Appendix C

Recommendations from the Phase 2 Report

Listed below are all of the findings and recommendations contained in this, the Phase 2 report of the Committee on Advanced Engineering Environments.

Chapter 3: Expected Future

Finding 3-1. Industry, government, and academia can significantly improve their engineering practices by using available AEE technologies.

Finding 3-2. Government agencies (such as NASA) acting alone will not be able to achieve the 15-year visions of the Integrated Manufacturing Technology Roadmapping Initiative or NASA's Intelligent Synthesis Environment (ISE) Initiative. Similarly, actions such as linking the Army's Simulation and Modeling for Acquisition, Requirements, and Training (SMART) Program with the ISE initiative, although a step in the right direction, are unlikely to achieve these visions unless the partnerships are expanded to include other government, industry, and university programs with additional resources.

Recommendation 3-1. Until additional funding is made available to invigorate the recommended national partnership for AEEs, government agencies should make the most efficient use of the limited resources now available for the development of AEE technologies and systems by focusing their efforts on the types of missions and products that can benefit most from AEEs and on functional areas that are lagging behind the rapid advances being made in other areas, such as the speed, size, and cost of computer hardware. Research and development should be focused on the following areas:

  • comprehensive processes for project design and development that integrate the design of mechanical systems with electrical system design and software development

  • general-purpose methods of analyzing cost and determining the effects of risk and uncertainty to reduce the need for project-specific cost and risk analysis tools

  • physics-based analysis of mission-specific phenomena if first-of-a-kind missions are a high priority

Recommendation 3-2. The federal government should carefully assess how the limited resources available for AEE research and development (such as the Intelligent Synthesis Environment Initiative) are allocated between the development of (1) general-purpose research with broad application (to improve engineering processes throughout the United States), and (2) engineering processes of particular relevance to agency missions (including activities by industry and academia). The guidelines in Recommendations 9 through 12 of Advanced Engineering Environments: Achieving the Vision (the Phase 1 report), which call for action by NASA and other federal agencies, remain relevant.1

Chapter 4: Overcoming Barriers

Finding 4-1. Interoperability and composability problems are a major barrier to realizing the AEE vision. The understanding of and technology base for developing interoperable and composable software architectures need to be improved.

Recommendation 4-1. The federal government should support basic research on the interoperability and composability of component software architectures in the context of open Internet computing to increase software reliability and encourage the widespread use of promising solutions. Efforts to resolve interoperability and composability problems should investigate approaches, such as open-source guidelines, for bringing together software designed for diverse

1  

Appendix B of this report lists the recommendations from the Phase 1 report.



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Design in the New Millennium: ADVANCED ENGINEERING ENVIRONMENTS Appendix C Recommendations from the Phase 2 Report Listed below are all of the findings and recommendations contained in this, the Phase 2 report of the Committee on Advanced Engineering Environments. Chapter 3: Expected Future Finding 3-1. Industry, government, and academia can significantly improve their engineering practices by using available AEE technologies. Finding 3-2. Government agencies (such as NASA) acting alone will not be able to achieve the 15-year visions of the Integrated Manufacturing Technology Roadmapping Initiative or NASA's Intelligent Synthesis Environment (ISE) Initiative. Similarly, actions such as linking the Army's Simulation and Modeling for Acquisition, Requirements, and Training (SMART) Program with the ISE initiative, although a step in the right direction, are unlikely to achieve these visions unless the partnerships are expanded to include other government, industry, and university programs with additional resources. Recommendation 3-1. Until additional funding is made available to invigorate the recommended national partnership for AEEs, government agencies should make the most efficient use of the limited resources now available for the development of AEE technologies and systems by focusing their efforts on the types of missions and products that can benefit most from AEEs and on functional areas that are lagging behind the rapid advances being made in other areas, such as the speed, size, and cost of computer hardware. Research and development should be focused on the following areas: comprehensive processes for project design and development that integrate the design of mechanical systems with electrical system design and software development general-purpose methods of analyzing cost and determining the effects of risk and uncertainty to reduce the need for project-specific cost and risk analysis tools physics-based analysis of mission-specific phenomena if first-of-a-kind missions are a high priority Recommendation 3-2. The federal government should carefully assess how the limited resources available for AEE research and development (such as the Intelligent Synthesis Environment Initiative) are allocated between the development of (1) general-purpose research with broad application (to improve engineering processes throughout the United States), and (2) engineering processes of particular relevance to agency missions (including activities by industry and academia). The guidelines in Recommendations 9 through 12 of Advanced Engineering Environments: Achieving the Vision (the Phase 1 report), which call for action by NASA and other federal agencies, remain relevant.1 Chapter 4: Overcoming Barriers Finding 4-1. Interoperability and composability problems are a major barrier to realizing the AEE vision. The understanding of and technology base for developing interoperable and composable software architectures need to be improved. Recommendation 4-1. The federal government should support basic research on the interoperability and composability of component software architectures in the context of open Internet computing to increase software reliability and encourage the widespread use of promising solutions. Efforts to resolve interoperability and composability problems should investigate approaches, such as open-source guidelines, for bringing together software designed for diverse 1   Appendix B of this report lists the recommendations from the Phase 1 report.

