Technology for Secure and Robust Distributed Supply Chain Simulation

Principal Investigator:

Co-PI(s): Mr. Gan Boon Ping, Prof Cai Wentong, Mr Nirupam Julka (Gintic), Dr Chen Dan (Gintic), Dr Peter Lendermann (Gintic), Ms Chan Lai Peng (Gintic)

Starting Date: 2001-08

Duration: 2 years

Funding Source: Gintic Collaborative Research Project


The High Level Architecture (HLA) has been adopted as an IEEE and OMG standard for interoperability and reuse of simulation components. These components are known as federates and the combined simulation system is called a federation. The HLA has been widely applied in military simulations, but is also suitable for commercial applications such as supply chain simulation. The aim of this NTU/Gintic research project is to realize high fidelity supply chain optimization, by resolving critical research issues in simulation based on the HLA, such as security, reliability, synchronization, simulation cloning and web visualization.Although the HLA standard provides a basic framework for performing distributed simulation, there are several issues that need to be addressed in realizing a distributed supply chain simulation for collaborative planning and optimization. These are:Security � The HLA standard does not provide any form of security mechanism that validates the identity of the participants that join the simulation, and does not allow selective information sharing/hiding to be realized. An hierarchical federations architecture, together with appropriate authentication mechanisms, is being developed to resolve this issue.Reliability - Simulation components running at different locations are liable to failure. How failures are handled and resolved need to be addressed to ensure the reliability and consistency of the simulation.Synchronization - The HLA standard provides time management services for synchronizing simulation time. However, �query� events to check the status of a remote federate at the current simulation time can adversely affect the performance of the simulation. Techniques need to be devised to reduce the impact of this checking. Furthermore, the synchronization of simulation and real system components needs to be addressed.Simulation cloning � Simulation is a technique for performing "what-if" analysis. Traditionally, a set of simulation runs must be executed in order to analyze different scenarios, but this is expensive in a distributed environment. Cloning spawns off a simulation from a decision point to evaluate alternative scenarios concurrently. Techniques for efficient cloning in a distributed environment will be developed. Interactive control and Web visualization - Some means of supporting interactive control of the simulation via a visualization front end is important to improve the productivity and effectiveness of using simulation for "what-if" analysis. This poses some challenging research issues, such as how to ensure a consistent simulation state when a user interrupts and changes parameters of a simulation. A user interface will also be built for easy model building.