Modeling and simulation are becoming more critical in military and homeland security efforts, and academia is playing a key role in the ongoing development process. Old Dominion University has dedicated an entire center to the field with emphasis in several areas essential to government, including a division specifically focused on national defense and protection. The center’s personnel work with counterparts in other organizations to develop capabilities for efforts as diverse as planning hurricane evacuation routes and improving care for wounded warriors, and they offer analysis for particularly complex problems as well. In addition to their project-focused endeavors, the researchers are creating standards in modeling and simulation to ensure better interoperation in the future.
Modeling and simulation is bringing the world into the command center, into the boardroom and even onto the desktop. The value of models and simulations is increasing significantly as organizations use bits and bytes to strategize. Traditionally, the capabilities have been used for testing and training. But now, by getting to know their customers’ aspirations intimately, companies are employing these techniques to give their clients what they need, while strengthening their own bottom line.
Reaching beyond the traditional domains of sea, land, air, space and cyberspace, the U.S. military now is exploring its newest realm: the virtual world. The services are creeping cautiously into the latest frontier of simulated worlds with islands and avatars. This is not a simple maneuver. It is one filled with hurdles and pitfalls, but it is a domain that the U.S. Defense Department understands it can ignore no longer.
Cloud computing can be a gamble, so one teaching tool uses a casino motif to help information professionals understand the best strategies for incorporating it into their organizations. Using a table and mat that resemble a craps game, teams take on tasks that relate to a real-world scenario. As the competition progresses, participants experience the benefits and risks of deploying traditional information technology, information clouds or a combination of both.
Pictures may indeed be worth a thousand words when applied to visualization aids for warfighters and first responders. A university-based facility is using state-of-the-art computers and software to convert large data files into maps for a variety of organizations. This free material is made available to government agencies, academic research groups and companies that require high-resolution terrain imagery.
Analysts in the U.S. Navy will soon be able to examine new ship systems and military tactics from the beginning to the end of the kill chain without ever leaving shore. A modeling and simulation tool will enable them to assess capabilities quickly at their desktop with a level of fidelity that allows them to make better informed acquisition recommendations as well as to explore adversaries' responses to new devices and strategies. The capability capitalizes on advances made by the video game industry.