Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Research and Course Development – Verification, Validation, and Accreditation (VV&A) and Monte Carlo Simulation
Human Capital Development
Dr. Mikel Petty
Modeling and simulation are becoming increasingly important in systems engineering. Given the complexity of today’s complex weapon systems, engineers often work with abstract representations of the these systems in order to conduct tradeoff analyses and make decisions regarding system functionality, design, integration and tests. Modeling and simulation offers significant cost savings in two cases - (1) in the case where a test of the real system is very expensive, such as a missile intercept, and (2) in the case where a test must be repeated often. The use of modeling and simulation to lower testing costs supports the Better Buying Power initiative, since the missile intercept tests are very expensive.
Verification and validation are essential prerequisites to the credible and reliable use of a model. Accreditation involves understanding and accepting the risks of using the model to make decisions. A significant degree of engineering judgement is needed to effectively use verification, validation and accreditation (VV&A) methods for development and testing of complex systems.
Monte Carlo simulation uses randomness, applied in a controlled manner, to explore the range and likelihoods of possible outcomes inherent in a scenario or system. There are two related types of Monte Carlo simulation that differ essentially in how the randomness is introduced into the simulation. In the first type, stochastically (randomly) varying initial conditions are input to a deterministic model, leading to stochastically varying resultsgle day tutorials and multi-day short courses. Selected examples from that content are provided later in this white paper. UAH researchers and faculty were also the authors of the questions used in the current version of the Certified Modeling and Simulation Professional Certification Examination.