30 Apr 02. ILOG® (NASDAQ: ILOG; Euronext SICOVAM: 006673), a supplier of software components, and Federated Software Group, a U.S. systems integrator, announced the deployment of a new airlift scheduling system that will help the U.S. DoD optimise airlift operations to better leverage assets and existing personnel. Built around ILOG optimisation components and replacing a manual scheduling process, the new system allows the DoD to increase airlift requests, while freeing personnel to respond to specific real-world scheduling challenges that characterise current U.S. military operations.
ILOG Solver™ and ILOG Dispatcher™ are at the heart of the new Scheduler Decision Support System (SDSS), built by Federated. A 35-member scheduling team at the DoD’s Joint Operational Support Airlift Center (JOSAC) will use the system to transport critical cargo and high-priority personnel. Approximately 150 personnel and cargo airlift requests per day will be supported by about 70 aircraft. Federated expects the system to handle airlift requests for approximately four million pounds of cargo and more than 300,000 people annually.
Dr Douglas Nelson, a principle engineer at Federated Software Group, said:
“It was virtually impossible to meet all of the Military’s requests with themanual approach, so JOSAC did the best they could based on a priority request system.
“The new system enables DoD to handle more requests, as well as empowering the schedulers to be more responsive to high-priority requests and exceptions that occur from minute to minute that typically include weather, equipment failure and the altered schedules of senior military and government personnel.”
The new automated system takes all requests and produces an optimised flight schedule, as well as assigning aircraft and their associated crews. The optimisation produced is significant and achieved by taking a larger number of variables into consideration than previously possible. Now the DoD will include constraints, such as aircraft capacity, speed, range, airfield suitability for a particular aircraft type, crew availability and flying rules. Another significant constraint managed by the system is the configuration of various aircraft, which may have several “rigs”, that allow it to be re-configured for carrying personnel, cargo, or a combination of the two.
SDSS uses ILOG Solver, ILOG’s constraint programming-based optimisation solving engine, and ILOG Dispatcher. Both work in combination to address transportation planning and scheduling challenges. The core constraint programming technology means fast solve times. In addition, applications built with ILOG CP-based optimisation components can solve a broader range of problems, even those with parameters that change in real time.
Dr Nelson added: “We selected ILOG products because they are operationally tested by other real-world users, they are well supported, and because ILOG is the recognized leader in the field of optimisation. Another plus is that ILOG products are component-based, meaning they can be integrated into our software architecture and environment rather than making the environment fit the engine.”