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Design in the New Millennium: ADVANCED ENGINEERING ENVIRONMENTS applications (e.g., mechanical, electrical, software, and biomedical systems). Recommendation 4-2. Government, industry, and academia should seek consensus on interoperability standards. Finding 4-2. Engineering tools and systems have been developed on a variety of incompatible operating systems and with a variety of programming languages. This situation is changing as more advanced tools and systems are being developed for Internet deployment. Recommendation 4-3. Research and development by the federal government on the visualization of engineering and scientific data should focus on long-term goals that go beyond those of ongoing research and development by industry. Finding 4-3. Advanced Internet technologies and applications are likely to provide the universal, high-bandwidth, low-latency communications network necessary to meet most communications needs for AEEs. Recommendation 4-4. Research, development, and engineering organizations in government, industry, and academia should ensure that technical staff and students have access to advanced data communications networks as those systems become available. Recommendation 4-5. The government and academia should conduct research to improve understanding of the following topics: the role of physical artifacts in supporting collaborative design processes and how that role can be fulfilled when physical artifacts are replaced by simulations, virtual objects, avatars, and other nonphysical artifacts methods for designing AEE systems that accommodate workers with a variety of work styles and improve the new work environment (e.g., by improving situational awareness for workers transitioning between tasks, teams, and projects) the psychological and temporal dimensions of engineering design work in synchronous, distributed collaborative activities, especially if team members are located in multiple time zones and work for organizations with different cultures and business goals Finding 4-4. Research funding, interdepartmental cooperation, and organizational support for interdisciplinary programs has traditionally been difficult to obtain from the government or academia, largely because funding agencies have usually set narrow limits on the types of projects they are willing to support. Recommendation 4-6. Accrediting organizations, industrial organizations, and professional societies should continue to advocate greater use of AEE technologies and systems in the academic environment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Recommendation 4-7. Universities should appoint AEE champions to provide strong, long-term leadership for implementing AEE technologies and systems; establish the innovative, interdisciplinary educational programs and faculty needed to take full advantage of the capabilities of AEEs; increase the emphasis in undergraduate and graduate education on the scholarship of integration and application; and develop curricula with a stronger foundation in software development, including component software architecture, composability, and interoperability. Recommendation 4-8. Initial and continuing education should include strategies for (1) maintaining scientific and engineering understanding of processes and tasks that will be done automatically by AEE technologies and (2) training people for the transition from conventional working environments and processes to the pace and structure of working as members of multiple, concurrent, rapidly reconfigurable teams. Recommendation 4-9. AEE research and development should consider training and education requirements for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education. The lessons learned from the development of advanced training simulators that incorporate AEE technologies and systems should be used to improve the training and educational capabilities of AEEs focused on other applications, including university education. Finding 4-5. The costs of implementing AEEs may not be justifiable in the short term. However, pioneers in the use of AEE technologies are realizing economic benefits. As AEE technologies become more common and sophisticated, the long-term viability of most commercial design and manufacturing companies and other complex, technical enterprises will increasingly depend on their ability to implement AEE technologies and systems of increasing sophistication. Recommendation 4-10. Because of the technical and social complexities involved in applying AEEs, efforts to implement them should include the following: processes for taking advantage of the lessons learned by AEE pioneers, especially with regard to the reduction of implementation costs, uncertainties, and risks realistic goals for the economic payoffs of implementing AEEs, especially the time needed to realize a positive return on investment

