RulesFest 2011 – Ronald Bowers: Rule-Based Automatic Management of a Distributed Simulation Environment

on October 26, 2011
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And now moving on to another military user of Drools…

Ronald works for the SLAD group. His task is to provide support for managing ballistic threats. He uses a combination of experimentation and modeling, currently embodied in the MUVES effort.

MUVES has been around for a number of years in a C-based single threaded incarnation. Ronald is involved in the implementation of a new generation of the product, based mostly in Java and designed to handle larger sets of concurrent users. Furthermore, with MUVES 3, the users will be able to operate in both batch and interactive modes.

MUVES 3 also needs to adapt to the modern IT eco-systems – more workstations, less servers, heterogeneous deployment environments. It adopts a service oriented approach leveraging an architecture that combines:

  • Rio [monitoring and management, dynamic container, QoS]
  • Kahona [includes all the non-sensitive services used by Muves3 – Task execution services, input and result persistence, geometry interrogation]. Kahona is open source and available through

The system ends up being relatively complex, and challenging to manage and evolve. Ronald uses rules to actually control the simulation environment and drastically reduce this management challenge. The system:

  • collects telemetry
  • applies rules
  • which issues management commands to the services

The key technologies involved in this part of the architecture were:

  • Drools Fusion
  • Rio (already mentioned earlier)
A key issue Muves has to address is the storage of input and output. The output consists of extended graphs, up to millions of nodes, hence requiring distributed caches.

Some issues highlighted by Ronald:

  • designing rules is hard
  • we do not know what the rules should be
  • do not know what sensor or telemetry needs are
  • do not know what actions need to be
  • etc

which is essentially the issue of managing the acquisition of knowledge…

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