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Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center ready to help with tech jobs

Tara Bozick
Contact Reportertbozick@dailypress.com

Several types of jobs in the future will touch on the modeling and simulation field, and the region could help grow that line of work with Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center in Suffolk.

On a tour of the center Wednesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe tested out a virtual reality program that simulated what an ancient settlement would have looked like based on archaeological findings. He also explored virtual art that appeared to be in the room through augmented reality glasses.

"I'd love to have every sixth grader come over here and put those goggles on like I did," McAuliffe. "You would be hooked. Modeling and simulation — that would be something you'd want to get a degree in."

Newport News Shipbuilding has been using augmented reality technology in its ship design and construction, but modeling and simulation also can be used in other areas and in business decision-making, Leah Colvin, Newport News Shipbuilding engineering manager, told attendees of a talk at the center.

Newport News shipyard joined the center's industry association in 2015, and Colvin said the shipyard plans to incorporate more modeling and simulation tools and would like to work with VMASC to recruit and retain talent.

Senior project scientist Peter Foytik unveiled the center's latest project: cyber risk scoring mitigation, a tool to help information technology folks identify cyber vulnerabilities to computers both individually, across the network and in relation to other computers' vulnerabilities. The tool already has one customer licensing and using it, he added.

ODU President John Broderick said he sees more practical solutions like CRSM, which could help analyze risk for the cyber insurance market, coming from the applied research center and entering the marketplace.

ODU developed the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center 20 years ago and moved into its current 60,000-square-foot facility in 2007. The center generates $3 million to $4 million in research expenditures a year, executive director John Sokolowski said.

After 15 years with the facility and seven years at the helm, Sokolowski, 64, of Virginia Beach is retiring later this month. Eric Weisel, ODU's director of applied research, will take on the role of interim executive director.

As to the future of the center in lieu of recent technological change, Sokolowski said, "It's clearly unlimited. We're just scratching the surface."

Bozick can be reached by phone at 757-247-4741. Sign up for a free weekday business news email at TidewaterBiz.com.

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