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Design in the New Millennium: ADVANCED ENGINEERING ENVIRONMENTS innovative and determined management that is willing to accept risks; appoint a “champion” with broad, interdisciplinary authority; persevere despite temporary setbacks; and accept uncertainty in assessments of the cost and benefit of implementing AEE technologies Web-based AEE technologies with open architectures and improved interoperability and composability to reduce implementation costs Chapter 5: General Approaches and Roles Finding 5-1. The Phase 2 study reaffirmed the approach described in the Phase 1 report for developing AEE technologies and systems. That approach includes the following key steps: forming a national partnership of government, industry, and academia to take advantage of the current historic opportunity to develop AEEs forming government-industry-academia AEE partnerships by individual agencies, such as NASA, as an interim step for addressing agency-specific goals while a national partnership is being formed overcoming major barriers related to the integration of systems, tools, and data; information management; cultural, economic, and management issues; and education and training2 facilitating the transfer of new capabilities to commercially available products by developing applicationspecific tools required by government through contracts with industry whenever practical focusing the government's AEE research and development on key objectives, such as (1) modeling key physical processes, (2) improving generic AEE methodologies and automated tools, (3) developing testbeds that simulate user environments, (4) developing accurate performance metrics, and (5) other areas where market-based incentives are not motivating adequate industry-sponsored research providing government incentives for (1) industry to adopt AEE technologies in government procurements, (2) academia to adopt AEE technologies in major government-sponsored research programs, and (3) industry and academia to collaborate in modernizing educational curricula to prepare students for an AEE work environment Finding 5-2. Most government, industry, and academic organizations have yet to take advantage of AEE technologies because of technical, cultural, management, and economic problems, some real and others perceived, even though available technologies can tremendously improve products and processes. The advantages of using AEEs cannot be realized with business-as-usual approaches because of the high start-up costs and fundamental technological and cultural changes necessary to implement AEEs. Recommendation 5-1. Federal agencies involved in AEE research and development should be more aggressive in forming a national partnership with industry and academia to develop AEEs that offer seamless, end-to-end engineering design capabilities that encompass the entire life cycles of products and missions. Recommendation 5-2. To deploy AEEs successfully, organizations should identify and resolve organizational issues in addition to improving processes and tools. Each organization should also assign a strong leader or “champion ” supported by the following: a knowledgeable team familiar with lessons learned from similar organizations that have implemented AEE technologies a plan for deploying AEEs that is tailored to the stated objectives and the barriers that must be overcome realization by all levels of the organization that both technical and nontechnical changes are needed in the near term and/or the long term for future success (or, perhaps, survival) long-term commitment by senior executives to the deployment of AEEs despite the costs of setting up new systems and processes and the risks of short-term setbacks willingness of the workforce to accept new methods Finding 5-3. Advanced Internet technologies and applications (including operating systems, software architectures, and hardware) are one of the keys to developing AEEs that (1) overcome critical technical issues, such as those associated with interoperability and information management, and (2) facilitate the use of AEEs by small companies. Recommendation 5-3. The government's AEE research and development programs should focus much more on approaches to AEEs that will be compatible with the Internet of the future and information technologies being developed by other programs, such as Internet-2, Next Generation Internet, very high performance Backbone Network Service, and Information Technology Research Initiative. Finding 5-4. NASA could greatly benefit from increased use of AEEs. However, the conditions necessary for significant, widespread adoption of AEEs do not yet exist in the agency. Recommendation 5-4. Successful implementation of AEEs by NASA will require sustained leadership and commitment, adequate funding, and a cohesive plan that includes all 2   See Chapter 4 and Table B-1.

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Design in the New Millennium: ADVANCED ENGINEERING ENVIRONMENTS NASA centers, as outlined in Recommendations 4, 10, 11, 12, and 13 of the Phase 1 report: NASA should not create a broad-based AEE research program to develop comprehensive AEE systems. Instead, NASA should provide for research and advocacy in areas that AEE research and development sponsored by other organizations do not adequately address, especially areas related to the needs of NASA and the rest of the aerospace industry. NASA should capitalize on industrial advances in AEE technologies. In particular, NASA should investigate how NASA-funded research related to AEEs and the Next Generation Internet can enhance the ability of Internet-related technologies and applications to meet AEE objectives. NASA should form a government-industry-academia partnership for AEEs to help advocate and implement AEEs in the agency and the nation. Recommendation 5-5. The federal government should continue to support educational advances related to AEEs in the following ways: Continue to support the development and implementation of new educational methods through programs such as the National Science Foundation 's engineering education coalitions and engineering research centers. Include academia as a key participant in a national partnership on AEEs and other AEE development activities. Fund long-term, high-risk research on AEEs that industry is unlikely to support, including research on academic applications of AEE technologies and systems. Avoid overly restricting the direction or content of long-term, high-risk AEE research sponsored by the government.