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Modeling and Simulation White Paper by Carole Cameron Inge, et al.
Modeling and Simulation White Paper by Carole Cameron Inge, et al.
Modeling and Simulation White Paper by Carole Cameron Inge, et al.
Modeling and Simulation White Paper by Carole Cameron Inge, et al.
Modeling and Simulation White Paper by Carole Cameron Inge, et al.
Modeling and Simulation White Paper by Carole Cameron Inge, et al.
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Modeling and Simulation White Paper by Carole Cameron Inge, et al.

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This is an overview of modeling and simulation as it relates to outreach, economic development and related educational areas.

This is an overview of modeling and simulation as it relates to outreach, economic development and related educational areas.

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  • 1. Modeling And Simulation As A Education, Training and Economic Development Tool Carole Cameron Inge, Ed.D, Executive Director Virginia Tech Modeling and Simulation Initiative cinge@vt.edu James C. Turner, Jr., Ph.D, Professor of Mathematics Virginia Tech Professor and President & CEO i3 Tech LLC turnerj@vt.edu Brian Caldwell, Senior Hydrogeologist Tetra Tech, Inc. brian.caldwell@tetratech.com Abstract. In 2007 the Southside Business Technology Center located in Martinsville, Virginia conducted a Market Feasibility Study validating the rapidly growing field of Modeling and Simulation (M&S), specifically in the areas of energy and the environment. The target location for this modeling and simulation focus was southern Virginia. M&S has been named a critical technology by the state and federal governments, and many statewide and federal stakeholders are involved in developing this industry, specifically in Virginia’s more affluent urban communities. In order to bridge the gaps between urban and less affluent rural communities, our university-corporate team created the Virginia Tech Modeling and Simulation Initiative in Halifax County, Virginia. This project is also an attempt to unify Virginia Tech expertise in M&S. The Mission of the Virginia Tech Modeling and Simulation Initiative is to provide advanced modeling, simulation and visualization technology services to business and public clients to advance their decision and support analyses of complex problems, contribute to the creation of new M&S technologies, increase technology-based jobs, and promote economic development in Virginia. The Virginia Tech Modeling and Simulation Initiative offers supercomputing capabilities, secure data storage, and Geographic Information System interface capabilities for pre- processing, computational stage simulation capabilities, and 3-D post-processing visualization and animation. The Virginia Tech Modeling and Simulation Initiative represents a multi-disciplined partnership between Virginia Tech and corporate partners involved in computer modeling, simulation, visualization, and analysis primarily focused on energy and the environment. The Virginia Tech Modeling and Simulation Initiative combines academic development and research with real-world experience. Students gain exposure to corporate project management practices through direct work with the our corporate partners. The team utilizes M&S technology to help students become adaptable, globally educated, technologically competent, and to prepare them to compete in the Information Age. Internships and post doctoral opportunities are provided where area students gain valuable work experience. The program features paid internships on projects, support with publishing their work and presenting their work nationally. 1. VIRGINIA TECH MODELING AND SIMULATION INITIATIVE The Virginia Tech Modeling and Simulation Initiative (Initiative), representing a multi-disciplined partnership between Virginia Tech and corporate partners, is a new organization consisting of entities involved in the critical technology of computer modeling, simulation, visualization and analysis. The Initiative provides a medium where academic research and development can combine with real-world experience and needs to form a synergistic environment to create opportunities within the modeling, simulation and visualization field. Unique to this type of work is the ability to “see” elements of complex engineering and scientific problems that might otherwise be difficult to understand. While our pubic/private partnership continues to grow, the following are our key public and private partners: Virginia Tech, Tetra Tech, Inc., Frontline Test Services Corporation, NASA, VMASC, i3 Tech, LLC, Environmental Ingenuity, LLC, Conservation Management Institute, Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, Casenex, Northrop Grumman, Thomas Technical Consulting, Inc., Glerin Business Resources, and Class of One. 1.1 Capabilities The Initiative maintains state-of-the-art hardware interfaces and software libraries, developing unique, project-specific software solutions. Our team offers expertise from some of the most advanced technology scientists and engineers in the World (through Virginia Tech and corporate partners) to solve complex problems with practical solutions in an efficient timeframe for your organization. We offer supercomputing capabilities, secure data storage and Geographic Information System interface capabilities for pre-processing, of computational stage simulation capabilities, and 3-D post-processing visualization and animation. Some of the Initiative capabilities specific to environmental modeling include: Surface Water - The Initiative has the knowledge and experience to provide support for all aspects of the
