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MODSIM World Brings Leading Researchers and Policymakers in M&S Field, Including ODU Researchers, to Hampton Roads

Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) is one of the major contributors to the upcoming third annual MODSIM World Conference & Expo, the premier international conference for researchers and practitioners of modeling and simulation.

The conference is being held Oct. 14-16 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The day before the conference opens, Sen. Mark Warner will host the Virginia Summit on Modeling & Simulation, an event co-sponsored by ODU.

The summit will take place from 2-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

MODSIM World itself is designed to attract military, government, business and education leaders in the field of modeling and simulation. M&S has become a major economic driver in Hampton Roads, contributing nearly $1 billion to the region's economy, and directly employing more than 4,000 people.

This year's conference has a significant educational component.

On Thursday, October 15, students from across the region will participate in career exploration events at the conference. They'll have an opportunity to meet with experts in the M&S field, explore career pathways, view technology demonstrations and participate in hands-on activities.

This is where VMASC and ODU will play a major role at the conference.

The rest of the conference is divided into six main program tracks: health and medicine, transportation and logistics, homeland security and defense, engineering and science, education and training, and modeling human behaviors and interactions.

MODSIM World also features "cross-cutting" sessions that explore the connections between the disciplines represented by the six main tracks.

John Sokolowski, director of research and acting executive director of VMASC, said ODU has made a major investment in collaborative, multidisciplinary M&S work, through the hiring of faculty members with modeling and simulation expertise in all six Old Dominion colleges.

"ODU has a multidisciplinary approach, which looks not only at the engineering aspects of simulation and the physical modeling of planes, trucks and things like that, but also looks at the human, social and cultural and behavior modeling pieces," Sokolowski said.

That research, which Sokolowski said is in its relative infancy nationwide, stands to position ODU as a leader in incorporating human behavior into physical models.

"There's tremendous potential for investigating these multidisciplinary problems, and because ODU's taking this multidisciplinary view, we really are positioned well to provide some leading academic research and ability in this whole area."

During the Virginia Summit on Modeling & Simulation, Sen. Warner will talk about the opportunities for growth in the Hampton Roads M&S cluster, which currently trails only Orlando in size and budget.

A lot of that growth will come through forging links among government, business, education and the military, areas in which ODU has played a pivotal role.

Keynote speakers for MODSIM World include Charles Camarda, astronaut and deputy director for advanced projects for NASA; William Swartout, director of technology for the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies; Doug Whatley, founder and CEO of BreakAway; and Paul Roman, associate professor of management science and operations management at both the Royal Military College of Canada and the Queen's University business school.

Attending the conference will be representatives of local, state and federal government departments, as well as an international delegation. Last year, the Canadian Embassy brought 22 company and 50 conference delegates from companies and agencies in that country.

Other participants will include educators, defense and aerospace contractors, transportation planners and engineers, and students. Several ODU faculty members will make presentations.

In addition to daily keynote speakers, there will be a student career exploration day on Thursday, Oct. 15, with events, speakers and demonstrations aimed at students considering careers in modeling and simulation.

For information about MODSIM World, see the conference's Web site at http://www.modsimworld2009.com/, or e-mail info@modsimworld2009.com.

For information about Senator Warner's summit, please see his Web site at http://warner.senate.gov/modsim.

This article was posted on: October 5, 2009

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