Riverside Research’s Intelligent Digital Engineering Architecture (IDEA) Project Solves Integrated Mission Planning and Systems Engineering Challenges

Sep 11, 2023

Research and development (R&D) testing is an extremely cost and resource-intensive process. Always looking for ways to save time and money to streamline processes that benefit national security and the taxpayer, the Department of Defense (DoD) is eager to create a faster, less expensive, more comprehensive R&D process.

Riverside Research’s Intelligent Digital Engineering Architecture (IDEA) Project Solves Integrated Mission Planning and Systems Engineering Challenges -

Additionally, manual iterations and outdated toolsets require high-level, specialized experts to adequately and accurately manage the modeling and simulation tools required. Analysts rely on these tools and experts to run simulations and provide mission recommendations based on as much available information as possible while handling the challenging task of sorting through a diverse, voluminous data set.

Riverside Research has addressed these challenges by developing a software-based solution called Intelligent Digital Engineering Architecture (IDEA). With IDEA, Riverside Research has made this process more accurate and comprehensive, less expensive, and able to be executed by staff members at all levels of experience thanks to the ease of the software.

IDEA with AFSIM: A Benefit to Riverside Research’s Government Customers

Riverside Research uses AFSIM, a versatile, mission-level modeling and simulation tool, used to solve critical infrastructure problems by evaluating DoD assets in customizable scenarios.

Riverside Research’s AFSIM incorporates directly into their Intelligent Digital Engineering Architecture (IDEA), an overall infrastructure for more efficiently managing mission crucial operational testing.

For government customers who choose to implement IDEA and AFSIM, the benefits include a reduction in engineering risk by offsetting costly manufacturing and field testing with a physics-level and mission-level digital twin.

IDEA leverages the digital models to determine implementation solutions that maximize mission effectiveness in much less time compared to conventional analysis. This is made possible through IDEA’s artificial intelligence backend. AFSIM serves as a flexible development platform for IDEA to programmatically configure and initialize mission-level scenarios. Consequently, IDEA can quickly explore next-generation concepts and strategies, system optimizations, and algorithm comparisons.

IDEA and AFSIM can be used to implement DoD assets such as aircraft and sensors into a collection of optimal strategies, providing rich information to mission analysts and engineers alike.

Most importantly, IDEA solves a current problem: The amount of time and money it currently takes for taking next-generation assets into the field. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) component helps to create more solutions in less time by learning how to focus simulations on solutions that have the greatest likelihood of maximizing mission effectiveness. In the future, Riverside Research hopes to customize a dashboard view of configuration and analysis options for the government customer.

IDEA + AFSIM + AI = Mission Success

The systems engineer receives a representation of a sensor or platform in a virtual environment using AFSIM, while IDEA ties the sensor or platform to a wider array of mission planning possibilities. The brilliance of IDEA is that its user can adapt it to a variety of specific circumstances. From a Riverside Research perspective, IDEA and AFSIM are customizable to a variety of government customers, as well.

IDEA is a framework that can compare strategies and platform performance in a design tool that accelerates productivity. Typically, analysts and engineers must manually iterate, but in IDEA, the AI handles that part for the user and can significantly reduce the amount of necessary rework. This level of optimization allows analysts the time to harvest and analyze a wider variety of information for mission visibility. In this way, IDEA enables more informed advisement and decision-making on a per-mission basis.

“The AI functionality incorporated into IDEA doesn’t make decisions for the user,” explained David Brendel, Software Developer at Riverside Research. “It functions as an informative second opinion, providing the system engineer or analyst with more information to make critical mission decisions.”

At the current internal research and development (IRAD) development level, IDEA with AFSIM and AI components can be adapted to create a customizable workflow for practically any customer need. It is versatile, and it is scalable.

This long-term, dynamic investment is inspired by Google’s Deep Mind AlphaStar Program. Like many analysis tools assisted by AI, IDEA’s AI is informed by providing the AI with parameters as a programmer would in a gaming environment. This methodology creates the “game” with rules, providing AI the ability to learn rules within the context of ethically imperative human-created guardrails. This allows AI to provide information, but not enough leeway to make decisions. Instead, it provides a commander’s-eye-view to an analyst, thanks to reinforcement learning.

Riverside Research has developed a tool at the ultimate intersection of R&D and AI. If you’re interested in exploring a career in this area, view listed careers at Riverside Research. If you’d like to discuss the future of AI/ML and how it can safeguard the warfighter and enhance the accuracy of existing technology, reach out to Riverside Research AI/ML experts.