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The following are the notes from the panel discussion the VCE requirements for supporting research.

Openness – NASA should lead the way and embrace an open environment that welcomes external contributions

Pay-per-solution environment – NASA can marshal world-wide resources in terms of individuals (that are not NASA employees or traditional subcontractors) willing to contribute to the NASA mission by solving small isolated problems while compensated on a per-problem basis.

Addressing proprietary and/or secret problems:
A core group of NASA employees can take larger problems that need to remain secret and decompose them in smaller problems that cannot be traced back into the original and secret project.The same group would be responsible for combining the lessons learned and folding the solutions into the “main” project.

Open-source – The virtual center of excellence should leverage open source solutions as well as contribute to open source projects When discussing the VCE, there is a disproportionate number of solution and tool providers as opposed to solution seekers.

A critical requirement for ensuring the success of the VCE would be that the stake holders (program office personnel, or key individuals who control resources and have vested interested in solutions) should be active participants in the VCE. It is critical that the VCE be aligned with the core NASA mission, especially when it comes to decision on how to operate ‘hard’ facilities such as wind tunnels, simulators etc.

When it comes to providing tele-presence, there are few technology issues to be addressed; bandwidth, security, but such issues are considered technological in nature and not high risk.Nevertheless, the issue of open access needs to be balanced with security.

The VCE should be kept small to minimize the natural tendency of empire building.If the VCE because large enough that the resources to simply maintain its existence become significant, individuals will naturally worry about self sustainment and focus on expansion and self preservation.This needs to be avoided atall costs.

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