Shifting workforce demographics drove the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center here to create a $120,000 engineering analysis and training space in the Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center, which opened officially May 1.
The Hanscom Engineering and Analysis Training, or HEAT lab, will give Airmen and authorized contractors use of advanced networked computers loaded with high-end software and access to the Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center.
Joseph Arnold, Engineering Directorate computer scientist, who is the lab’s architect, Dennis Miller, director of Engineering and Technical Management, and several more AFLCMC-Hanscom engineering directors hosted a grand opening ceremony in the HCIC. Dr. Bahareh Haji-saeed, an AFLCMC-Hanscom chief engineer, led the inaugural training session immediately on day one, demonstrating the lab is open for business.
“We’re setting up a space that contains tools comparable to what private industry is using in a lot of cases, where teams of people can tackle problems, or check the work of contractors,” said Arnold. “Really, we want this to be a collaborative space that will also be able to host classified projects in the future.”
According to a 2014 presentation by a former commander of AFLCMC, 15 percent of the engineering workforce has more than 30 years' experience. The center is experiencing a brain drain as this most experienced group of engineers ages out of the workforce. At the same time, a full 25 percent of the workforce has less than five years’ experience.
“The HEAT lab was funded and established as part of the AFLCMC Engineering Directorate’s Directorate Engineering Analysis Technology Hub and System Training Analysis and Research, or DEATHSTAR, to address this demographic shift in the engineering workforce by providing a space for engineers and analysts to perform and collaborate on projects and training,” said Miller.
In addition to hosting multiple software skills development classes, the HEAT lab is available for people or teams to reserve space for projects related to government work. The lab is open to all Hanscom personnel for courses, independent projects and analysis. Those interested in learning more about MathWorks software, AutoCAD and analytics programs available on the HEAT Lab computers can contact Arnold at (781) 225-5661 or visit the SharePoint site.
Eight high-end workstations are available for personnel to run computing programs too cumbersome for standard desktop workstations. AFLCMC-Hanscom’s Engineering Directorate plans to add more systems, for an eventual total of 11. Software available for use includes various computer-aided design programs, analytics tools and software development bundles. Cost of an individual system with this capability and software would be approximately one quarter of the total $120,000 price tag.
The lab supports a wide breadth of functions, along with virtual server hardware for additional, field-relevant training. Workstations at the HEAT lab run 10-core Xeon processors with 64 Gigabytes of memory and high-end Nvidia Quadro graphics cards and are connected to the Defense Research and Engineering Network.
Register for skills classes and reserve space through SharePoint.