Finding a representative day for simulation analyses
Watson, Jebulan Ryan
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Many models exist in the aerospace industry that attempt to replicate the National Airspace System (NAS). The complexity of the NAS makes it a system that can be modeled in a variety of ways. While some NAS models are very detailed and take many factors into account, runtime of these simulations can be on the magnitude of hours (to simulate a single day). Other models forgo details in order to decrease the runtime of their simulation. Most models are capable of simulating a 24 hour period in the NAS. An analysis of an entire year would mean running the simulation for every day in the year, which would result in a long run time. The following thesis work presents a tool that is capable of giving the user a day that can be used in a simulation and will produce results similar to simulating the entire year. Taking in parameters chosen by the user, the tool outputs a single day, multiple days, or a composite day (based on percentages of days). Statistical methods were then used to compare each day to the overall year. On top of finding a single representative day, the ability to find a composite day was added. After implementing a brute force search technique to find the composite day, the long runtime was deemed inconvenient for the user. To solve this problem, a heuristic search method was created that would search the solution space in a short time and still output a composite day that represented the year. With a short runtime, the user would be able to run the program multiple times. Once the heuristic method was implemented, it was found that it performed well enough to make it an option for the user to choose. The final version of this tool was used to find a representative day and the result was used in comparison with output data from a NAS simulation model. Because the tool found the representative day based on historical data, it could be used to validate the effectiveness of the simulation model. The following thesis will go into detail about how this tool, the Representative Day Finder, was created.