Project Details

Designing and developing the Cloud-based Modeling and Simulation as a Service (C-MASS) to support mission-oriented simulations, analyses, models, and demonstrations.

Client: Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate
Time Span: 2010 - 2015
Location: Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico


RESPEC was contracted by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate (RVE) for a project called Cloud-based Modeling and Simulation as a Service (C-MASS). The project required providing a thorough business and technical assessment, requirements definition, technical architecture, and design and development for a private cloud-computing environment for simulation and modeling. During the assessment and architecture planning phase of the project, RESPEC staff met with key laboratory stakeholders to understand and document the system flows and processes and the issues surrounding the current environment. More than ten prototypes were constructed and tested to fully demonstrate the viability of the technical solution.

C-MASS was designed to be a relatively inexpensive, replicable architecture to allow rapid expansion, distribution, and (if needed) mobile implementation. C-MASS consists of two identical racks that contain 384 physical nodes and 16 NVIDIA Tesla graphics processing units (GPUs). The cloud is implemented using Ubuntu (currently Version 11.04) running OpenStack (currently Cactus). C-MASS is implemented in a Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Zone D enclave and is designed to allow expansion to a DISA Zone C enclave. C-MASS is designed to support integration with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) simulation and modeling software (e.g., MathWorks, MATLAB, and Simulink products and the Analytical Graphics Satellite Tool Kit) that run in nonparallel, parallel, and GPU-accelerated implementations. C-MASS will also support custom-developed simulation and modeling codes, including those implemented in legacy languages such as FORTRAN, in nonparallel, parallel, and GPU-accelerated implementations where applicable. C-MASS provides software as a service (SAAS), infrastructure as a service (IAAS), and platform as a service (PAAS) functions for the AFRL/RVE. Throughout its operations, C-MASS was kept up to date with the most recent releases and patches of Ubuntu and OpenStack as well as the resident simulation and modeling systems.

The AFRL/RVE mission includes research, development, and support for mission planning, launch, and operations of space vehicles, including modeling, simulation, and analyses in direct support of planned and active space missions. As a result, the C-MASS requirements and architecture included integrating with AFRL/RVE’s other vendors (i.e., Tau Technologies and Advatech Pacific) to provide specific software capabilities (e.g., image processing and cost modeling) using parallel and GPU-accelerated code capabilities. The AFRL/RVE mission also requires that C-MASS supports the integration with external systems and simulation hardware (e.g., systems built by aerospace corporations) for end-to-end simulation runs. In this capacity, C-MASS is intended to support the mission-oriented simulations, analyses, models, and demonstrations.