  • 2. Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program. We understand the complex web of technical, legal, administrative, and social issues that influence the TMDL development process, and this understanding is reflected in our full range of services —water quality monitoring, data analysis and assessment, watershed and receiving water modeling, pollutant allocations and trading options, analysis of BMP options, and development of TMDL implementation plans, as well as facilitation and public outreach. Groundwater - One of the cornerstone’s of the Initiative is the capability to perform numerical simulations of groundwater. Our software library is extensive, and our computational capability is state-of- the-art, integrating Windows, Linux and OCX platforms. The centerpiece of the Initiative is the FLEX system, a 3-dimensional visualization/immersion system manufactured by Mechdyne that seamlessly incorporates direct data feeds from the industry standards ArcGIS and Google Earth without format modification. The Initiative is also capable of direct node communication with System X, the supercomputer at Virginia Tech. Air - Our air quality staff of engineers, meteorologists, chemists, economists, and policy experts provides air quality services for an array of clients, both domestic and international. We have extensive experience applying air dispersion modeling techniques to evaluate potential and existing impacts from air pollutions sources. The Initiative routinely develops and applies atmospheric dispersion models for Clean Air Act permitting, risk assessments, feasibility studies (FS), siting of monitoring equipment, and special air quality impact analyses. Risk Assessment - One of the Initiative’s fundamental capabilities is the assessment of risk posed to humans and ecosystems by contaminants in the ambient environment. The risk assessment process utilizes outputs from media-specific (and inter-media) geochemical, fate and transport, and other models which are Initiative staples. This information is then combined with anthropomorphic, land use, receptor characteristic / habit and toxicological data to estimate the nature and magnitude the threat posed to exposed populations. In addition to environmental media modeling, the Initiative also provides capabilities related to the following: Information Technology (IT) Services – IT Services are an integral part of environmental modeling. Integration of computational resources with geographic information systems (GIS) is critical, as this links the quantifiable aspects of the environmental media with spatial data. Computational platforms can then be streamlined to minimize pre-processing of data to maximize computing efficiency, and to directly import to any post-processing software for maximizing visualization and analysis. Some of the key IT features of the Initiative include: Systems Integration; Data Analysis and Visualization; Web Services Development; Database and Interface Development; Model and Interface Development; and Geographic Information Systems. Modeling and Simulation in the Education Technology, Human Factors, Cognitive Science and Biomechanical Engineering Segments – Initiative staff have conducted cognitive research in the areas of synchronous and asynchronous technology education This includes working with educational clients on the cognitive and human physical facets of using advanced technology for instructional purposes, designing research studies and analyzing the effect of video-based materials on student achievement. 1.2 Projects and Applications A sampling of our resident modeling projects and applications include: Groundwater Modeling and Soil Risk Assessment Modeling at Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant, Chattanooga Tennessee – Numerical Finite Difference modeling of flow and the fate and transport of contamination is being performed to evaluate the remedial alternatives for groundwater, and to actively direct on-going source soil remediation. Groundwater Modeling at Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Middletown Iowa – Numerical Finite Difference and analytical modeling of groundwater is being conducted in off-post areas that have the potential to impact surface water; this modeling is also being used to design and execute the active remediation of the groundwater. Modeling of the Equilibrium Geochemical Relationships Between Inorganics in Soil, Sediment, and Groundwater at Naval Air Station, Pensacola Florida – Geostatistical modeling using linear regression and correlation modeling and population statistical modeling is being conducted to define areas of soil and groundwater that are in equilibrium and those that are impacted by anthropogenic activities and require remediation. 2. EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES The Initiative capitalizes on its capabilities through developing applied research projects and programs both within the Virginia Tech system as well as local colleges and learning institutes. The Initiative seeks collaborative synergy by identifying project and program opportunities and working to bring the talent and the applied research together through marketing the technical capabilities described above. 2.1 Virginia Tech Programs Over time, the Initiative hopes to build graduate and post doctoral research programs that are operated directly from the Riverstone facility. The current focus has been to partner on applied research projects that can benefit from the Initiative’s capabilities along with the strengths of Virginia Tech researchers and programs.
