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Describes the Advanced Systems Concept Evaluator for Novel Technologies (ASCENT) simulation test-bed. In order to capture effects important to collaborative air traffic management tool design, ASCENT employs optimization to model the response of the airlines to air traffic management actions. The simulation is able to assess not only traditional measures of system performance such as airport throughput and passenger-minutes of delay, it also measures the value to the airlines of their realized plans. ASCENT allows one to compare the airlines' optimal solutions under a proposed ATM tool to those under the present-day system, answering the question, "How much better could the airlines operate under the new technology if it were implemented?" ASCENT has been applied both to the benefits analysis of a proposed air traffic flow management method and to an analysis of the collaborative arrival planner under development by NASA.