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Wed, Jan 14, 2009

Aero-TV -- Real-Time Complex Computation: Heli Ops in Microsoft ESP

Amazing Technologies Produce Extraordinary Simulation Capabilities

To many, the complex mathematical issues involved in modeling intricate aircraft operations may not be all that interesting... kinda like watching paint dry, to some. That is, until you understand what is involved here. Some of the most difficult tasks to perform require the most difficult computations to simulate... and the minute that you can perform such complex modeling, the potential to train to an even more rigorous standard becomes possible... and then we all win.

So... at the 2008 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) last month, Aero-TV stood up and PAID ATTENTION when we saw something done right there on the convention floor that was intensely difficult to do... the complex modeling of a Bell 206, following a moving ship on a waterway, and the landing of the Bell on that ship. Think of all that this action implies -- the modeling of the helo, the boat, and the conditions around and caused by the interaction of the helo with the in-motion ship.

(I try to think of that and then remember how I struggled through Pre-Calc... and get a headache. -- Jim Campbell-E-I-C)

The area that we watching this miracle performed sat under a big Microsoft sign... where Microsoft's ESP technology (and the upcoming ESP 2) were on display, and demonstrating advanced capabilities for a critical audience.

In the case of ESP 2, it was the first time new capabilities of the next version of the Microsoft ESP visual simulation software development platform were to be seen, publicly. Microsoft notes that ... "since the debut of Microsoft ESP earlier this year, significant progress has been made working with partners and the academic research community to bring the power of immersive simulation to the desktops of defense and civilian agencies for mission rehearsal, interactive training and decision support. Growing interest in Microsoft ESP can be attributed to the cost advantages and productivity gains realized from creating mission-critical visual simulation solutions on a common software development platform that supports Windows-based commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software."

Among the sim demonstrations at I/ITSEC 2008 (using Microsoft's ESP), we observed... 

  • A Northrop Grumman simulator demonstrating virtual landing of an F-18 Hornet on the CVN-21 “carrier of the future” incorporating Microsoft ESP, Virtual Earth and Microsoft Surface with Northrop Grumman’s Command and Control Mission Rehearsal (C2MR)
  • A helicopter flight simulator revealing Microsoft ESP’s version 2.0 multi-channel display capabilities across three large screens
  • The F-16 cockpit trainer from Flight-Dynamix demonstrating the integration of Microsoft ESP version 1.0 into an existing custom hardware simulation solution
  • And THE kicker -- A demonstration produced by the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, made using Microsoft ESP and Windows HPC Server 2008, showing a helicopter landing on a moving ship. A white paper, “Real-Time Computational Fluid Dynamics for Flight Simulation,” describing the process used by the scientists has been published by the I/ITSEC conference.

“It is important to be able to apply a variety of techniques in order to accurately solve challenging problems such as a helicopter interacting with a ship air wake,” said Dr. Kenji Takeda, senior lecturer in the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Southampton. “Improvements in price/performance of technologies such as Microsoft ESP and Windows HPC Server 2008 are helping to make such breakthroughs possible.”

Breakthroughs, indeed... we were impressed... and if we understood more of the complex math and modeling necessary to accomplish such a task, we have little doubt that we'd be even more so. Well done, folks.

Enjoy The Complex Aero-Modeling Seen At I/ITSEC 2008 Using Microsoft ESP, with Aero-TV!



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