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ODU's VMASC to Host Modeling and Simulation Conference

Decision-making in a complex, global society is the theme for the second annual MODSIM World Conference and Exposition Sept. 15-18 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The event is a regional endeavor led by Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), with the goal of showcasing and advancing the Hampton Roads' modeling and simulation industry.

With its early applications almost exclusively utilized by the military, modeling and simulation (M&S) is a discipline that can be employed to address multifaceted problems or objectives, and to train and exercise in a wide variety of fields, including leadership and the decision-making process. From strategic decisions supporting commerce and trade to experienced management in a time of crisis, modeling and simulation and its applied scientific methods can help prepare leaders come what may, with drills, re-creations and real-world scenarios.

As noted in a popular VMASC video, the discipline allows leaders to "test before you invest; practice before you perform; experiment before you experience." Doing so can save time, money, and even lives.

"Using models, simulations and visualizations, we can research different options, different decisions we might make and the impact of those decisions, whether addressing troop deployments or combat missions in Iraq or Afghanistan for example, without committing many resources," explained Paul Fosdick, MODSIM program chair and technical director at Northrop Grumman Corp.

"Whether contemplating decisions in the military arena, for a hurricane headed your way or for the best ways to teach math and science, utilizing modeling and simulation is very important in terms of conserving resources and experiencing situations without having to suffer real-world consequences of the lessons learned," he continued. "It is so important, so valuable that at Northrop Grumman, we created an apprentice school program in M&S and utilize this to make decisions before we build with the insight and better understanding of how best to build the next generation aircraft carrier, for example."

In lectures, discussions, demonstrations and exhibits, the decision-making process and other M&S applications will be addressed during the three-day conference which is designed for the exchange of modeling and simulation knowledge, research and technology across industry, government and academia. Attendees will learn about new applications, technology and practices and have an opportunity to network with other industry professionals. Leading the list of conference registrants are researchers and proponents of M&S in education, followed by leaders in the fields of engineering, transportation, emergency and disaster response, medicine and the military.

An interesting, cross-cutting "Gaming Track" is featured throughout each of the program tracks and will offer up-to-date developments in "Serious Gaming." This will facilitate the sharing and testing of theories, methods and information across various M&S applications and address the question: "If it works in the education arena, why can't it - or something like it - be utilized in the medical or energy or decision-making arena?" This sharing of cross domain knowledge is an exciting by-product of the event, according to event organizers.

"MODSIM will host industry researchers and representatives from the region, the nation and beyond," according to Dana Dickens, president of the Hampton Roads Partnership. "It is a major conference which will call attention to the growing, diverse M&S capabilities in the region. It highlights a very competitive local industry and is coordinated by competitors who work together for the greater good of the region and the M&S industry as a whole."

With its new, state-of-the-art facility, VMASC has rapidly become a catalyst for the growth of modeling and simulation in Hampton Roads, and ODU has gained recognition as a national leader in this area of research. The economic impact of M&S to the region is approximately $500 million per year and accounts for more than 7,000 jobs in the region, with average salary of roughly $80 thousand.

For more information and a list of presenters at the MODSIM Conference and Exposition, please consult the event's Web site at www.modsimworld2008.com

This article was posted on: September 15, 2008

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