Conquering Uncertainty: A Vision for HPC to Maximise the Value of Combat Simulation

Mr Denis Shine1

1Defence Science And Technology Group, Edinburgh, Australia


Land Capability Analysis (LCA) in the Defence Science and Technology Group of the Australian Department of Defence uses closed-loop combat simulation extensively to support Army modernisation decision making. These simulations will assess many options over hundreds of replications, requiring distributed computing systems capable of executing them in parallel. Simulation of combat is naturally an area of great uncertainty. Availability of empirical data is sparse. Entities (soldiers and military platforms) require behaviours and tactics, where there is often no “right” answer, merely a number of “good” answers. Finally combat, both real and simulated, is highly uncertain, with results often impacted heavily by rare but important events.

Presently, LCA maintains a small computing cluster to execute these simulations, but in the near future DST Group is acquiring a High Performance Computing (HPC) capability which will greatly enhance the available computing power. Leveraging HPC represents an opportunity to address many of these problems, both through evolutionary approaches such as exploring more options and conducting wider sensitivity studies, but also by applying more revolutionary techniques, such as “smart” meta-models that explore vast, highly dimensional data spaces, to algorithms which evolve soldier behaviour based on simulated results.

This presentation will articulate a vision for how LCA can use a combination of modern computing infrastructure and modern analytical techniques to address these challenges and ensure it can continue to use simulation as a keystone analytical capability.


Mr Denis Shine is a researcher working for the Defence Science and Technology Group. He specialises in the application of Land Combat Simulation to support Army decision making.


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