The New ESAL Boeing Contract

The Engineering Simulation and Animation Laboratory (ESAL) at Cogswell was founded in 2004 by Dr. el-Hadi M. Aggoune for the visualization of complicated engineering systems. The Lab with locations in Sunnyvale, CA and Kirkland, WA does contract work for the Boeing Company. In addition to the lab employees, Cogswell students are hired to work on the projects as well. Dr. Aggoune is the Director of Cogswell’s Engineering programs.

This year’s contract calls for the team to continue its tradition of developing Real-Time Virtual Environments and Concept of Operation Scenarios. The current scenario focuses on illustrating forest fire detection and monitoring using unmanned aerial vehicles. This proprietary work will use the recent wildfires in Australia as a model for the simulation.

Following is a Q & A about the project.

Q: What skill sets will lab employees use to complete this project?
A: The artists should have a comprehensive background in modeling, texturing, rigging and animation for a game engine.

Q: What tools will employees use to complete the simulation?
A: ESAL has tremendous resources in terms of personnel, software, hardware and facility. Artists and programmers will be using Torque 3D, Maya and a proprietary simulation engine. They will also use Perforce for version control, Mentis for bug tracking and Twiki to post their work and progress reports. The programmer for this project will be required to write tools.

Q: Do you see any particular challenges in delivering this scenario?
A: The project has already been approved and delivery is set. The team is very aware of the deadlines, tries to anticipate any challenges and give themselves enough time to find solutions. As in the case of any project the ESAL undertakes, delivery of a product that satisfies the customer needs, on time and on budget are guaranteed. The project has many phases including research, event list development, pre-visulaization and implementation. The research phase is already done, the event list is being done and implementation starts on January.

Q: Outline the basic steps you take to ensure that the project is completed on time and to Boeing’s specifications.
A: The work is controlled internally by the lab and externally by the customer. Work is submitted to the customer on a biweekly basis; the customer tests and evaluates the work and produces a ticket list for all changes, modifications and extensions; the lab then takes the ticket list and resolves all issues raised. The work is not complete until all the issues in the ticket list are resolved by the lab to the satisfaction of the customer. Meetings with the customer through WebEx also occur on a biweekly bases.

Q: What is the timeframe for completing this project?
A: Our contract is from January to June during which the artists and programmer will be paid a stipend.

Q: How many people will work on the project?
A: Two artists and a programmer will work between 15 and 20 hours per week.

-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

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