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Navy Scientist Wins Award for War Gaming Simulation Innovation, Available to DoD

By NSWC Dahlgren Division Corporate Communications Division | March 9, 2017

DAHLGREN, Va. – Dr. Mary Ann Cummings won the 2016 Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Scientist of the Year Award for an innovation that prepares warfighters for the unexpected, the Navy announced March 8.

The powerful and patented software – called Orchestrated Simulation through Modeling (OSM) – is now available for free to the Department of Defense. 

“Although this award was given to me, it really belongs to my team,” said Cummings. “I may have been the team lead but it was their knowledge and software skills that made OSM a reality.”

OSM has already simulated myriads of warfare scenarios in exercises over the past year.

“It was my vision to create war games for Fleet operators before a Fleet exercise,” said Cummings. “We can create simulations that show what could happen and take data from an exercise to show how that exercise might play out as a real event.”

Cummings and her Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) team embarked aboard warships – including the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkley (DDG 84) – during exercises to ensure Sailors were prepared for potential outcomes that could play out as real events. 

“What an amazing experience,” said Cummings, recounting her 11-days at sea aboard Reagan with another NSWCDD scientist for the Valiant Shield exercise in September 2016.

Nine surface ships, 180 Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps aircraft, and 18,000 warfighters were engaged in the exercise. In addition to the Reagan strike group, Valiant Shield included an expeditionary strike group, a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, and Air Force aggressor and bomber squadrons.

“We used the OSM framework during the exercise to provide Sailors with a powerful tool for warfare simulations and more realistic at-sea training,” said Cummings.

It’s powerful because Cummings used the Discrete Event System Specification formalism pioneered by Dr. Bernard Zeigler, to create a framework architecture that enabled the evolutionary building of Simple Operating System simulations.

“Her approach enables any organization to develop required software components independently and to plug-in those pieces into an overarching framework so that the various components can receive, share and output needed data and information,” explained the NSWCDD commanding officer’s nomination of Cummings for the NAVSEA Scientist of the Year Award.  

This “plug-in” capability enables highly functional system of systems modeling and simulation. 

“Dr. Cummings and her team have matured a science and technology concept into a powerful, executable modeling and simulation framework that can incorporate many systems into a system of systems,” the nomination stated. “This patented product fosters government software reuse, increases flexibility and interoperability while reducing cost and schedule for Navy programs by providing a highly functional solution to a complicated problem.” 

The Orchestrated Simulation through Modeling work was the basis of Cummings’ research for a doctorate in software engineering she earned from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2015.