The “Collaborative Design Environment” (CoDE), located immediately next to the Collaborative Visualization Environment, is a dedicated facility enabling the analysis and conceptual design of complex systems by supporting the cognitive processes and functions of researchers and subject matter experts. The CoDE fosters multidisciplinary collaboration for rapid-turnaround design and analysis. By collocating subject matter experts, hardware technologies, and relevant software tools in a reconfigurable “war room”, communication within the design team is enhanced and the speed and quality of design iterations is increased. The CoDE enables researchers to generate designs and perform in-depth analysis by utilizing a plethora of integrated modeling, simulation, and analysis tools in a team-centered environment.

The CoDE floor plan has been designed for maximum flexibility. It features state-of-the-art collaboration support equipment, and is linked to a 256-processor cluster that provides the necessary computing power for high-fidelity tools.

The forward half of the CoDE floor plan features a Reality System with stereoscopic capabilities where two BARCO Galaxy NW-12 3-Chip DLP projectors, each with a 1920x1200 resolution, produce a single seamless image on a cylindrical screen 10 feet tall and 29 feet in chord. The twin projectors are powered by a state-of-the-art nVidia FX5800 Quadro GPU with 4GB of dedicated GPU memory and 240 parallel-processing cores. 120 Hz stereoscopic vision supported by the Reality System enables 3-D visualization insupported graphical applications, making it ideal for collaborative endeavors that rely on graphic-heavy information processing and manipulation such as CAD, CFD and FEA results, and operational-environmental information such as contours and flight tracks within Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geographic visualization platforms like Google Earth.

The CoDE also features a mobile High-Definition (HD) Video-Tele-Conference (VTC) system which includes a state of the art Codec, a high-definition camera, a teleconference phone, and a remote control to interface with the system. The system can support live camera as well as computer output feeds, and can host up to 5 other VTC systems to enable 6-way collaborative VTC sessions.

The aft half of the CoDE features three projectors that capitalize on the real estate afforded by the side walls. On the right wall two NEC NP 4000 XGA projectors to produce a seamlessly integrated dual 4:3 feed, or alternatively two independent 4:3 feeds, on a 72” x192” screen. The left wall features a 15:9 aspect ratio 72”x120” screen upon which a NEC NP 4001 WXGA projector offers a single computer feed.

The software framework of the CoDE is the BARCO Control Room Management Suite (CMS), a collaboration software package which allows users to share desktop sources with each other and display devices in real time on any of the projectors, as well as to create and share ‘perspectives’ where a mosaic of different applications and feeds can be arranged to enhance information sharing, visibility, and leverage collaborative cognition.

As a dedicated design facility the CoDE stands alongside similar state of the art technology-enabled environments such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Project Design Center (PDC), the Aerospace Corporations Concept Design Center (CDC), and the European Space Agency (ESA) Concurrent Design Facility (CDF). The ongoing success of this type of facilities over the last decade and the decreasing acquisition costs of relevant hardware and software technologies will surely foster the creation of similar facilities across premier research entities throughout the world.

As part of its academic mission the ASDL provides students with an opportunity to gain valuable practical experience by participating in research efforts that take place in the CoDE, thus forging a highly capable and competitive engineering workforce.