LAUREL, Md. Independent computer simulations running hundreds of miles apart have been harnessed to create a single, interacting supersimulation of the right and left ventricles of an astronaut's heart. The simulation tied together work done in separate labs, and represented the first successful U.S. application of an IEEE standard for organizing independent, distributed simulations into a larger, single simulation, called a federation.
The demonstration of the IEEE 1516 High-Level Architecture was run by Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory here.
"IEEE 1516 makes it easier to develop and execute federations that is, combinations of simulations that use many computers simultaneously," said Bob Lutz, the applied-physics lab researcher who played a leading role in developing the standard. "Simulation teams everywhere will now be able to get results more quickly and with fewer errors."
Sponsored by NASA
IEEE's high-level architecture was developed by the Pentagon's Defense Modeling and Simulation Office in 1996 to run large-scale military simulations. The architecture permits independent, distributed computer systems to share the burden of executing a large, single simulation, or a "federation." IEEE 1516, a commercialization of the high-level architecture, extends the environment for civilian use.
NASA sponsored the development of the IEEE 1516 application by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, a 12-member consortium that develops solutions to biomedical problems experienced by astronauts on extended space flights. Johns Hopkins is a charter member of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.
The first application of IEEE 1516 was developed at the applied-physics lab to link computers at Johns Hopkins with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Mass.) for the simultaneous simulation of both the left and right ventricles of the cardiovascular system.
"Previously these simulations were independent, but now they work synergistically, enabling us to analyze the effect of various electrical cardiac arrhythmias on various cardiovascular system performance measures such as blood pressure and heart rate," said Sean Murphy, the applied-physics lab researcher who implemented the federation for this application.
The application was developed with tools licensed from Pitch Kunskapsutveckling AB of Sweden, which had the first set of commercial tools for creating IEEE 1516 federations. The lab plans next to expand the scope of its federation by adding several other simultaneous physiological simulations, with the eventual goal of simulating an astronaut's entire body.