Press Release

First U.S. application of new simulation standard by NASA and Johns Hopkins

By SpaceRef Editor
January 13, 2003
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Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., have announced the first successful application in the United States of a new commercial standard for developing and exercising interacting federations of simulations.

The new standard — IEEE 1516 — represents the commercialization of a technology known as the High Level Architecture (HLA) that was developed by the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office (DMSO) for use in a wide range of military simulation systems. The HLA defines a common framework for organizing independent, distributed simulations into a larger, single simulation known as a federation. The IEEE 1516 specification extends and enhances this framework.

“IEEE 1516 is a significant advance that will make it easier for simulation teams everywhere to develop and execute federations — that is, combinations — of simulations,” says APL’s Bob Lutz, who played a principal role in developing the new standard. “They’ll be able to get results more quickly and with fewer errors during development.”

The work is supported by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, a 12-member consortium sponsored by NASA to study and develop countermeasures for biomedical problems encountered during lengthy space flight. Johns Hopkins University is a charter member of NSBRI and is represented by researchers from the School of Medicine and APL.

In the application, IEEE 1516 tools were used to augment a cardiovascular system simulation developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a more detailed model of both the left and right ventricles developed at APL.

“With these previously independent simulations working synergistically we were able to analyze the effect of various electrical cardiac arrhythmias — specifically a ventricular tachycardia — on various cardiovascular system performance measures such as blood pressure and heart rate,” says APL’s Sean Murphy, who implemented the federation for this application.

Formulation and implementation of the federation in conformance with IEEE 1516 standards was made possible by a license agreement with Pitch Kunskapsutveckling AB of Sweden, who developed the first set of IEEE 1516 simulation tools available in the commercial marketplace.

APL has been a leader in the development and application of interoperable simulation technology since the announcement of the first DoD version of the HLA in 1996. “This first application of the IEEE 1516 standard in the U.S. is a real milestone; it helps to validate DMSO’s long-standing plan to transition HLA technology to self-sufficiency in the commercial marketplace,” says Lutz.

APL plans to expand the federation during the next year under NSBRI sponsorship by adding several other physiological simulations.

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.