Agent-based Simulation of Shipboard Manpower & Personnel (M&P) Behaviors
Award last edited on: 8/3/2012

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
DOD : Navy
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Eric Bonabeau

Company Information

Icosystem Corporation

10 Fawcett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
   (617) 520-1000
Location: Single
Congr. District: 05
County: Middlesex

Phase I

Contract Number: N00014-04-M-0167
Start Date: 4/30/2004    Completed: 10/30/2004
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
The number of responsibilities a sailor has on a ship is increasing while the amount of time available to complete those tasks is fixed. Continuous overloading of sailors with watchstanding, operations or maintenance duties can lead to degraded performance of both the battlegroups' mission and ship operations, coupled with increasing sailor burnout leading to a decrease in personnel retention. Understanding the effect mission requirements has on the behavior of a sailor and visa-versa how does the sailor behavior impact the mission is of great importance especially given tighter budgets, longer deployments and possibly lower levels of recruitment. The use of computational models that can integrate traditional Operations Research (OR) approaches to ship operations with the sciences of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) represents a potentially significant contribution to support the process of shipboard manpower and personnel system planning. Modeling shipboard personnel systems faces significant challenges before its true vision can be fulfilled. A ship is a complex adaptive system; the number, diversity and connectivity of the elements means the ability to predict dynamic structural behavior through the detailed analysis of individual elements is low. A holistic, network-oriented view of the ships operations is necessary

Phase II

Contract Number: N00014-05-C-0225
Start Date: 4/13/2005    Completed: 10/20/2006
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
We propose to develop a quantitative computer model of the US Navy’s M&P systems, and to use this model to analyze and design M&P policies. The proposed model extends our Phase I effort, and is based on agent-based modeling techniques. The model captures the dynamics of sailor recruitment, training and retention, as well as their performance during missions. During the base effort we will extend the Phase I model to include additional details from the Navy’s M&P system, and to simulate multiple ships in a battlegroup. In Option 1 we will enhance the user interface to create a prototype tool for use by decision makers and other Navy M&P personnel. In Option 2 we include an evolutionary search module to design novel M&P policies.

Our work makes it possible to gain a deep understanding of the dynamics of M&P systems. We expect our tool to offer several benefits to the Navy, including the ability to design new policies for existing ships of new ships; the ability to understand the impact of shipboard technologies to increase automation; and the ability to study the impact of various interventions on sailor retention. Our tool has generated interest in other Government agencies, including the US Coast Guard. We also plan to commercialize the resulting tool outside the Government: personnel management issues similar to those faced by the Navy are also typical of any large corporation. We have already undertaken initial discussions with a number of large corporate entities, and expect to pursue multiple commercialization opportunities during our Phase II effort.

evolutionary search, agent-based modeling, workforce management, Manpower and Personnel, policy design