As a modeling and simulation professional, I deal with questions all the time, and not ones a 411 call or Google query can answer. They are “what if?” questions about complex scenarios involving complicated system architectures and thousands of variables. Leveraging digital engineering, I help customers get answers that have critical implications for our safety and security.
For instance, in assessing conditions on the ground during a disaster relief effort, how do solar flares, storms, or cloud coverage degrade situational awareness for mission commanders? What if other sensors and resources were involved? Could they help fill the gaps?
Department of Defense leaders, policymakers, and acquisition specialists all need quick-response modeling and answers to their questions “yesterday.” A quick-response modeling task may be an hour-long exploration into a two-times higher bandwidth communications pipe for single-mission performance. A full parametric evaluation for a variety of mission scenarios could take a few hours.
What-if analyses can cover a range of costs, time, and resources depending on problem complexity. A longer-term analysis spans a year but involves agile sprints in getting data to the customer fast for feedback and making adjustments. In the end, we inform decision-makers of complex engineering issues, trade-offs, and solutions, averaging more than 600 tasks a year.
Knowing ‘Why’ Yields Maximum Insights
We don’t simply report the simulation results in each of our analysis packages. Our multidisciplinary team of engineers, mathematicians, scientists and analysts use an automated data analytics process to understand and report the driving factors behind mission performance so customers can make more informed decisions.
For example, if a particular scenario results in 80% mission effectiveness due to factors X, Y, and Z, then we can recommend mitigating them through system or architectural changes to improve mission effectiveness to 95%. It’s not enough to share numbers from the simulations; expert analysis provides insights and determines ways to achieve better mission outcomes.
When you’re building a house, the kind of house you want drives the pieces and tools you need. The same goes for building complex simulations; the kind of analysis a customer requires drives the modeling requirements. From commercial, government, and SAIC-developed modeling and simulation tools, we select the ones that get the depth and breadth of insights needed for a particular task. Beyond helping a customer gain the insights it needs to make a mission-critical decision, we look at the number of tasks we support and the response time per task—ultimately maximizing insights per dollar.
FURTHER READING: SAIC is working as a trusted partner with the DOD at the heart of digital engineering. Learn more through the stories below.
Digital Engineering: Speed and Confidence for DOD
Mission Engineering for a Resilient Space Domain
AFSIM integration into software upgrades mission analyses