The Barrel Allocator is the resource management component of the Consolidated Air Mobility Planning System CAMPS. It is an advanced mixed-initiative scheduling tool developed for day-to-day allocation and management of airlift and tanker resources at the USAF Air Mobility Command (AMC). Efficient allocation of aircraft and crews to transportation missions is an important priority at AMC where airlift demand must increasingly be met with less capacity and at lower cost.The Barrel Allocator utilizes an incremental and configurable constraint-based search framework to provide a range of automated and semi-automated scheduling capabilities, including generating an initial solution to the fleet assignment problem, selective re-optimization of resource allocations to incorporate new higher priority missions while minimizing solution change, merging of previously planned missions to reduce non-productive flying time, and generation and synchronization of tanker missions to satisfy air refueling requirements. It has been designed and implemented using the OZONE scheduling framework, a software environment and methodology for building planning and scheduling systems. The scheduling engine of the Barrel Allocator is implemented in Allegro Common Lisp 5.01. The user interface is in Java 1.2. The current version runs on both Sun Solaris and Windows NT platforms. The core mission scheduling procedure is quite efficient -- a 2 week interval of missions extracted from the current Corporate data base (approximately 1000 missions, 5000 flights) is scheduled from scratch in less than 20 seconds on a Pentium II 400Mhz. Incremental planning and scheduling actions are executed in real-time.
With support from Logicon Corporation, the principal developer of AMC's Consolidated Air Mobility Planning System (CAMPS), the NT version of the Barrel Allocator has been integrated to communicate transparently with other CAMPS components and to support AMC's overall business process. Connections to the AMC Corporate Data Base and to other CAMPS tools are accomplished through a COM interface. The Barrel Allocator component is implemented as a COM server that can be called from any client in CAMPS. It also makes use of several COM servers available in CAMPS. From the CAMPS main panel, the Barrel Allocator COM server can be started by clicking on the Allocator icon.