The AMC Barrel Allocator Demonstration

Automatically Assigning Airlift

During the loading of missions from the database, all the commands from the top-level panel will be inactive. The status-bar will show what is going on. The Allocator will first load the set of resources defined in the selection criteria and then load all the missions in the specified date range that require the wings and aircraft type specified in the criteria.

The Allocator assigns resource at the aggregate wing level. The resource availability data loaded from the corporate database tells the system how many aircraft are available in a particular wing. Each wing has its total number of possessed aircraft. Since one aircraft cannot fly more than one mission simultaneously, this number represents the maximum number of missions a wing can fly at a certain point in time. However, not all the aircraft can be allocated by the Barrel to AMC missions. The wing will keep certain resources on reserve for local missions, maintenance, or training. The wing publishes the number of aircraft it will make available to the Barrel. This number, usually smaller than the total number of possessed aircraft, is the contract level of the wing for a given time period. The remaining aircraft are not available to the Barrel and we refer to them as fenced. Under special circumstances, the Barrel can go over contract levels and use fenced capacity.

The database has missions that have already been seen by the Barrel and new missions that still need to be allocated. During the loading of missions, the Allocator will try to allocate all the previously assigned missions in the database using the current resource availability. If some missions cannot be allocated, they will be marked as UNASSIGNABLE. New missions, that is, missions that have not been seen by the Barrel, will be marked as UNASSIGNED. One of the basic capabilities of the Barrel Allocator is the non-disruptive, automatic assignment of resources to missions. When the loading of missions finishes, just use the command Assign Airlift from the Allocate top-level menu to automatically assign the missions to available resources. Each planned mission specifies an aircraft type, a preferred wing, and the time interval it should fly. The Allocator, in automatic mode, will try to assign the required aircraft type, flying from the preferred wing, in the specified interval. It will not use more capacity than it is available nor it will violate the requirements.

The Allocator will try to assign the required airplane type and the planned wing to the mission. If there is no capacity available, the mission will be marked UNASSIGNABLE.

Since usually there are more than one wing for a given aircraft type, the Barrel would eventually consider using an aircraft from a different wing than the one specified by the planner. To make the Allocator consider alternative wings during automatic allocation, (1) open the Mission Window, (2) from the Options menu use the Allocation Preferences command to open the preferences window, and (3) select the set of wings to be used by setting the value of the field Resource Sets.

Inspecting Resource Utilization and Missions

The Barrel Allocator provides two main visualization tools to the Barrel. One is the Resource Capacity Window or graphical commitment matrix, and the Mission Window. These views allow the user to inspect resource utilization over time, to and to manipuate missions and allocation options in different ways.

To create any of these views, from the Views menu on the top-level panel, use the Missions command to create a mission oriented view or the Resources cascading menu to create different types of resource views. These resource views are the graphical representation of the commitment matrix. The Resource Inspector provides a hierarchical view of the available resources and allows the creation of resource views grouping different types of resources. These groupings are particularly useful when considering alternative resource allocations. Bookmarks can also be created for frequently used grupings.

Select more than one resource by shift clicking on its name and create the resource view using the menu command View | Capacity Profile

Next (Resource Capacity Window)

Mission Window

(Previous) Loading Resources and Missions

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Marcel Becker,
Last modified: Wed Nov 3 17:53:03 EST 1999