  • 3. One such example is the Initiative’s recent partnership with the Virginia Tech Locomotion Research Laboratory, managed by nationally-recognized vision researcher Dr. Thurmon Lockhart, as well as Dr. Tonya Smith-Jackson, Director of the Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics Center at Virginia Tech. This research team performs many facets of human gait research including slips and falls research to provide new scientific knowledge on the causes of and prevention of accidents involving human locomotion. The application of this research includes industrial safety, environmental design, rehabilitation and military performance. The laboratory combines both human subject testing and computational modeling to investigate relationships between age-related biomechanical, physiological, and psychological changes and their ultimate effect on the processes of these accidents. The Initiative’s collaboration in this area includes an ongoing project to create a research design for military contractors interested in developing the next generation of night vision technology. Through the combined talents of the existing Virginia locomotion and human factors researchers and the modeling and simulation capabilities of the Initiative, the project team’s research provides opportunities for the project client to better understand how soldiers can perceive visual information while moving and wearing night vision goggles on their helmets. 2.2 Local Educational Planned Programs and Projects The Initiative hopes to develop additional educational partnerships in the upcoming years that are focused on the Initiative acting as a resource to the local community. Specifically, the Initiative is coordinating with area community colleges and advanced learning centers to help build and develop their curriculum in the areas of modeling and simulation. The Initiative’s target groups include: • Local Community Colleges o Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) o Danville Community College (DCC) • Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) • Southern Virginia Higher Education Center • Halifax County and City of Danville Public Schools In addition to serving as a physical community resource to these educational entities, the Initiative is working cooperatively with these and other educational interest groups to provide partnering opportunities to seek grant and research opportunities to help build capabilities among the institutions as well as their staff and students. The Initiative will continue to seek these and other opportunities as a key mission focus. Other community-based educational opportunities include providing specialized training opportunities to special interested groups such as disabled veterans and their families. 3. NEW TRAINING APPROACHES & SIMULATION TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES Today the field of computer simulation is on the threshold of a new era. Advances in mathematical modeling, computational algorithms, computational speed, and the science and technology of data-intensive computing are driving progress in engineering, science, technology, and education. Whereas a decade ago many science and engineering educators were content to have their students view simulations as “black boxes” with no need to learn what is inside the boxes, our increasing reliance on computers makes this view less prevalent today, and much less prevalent in the future. Consequently, there is a need for more vigorous training in computation-based simulation. However, the challenges of meeting the growing demands for computationally trained students while simultaneously adapting science and engineering curricula to the rapid advances in computer technology are difficult to conquer with traditional educational methods. The Initiative employs new formats for training the next generation of modeling and simulation professionals and specialists. In particular, new types of interactive courseware, reusable simulation packages, new learning and training environments and new business models for educational infrastructure will be presented. 3.1 Interactive Courseware Traditional courseware consists of educational material intended as kits for teachers or trainers or as tutorials for students, usually packaged for use with a computer. Traditional courseware is typically more instructionally than interactive. The Initiative is focusing on developing and promoting interactive courseware that takes a more blended approach to learning through online simulation training modules that teach a particular area of simulation based upon science and engineering. These specialized education modules (SEMs) combine to form online modeling and simulation education courseware targeted for researchers, professors, staff or students. Each module provides comfortable learning environments, with access to databases, online resources, utilities, and hot links to related material via the internet. These modules all apply standardized terminology which is based upon the particular field of simulation it is intended for–science or engineering. They contain a series of lectures, along with examples and assigned projects. Modules are designed so that students can learn through hands-on experiences with projects that bring together different aspects of real- world simulation development: physics/mechanics, mathematics, numerics, and software. Built-in quizzes
