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Engineering Professor Honored with International Organization's First Technical Merit Award

Andreas Tolk, an associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering at Old Dominion University, has been awarded the first-ever Technical Merit Award by the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO).

SISO is an international organization dedicated to the promotion of modeling and simulation interoperability and reuse for a broad range of M&S clients.

Tolk, who has been at ODU since 2002 - first as a research scientist at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, and since 2006 as a faculty member in the Batten College of Engineering and Technology - was recognized for "being at the forefront of modeling and simulation scientific thought and practice for the past 10 years" in a number of diverse fields.

The recognition is validation of his approach to modeling and simulation - one he shares with many researchers across different disciplines at the university.

"One of the focal points of my research is to really establish that modeling and simulation is a discipline, not just a tool," Tolk said.

"My research focuses more on answering questions like: What are the underlying assumptions and constraints of modeling and simulation? Where can you really apply modeling and simulation, and where should we look for alternative solutions?"

Tolk believes M&S is going to become more ubiquitous, as people researching other problems realize its value.

"I think a lot of our current engineering solutions are going to be executed as simulation systems. And engineers and other problem solvers who do not really understand that they are using simulation already are going to become aware of it," he said.

Tolk especially appreciates that, at Old Dominion, he has colleagues across many different academic disciplines who share an interest in solving problems with M&S.

"My idea is to bring these various disciplines and these various ideas together in a mathematically precise and concise way, which is the main challenge we have as modeling and simulation experts," he said.

"Without the critical mass, you might have the best solution to a problem, but without enough people realizing that you have a problem, nobody's going to listen to you."

SISO is recognized by IEEE as the M&S standardization organization. With its award program, SISO recognizes outstanding contributions in the domain of M&S interoperability and reuse. At the recent International Fall Simulation Interoperability Workshop in Orlando, Fla., the SISO Awards Committee recommended that Tolk be presented SISO's first Technical Merit Award.

"We appreciate your organization's willingness to support your participation in SISO activities, thereby providing to the international M&S community a tangible and visible endorsement of our efforts to facilitate simulation interoperability and software reuse for M&S," director Duncan Miller wrote to Tolk in notifying him of the award. "SISO could not operate without the dedication, energy and expertise of key volunteers such as you."

SISO noted that Tolk's technical contributions to modeling and simulation have resulted in eight Best Paper Awards and 21 additional awards from the organization.

This article was posted on: October 12, 2010

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