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NEWS | May 2, 2023

Carderock's Dr. Mark Parsons Receives ASNE “Jimmie” Hamilton Award

By Todd Hurley, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs

Dr. Mark Parsons, a naval architect and marine engineer in Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s Future Ship and Submarine Design Software Branch, has received the 2022 American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) “Jimmie” Hamilton Award for his paper, “Refinement of a Mission, Power and Energy System (MPES) Architecture Flow Optimization (AFO) Method and Tool for Surface Ship Concept Design,” which was published in the Naval Engineers Journal (NEJ) in September 2022. The award was presented at the joint ASNE Flagship Section – SNAME (Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers) Chesapeake Section meeting at the Maritime Plaza in Washington, D.C., on April 25.

Each year, ASNE celebrates excellence in naval engineering by recognizing individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in one or more facets of the industry. Presented annually since 1967, the Hamilton Award recognizes the best original technical paper published in the NEJ during the award year. The determination for selection is assessed by the professionalism of subject matter, depth of treatment, importance and lasting value, clarity of composition and style and individual effort.

Parsons, the primary author of the paper, received the award alongside Dr. Alan Brown, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Professor of Naval Ship Design at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and Dr. Mustafa Kara, a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Tech in the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, working under Brown. Brown, a retired U.S. Navy captain who has a long history in naval ship design and survivability, was the recipient of the 2021 ASNE Harold E. Saunders Award for Lifetime Achievement. At the time of writing the paper, Parsons and Kara were doctoral students working under Brown. The research surrounding this paper took four years and was conducted entirely at Virginia Tech, and was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research’s Naval Engineering Program.

“The origin of this research came from past work at Virginia Tech,” Parsons said. “We expanded past survivability research to consider distributed systems and network-based methods for modeling systems. We then wanted to size those distributed systems using a physics-based method because historical ways of modeling systems in concept-stage ship design is parametric-based, which is not valid for new system architectures like integrated power systems. We showed with this method that you can rapidly conduct simplified physics-based analysis in concept-stage design — this is something that no one had done before.”

This research led to the paper, which Parsons worked on for a year prior to publishing. The paper goes into detail about AFO, which is a system energy flow optimization method that uses a network-based definition of MPES architecture to reduce system vulnerability, improve reliability and aid in vital component sizing in early-stage ship design. MPES are fundamental to the design, mission and operation of surface ships, and MPES design and architecture are critical to determining all aspects of a surface ship’s effectiveness, survivability and cost.

“This paper describes a method for concept-stage ship and distributed system sizing, design and analysis,” Parsons said. “Distributed systems being mechanical, electrical, thermal and combat systems of a ship. This method can size the individual components of the distributed systems. It also takes into account the power flow and cooling required to support those systems, as well as some vulnerability and survivability considerations in concept-stage design.”

The next steps for this research have already been completed and are in various stages of publication.

“This paper focused on a steady state view of this system, such as a ship transiting at sustained speed or endurance speed,” Parsons said. “The next steps were to look at this in a dynamic, mission-based, operational situation — to look at it in a time domain and how the systems’ alignments changes in response to different operational capabilities requested during a mission. That research has already been completed, and some of it will be published in the NEJ in the near future. Other follow on papers have been published at ASNE conferences and are currently in review by the NEJ.”

Recently, Parsons and his branch brought in-house a new software known as Smart Ship System Design (S3D), which is a product they are utilizing to implement network-based methods for distributed system design, for which Parsons is the product lead.

“We are currently transitioning this foundational research and network-based approach for modeling ship distributed systems to the Navy’s current early-stage ship design tools that are developed by Carderock’s Future Ship and Submarine Design Software Branch,” Parsons said. “This was not research for sake of research. It is actually being transitioned to the Navy.”