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Model Process Control Language (MPC)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The MPC (Model Process Control) language enables the capture, communication and preservation of a simulation instance, with sufficient detail that it can be analyzed, augmented, aggregated, replayed  and preserved without the need for the initial simulation tool or resources (infrastructure, team, tools).  MPC was initially focused on 4-D (visual across time) simulations, and this is where the majority of the work has occurred.  However additional domains can be supported.  In the 4-D case, MPC is focused on description of state and meta information associated with each of the items and elements in a simulation.  With these elements preserved, an appropriate tool can replay the simulation well past end of life for the associated simulator.  This is critical when system and mission lifecycles are measured in decades and generations.  An additional benefit is that the MPC representation of a simulation does not need to contain critical software codes, models or intellectual property; allowing it to be easily shared with partners (domestic or international).  

MPC grew from the Constellation System Engineering and Integration (SE&I) Modeling and Simulation Teams (MaST).  It was created to capture simulation data in a manner more quantitative than recorded video and a more portable than an "in tool" recording (requiring use of the tool to view the data).  It allows simulation information to be preserved outside the simulation tools and re-used by other tools.  

MPC data is also extensible.  In the most basic case, the simulator provides time and location information.  Average velocity can then be calculated from 2 time stamped, location entries; and acceleration is available from 2 velocity entries.  This new information can then be written back into the MPC file for use and re-use by others.

MPC itself is extensible.  Constellation held annual Confabs to partner extensions.  MPC 1 consisted of a comma-delimited text file, with each line consisting of a single state definition for a single entity.  Version 2 added XML encoding with additional data elements and removed the requirement to update every element every time cycle.  MPC Version 3, the current version, added Parent Child Relationships,  a separate configuration file to accompany the dynamic data file and standardized some of the freeform metadata into structured information.  Recent additions include support for thruster and joint data types.

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