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How Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory uses JMP 11

Launched more than 20 years ago, the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology was created to fill the gap between education and industry, with the goal of fully preparing graduates to meet the needs of employers from day one.

Is the mission succeeding? I recently caught up with ASDL Research Engineer John Salmon to talk about the philosophy of ASDL and what’s new, including the lab’s use of MATLAB integration in JMP 11.

Fast facts on ASDL:

  • More than 250 graduate researchers and research engineers in 2013
  • Annual funding: ~$15 million
  • Funding since inception: ~$150 million
  • What do you like most about the vision of ASDL?

    The thing I value most is the commitment we’ve made to preparing engineers for working after graduation. We bring in industry partners like Boeing and Lockheed Martin and have the opportunity to work with them in kind of an advisor capacity. They bring their problems to us, and our students are able to work on them, so they have a feel for what will take place when they move out into their career path. ASDL provides an environment that allows people to experiment, fail, try again, innovate and ultimately succeed. Students are allowed to explore new ideas, go through all the literature and then investigate and experiment with these ideas that are very new. This prepares them for real-life engineering where creativity is needed, as opposed to  “engineering inside a bubble” that academic institutions sometimes seem to provide.

    Director Dimitri Mavris has said that “students come in as propulsion or fluid specialists and leave as more valuable systems integration specialists.” Can you talk about the training you do across disciplines?

    Our position is that there needs to be someone thinking about these problems presented from our industry partners at a very high level across all disciplines:  finance, performance, structures, aerodynamics, etc. Students are taught to be experts in a variety of different fields instead of a “super expert” in one field. For example, only a small portion of rocket scientists focus on just the rocket. We must look at the other things related to the rocket and trajectory, such as radars, intercommunications and the complexities of all the systems working together. This type of facilitation and training provides students with unique opportunities to learn the value of collaboration.

    What are some of your favorite features in JMP, and what are you most excited to use in JMP 11?

    One of my favorite new features in JMP 11 is the MATLAB interface. We often use MATLAB for model simulation since some models we receive from industry partners do not convert to JMP Scripting Language. In these cases, we use JMP for visualization, design of experiments and analysis. The real benefit of this new interface will be the ability to perform real-time analysis in presentations, so we don’t have to flip back and forth between two different types of software. There has been a movement in the past several years to develop interactive and dynamic dashboards for design review meetings. During the course of our sponsor meetings, additional information is revealed that we haven’t thought about, so parameters and assumptions need to be adjusted. Using the new interface, we can change the model during meetings, and it will reflect real time in the analysis.

    Other things I am excited about are new ways to introduce multithreading and perform analyses more quickly; enhanced visualization through Graph Builder and generalized regression; and script editor improvements to cut down on debugging time.

    Thanks to John Salmon for taking time to answer our questions. For more about the new JMP interface to MATLAB, JMP is offering a complimentary info kit that includes a white paper co-authored by Dr. Salmon.


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