirements, analysis must be performed across multiple scenarios, which requires the method to include parametric scenario definition. The identified gaps are investigated and methods recommended to address these gaps to enable overall operational analysis across scenarios. Scenarios are fully defined by a scheduled set of demands, distances between locations, and physical characteristics that can be treated as input variables. Introducing matrix manipulation into discrete event simulations enables the abstraction of sub-processes at an object level and reduces the effort required to integrate new assets. Incorporating these linear algebra principles enables resource management for individual elements and abstraction of decision processes. Although the run time is slightly greater than traditional if-then formulations, the gain in data handling abilities enables the abstraction of loading and routing algorithms. The loading and routing problems are abstracted and solution options are developed and compared. Realistic loading of vessels and other assets is needed to capture the cargo delivery capability of the modeled mission. The dynamic loading algorithm is based on the traditional knapsack formulation where a linear program is formulated using the lift and area of the connector as constraints. The schedule of demands from the scenarios represents additional constraints and the reward equation. Cargo available is distributed between cargo sources thus an assignment problem formulation is added to the linear program, requiring the cargo selected to load on a single connector to be available from a single load point. Dynamic routing allows a reconfigurable supply chain to maintain a robust and flexible operation in response to changing customer demands and operating environment. Algorithms based on vehicle routing and computer packet routing are compared across five operational scenarios, testing the algorithms ability to route connectors without introducing additional wait time. Predicting the wait times of interfaces based on connectors en route and incorporating reconsideration of interface to use upon arrival performed consistently, especially when stochastic load times are introduced, is expandable to a large scale application. This algorithm selects the quickest load-unload location pairing based on the connectors routed to those locations and the interfaces selected for those connectors. A future connector could have the ability to unload at multiple locations if a single load exceeds the demand at an unload location. The capability for multiple unload locations is considered a special case in the calculation of the unload location in the routing. To determine the unload location to visit, a traveling salesman formulation is added to the dynamic loading algorithm. Using the cost to travel and unload at locations balanced against the additional cargo that could be delivered, the order and locations to visit are selected. Predicting the workload at load and unload locations to route vessels with reconsideration to handle disturbances can include multiple unload locations and creates a robust and flexible routing algorithm. The incorporation of matrix manipulation, dynamic loading, and dynamic routing enables the robust investigation of the design requirements for a new connector. The robust process will use shortfall, capturing the delay and lack of cargo delivered, and fuel usage as measures of performance. The design parameters for the MEC, including the number available and vessel characteristics such as speed and size were analyzed across four ways of testing the noise space. The four testing methods are: a single scenario, a selected number of scenarios, full coverage of the noise space, and feasible noise space. The feasible noise space is defined using uncertainty around scenarios of interest. The number available, maximum lift, maximum area, and SES speed were consistently design drivers. There was a trade-off in the number available and size along with speed. When looking at the feasible space, the relationship between size and number available was strong enough to reverse the number available, to desiring fewer and larger ships. The secondary design impacts come from factors that directly impacted the time per trip, such as the time between repairs and time to repair. As the noise sampling moved from four scenario to full coverage to feasible space, the option to use interfaces were replaced with the time to load at these locations and the time to unload at the beach gained importance. The change in impact can be attributed to the reduction in the number of needed trips with the feasible space. The four scenarios had higher average demand than the feasible space sampling, leading to loading options being more important. The selection of the noise sampling had an impact of the design requirements selected for the MEC, indicating the importance of developing a method to investigate the future Naval assets across multiple scenarios at a system-of-systems level.
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