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Can DDS Help Solve the Distributed Simulation Integration Challenge?

Training warfighters to the point that their reaction time and skills become muscle memory, reflexive and honed happens through consistent repetition. Effective training requires a system that provides true, high-fidelity simulations with response times closely matched to real-world scenarios. Truest fidelity is found by using the same technology that is used in systems deployed in the real world. After all, you do not get more realistic training than training with actual real-world systems. But what if you are trying to simulate a real-world scenario with several distributed components, each with its own set of disparate technologies?

Historically, most distributed simulations have been homogeneous. Integrators have typically put together simulation exercises where everyone uses the common wire-protocol found in Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) or a particular Run-Time Interface (RTI) for High Level Architecture (HLA). The Simulation would either need to agree on the Protocol Data Units (PDU) for DIS or the RTI and the Federation Object Model for HLA. In those cases where both DIS and different HLA RTI Federations needed to coexist for a simulation, a DIS/HLA Gateway was used. Simulations that involved using different HLA RTI implementations, or needed to have interaction with real-world systems that run over Data Distribution Service (DDS), or needed to use more protocols than just HLA and DIS, have been rare.

That is about to change. Both the Army and the Air Force are now in early procurements for all encompassing systems that will integrate multiple distributed simulations. The Army is currently evaluating first round demonstrations for a new system that will, "...provide a cognitive, collective, multi-echelon training and mission rehearsal capability for the Operational, Institutional and Self-Development training domains. To converge the virtual, constructive and gaming training environments into a single Synthetic Training Environment (STE) for Active and Reserve Components as well as civilians..." Similar to the Army's STE, the Air Force has a new initiative called the Simulator Common Architecture Requirements and Standards (SCARS). SCARS describes a desire for a common open architecture to facilitate rapid development and avoid the pitfalls of being ‘locked’ into the use of proprietary technology. SCARS plans on being able to integrate over 40 different simulators into one common architecture.

As Live, Virtual, Constructive simulation technologies, C4ISR components, and operational combat systems all merge into the same technology base, training and simulation system integrators are now faced with requirements for bridging multiple technologies into one seamless solution. Adding to that already arduous task, these integrators also have enhanced cybersecurity requirements. Figure 1 shows an example architecture of how systems can integrate today using the DDS Layered Databus Architecture Pattern with gateways to gain security.

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Frameworks and Transports: Choosing the Best IIoT Connectivity Solution

Building out a distributed system infrastructure in today’s emerging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) landscape can be a daunting task, to say the least. If you are a developer or system architect, you know that there are many tools and protocols available to use to move data around in your distributed application. Not to mention the possibility of building out your own custom solution directly on TCP or UDP sockets. Wouldn’t it be great if a lot of the work that needed to be done before you could make a decision on your next infrastructure was already done for you?

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HIMSS18: Improving Healthcare is NOT a Technology Problem

"Better health through information and technology"– that is the motto of global healthcare IT organization HIMSS. This week I had the opportunity to attend HIMSS18, the organization’s global conference in Las Vegas. A gathering of over 40,000 healthcare technology professionals in one location, united by one concept, was truly inspiring. The show created a call to action for us as attendees to do our part in solving some of healthcare’s biggest challenges. And make no mistake, there are significant challenges. Each year these challenges are reflected as consistent themes throughout the event, communicated by participating vendors, in presentations, in keynote speeches and in casual conversations.

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Implementing Simple Introspection with Connext DDS in C++14

When I was first introduced to RTI Connext® DDS, it wasn't very long (after seeing the powerful tools) before I wanted to know how difficult it would be to implement domain introspection in its most basic form. Obviously tools, such as the Admin Console, are complex but that doesn’t mean that the basic principle on which they’re based – domain introspection – has to be. So I set about trying my hand at creating the simplest example of domain introspection that would have some demonstrable utility. This blog post covers my journey into this effort.

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Industrie 4.0 and IIC Bury the Hatchet

In 2015, there was a great deal of confusion, competition and even animosity between the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Germany’s Platform Industrie 4.0. At first, some thought the IIC was the USA's response to Germany’s initiative, others felt that the IIC was attempting a land grab, and others zeroed in on the fact that the OMG managed both the IIC and, in its standards area, the DDS standard (the OPC Foundation has come a long way in its understanding of the pros and cons of DDS and OPC-UA since then).

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Profiling Distributed Applications with Perf

I, like many developers, have been in situations where I needed to take an existing application and make it faster–basically by removing slow code and replacing it with fast code. I know now to follow one simple rule when it comes to optimizing code:

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