Innovative Students Share in Nearly $40K Awards for Devising Modular, Adaptable Software Architecture to Support U.S. Military’s Need for MOSA Compliant systems.
WICHITA, Kansas, Sept. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The FirePoint Innovations Center at Wichita State University today announced the winners of its inaugural Student Practical Architecting Challenge (SPARC), giving nearly $40,000 awards to two student-based teams for their novel innovations in devising future-ready, modular and adaptable software systems to support the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA) initiative.
The first-place winners Murphy Ownbey and Greg Heiman, and second place winner Aiden McGillivray, all from Wichita State University, will be recognized during the MOSA Industry & Government Summit & Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. More than 50 teams from colleges and universities across the country participated in the SPARC competition.
Future-ready solutions for an agile defense
As part of the DOD’s MOSA mandate, all new software either designed in-house or procured for defense applications must not only address the military’s immediate need, but also be open for future needs. That means it must be easily modified, adaptable, maintainable and portable, enabling the DOD to be more agile, respond faster to new challenges and neutralize emerging threats from our adversaries.
SPARC, a FirePoint initiative brings student’s fresh, creative ideas and civilian perspective to software development to accelerate MOSA innovation and deployment. Prompted with an initial simulated software problem, the teams were challenged to build a solution that could be implemented on current, readily available software and hardware platforms to solve the initial problem but designed to be “maintainable” for unknown future requirements.
Practical plus adaptable
The solutions were evaluated across three phases of competition. In Phase I, it had to meet the requirements for immediate functionality, implementation and intuitive use. In Phase II, the teams were tasked with first defining metrics by which to evaluate solution modularity, adaptability, portability and maintainability, and then exchanged their products and documentation to measure other teams’ solutions against those standards. In Phase III, the FirePoint team along with industry software experts, challenged each team with new scenarios in the ultimate test, prompting them to modify their solution in real time —add a new capability, for example—and deliver a working product.
“SPARC is about more than just building or deploying new software—it’s about developing systems and protocols to evaluate and maximize the flexibility of new software solutions so that our military always has immediate access to the most cutting-edge, agile capabilities on the planet,” said Paul Jonas, Technical Director at FirePoint. “It’s about ‘scientifying’ the art of architecture, introducing empirical evidence to evaluate and inform our development process. These students brought an impressive set of skills, new approaches and fresh perspective, and it was so exciting to watch their ideas take shape.”
SPARC is part of FirePoint’s mission to accelerate joint technology development, transfer and commercialization, and support STEM-based workforce development by partnering with DEVCOM, universities, industry and other government organizations. To learn more, visit www.firepoint.info.
FirePoint is a partnership between Wichita State University and the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aviation and Missile Center (DEVCOM, AvMC) that accelerates joint technology development, transfer and commercialization among CCDC, universities, industry and other government organizations. FirePoint aims to support the educational, commercial and workforce development necessary to drive innovation and collaboration across the key Army modernization priorities. FirePoint initiatives support collaboration, partnering, and STEM workforce development to ensure modern Army combat readiness and overmatch in the multidomain battlespace. For more information, visit www.firepoint.info.