  • 4. are available to assess a student’s progress. Step-by- step each student becomes acquainted with the specialized module. To see Module 1 (shown in Figure 1) – “Introduction to Computational Science” in action, please visit our partner’s website: http:www.icubedtech.com Figure 1: Computational Science Learning Module Application These modules can be used to complement in-class lectures or in support of distance education. Also, the materials contained in these modules can be customized to fit a specific curriculum need. 3.2 Reusable Simulation Packages The modeling and simulation industry for many years has focused on site- and project-specific applications. Most simulations are monolithic, massive undertakings intended to satisfy one specific set of objectives without regard for possible reuse by future efforts. This includes lacking foresight into future endeavors within the undertaking or by outside researchers or project teams working on technology advancements or add-ons. This approach has led to redundancy of effort and inconsistency in the modeling industry in simulation analyses. The Initiative, through its partnership with i3 Tech LLC, seeks to improve upon this aspect of computation modeling through development and use of reusable simulation tools and techniques. To date, the Initiative’s efforts in this area have been evaluating and using an object oriented development framework for the solution of partial differential equations called Diffpack. Diffpack, developed and marketed by inuTech, is an object- oriented problem solving environment for the numerical modeling and solution of partial differential equations (PDEs). Since most computational modeling makes use of PDEs, the Initiative believes its application is boundless. By its design, Diffpack provides a very high degree of modeling flexibility, while still maintaining the computational efficiency needed for the most demanding simulation problems in science and engineering. Due to its modular and object-oriented design, Diffpack also grants high efficiency with respect to human resources. An example application of Diffpack (courtesy of Simula Research Laboratory AS) is in an application to the solution to a model of the electrical activity in the human heart. The mathematical model consists of 3 coupled PDE: one is modeling the propagation of the electrical signal in the heart chambers (shown in Figure 2), the second one in the heart tissue, and the third models the transport from the heart surface to throughout the body. In addition to the PDEs there is a set of 12 coupled ordinary differential equations modeling the chemical reactions defined locally for each node.
  • 5. Figure 2: Diffpack Solution for Heart Chamber Simulation The Initiative hopes to utilize Diffpack to develop custom solutions to many of the canned modeling and simulation products for future projects. 4. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT A primary function of the Initiative is to attract new technology companies to southern Virginia that have modeling, simulation and visualization needs and/or provides tools to make existing technology companies more successful. Through public and private partnerships, the Initiative serves to promote job growth in high-paying technology fields; thus providing a unique economic development tool for the area. Specifically, the Initiative creates research and consulting opportunities locally, throughout the U.S. and internationally by way of academic research, grants, and contracts. The Initiative also supports the Governor’s goal of making the Commonwealth of Virginia a national leader in modeling, simulation and visualization technology.
  • 6. Figure 2: Diffpack Solution for Heart Chamber Simulation The Initiative hopes to utilize Diffpack to develop custom solutions to many of the canned modeling and simulation products for future projects. 4. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT A primary function of the Initiative is to attract new technology companies to southern Virginia that have modeling, simulation and visualization needs and/or provides tools to make existing technology companies more successful. Through public and private partnerships, the Initiative serves to promote job growth in high-paying technology fields; thus providing a unique economic development tool for the area. Specifically, the Initiative creates research and consulting opportunities locally, throughout the U.S. and internationally by way of academic research, grants, and contracts. The Initiative also supports the Governor’s goal of making the Commonwealth of Virginia a national leader in modeling, simulation and visualization technology.

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