The Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center Turns 20
August 17, 2018
When Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) was established, its focus was military training.
Two decades later, the multi-disciplinary research center has evolved to include projects like digital shipbuilding, live and virtual simulation, medical simulation, cybersecurity and human behavior modeling.
The Center, which was established in 1997, recently held its 20th-anniversary celebration. ODU President John R. Broderick and Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine provided video congratulations to the nearly 100 in attendance, including past executive directors Thomas Mastaglio, R. Bowen Loftin, Roland Mielke, Michael McGinnis and John Sokolowski.
"A big part of VMASC's story is impact. VMASC benefits the University, the region and the commonwealth not only through innovative research, but also as an economic engine for Hampton Roads," Broderick said. "VMASC creates a steady stream of qualified graduates ready to work in government and industry. Then it helps keeps these graduates in the commonwealth by supporting industry in the creation of jobs."
"The work you do in modeling and simulation is so critically important," Warner added. "We know in the past 20 years, VMASC has been responsible for $100 million in research. It's my hope that the next 20 years will be even better than the first 20 years and I look forward to working with you for many years to come."
Eric Weisel, research associate professor and VMASC executive director, said future goals for the center go "beyond evolutionary progress."
"We are not only working to advance the state-of-the art in computational modeling, but also to apply modeling and simulation, data analytics, and cybersecurity technologies, with our colleagues on campus and industry partners, to solve the most complex problems we face regionally, nationally, and globally," Weisel said. "The truly outstanding research faculty and staff at VMASC are working hard to innovate locally and transform globally."
In July ODU announced that VMASC would serve as the executive agent to the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), a partnership of 25 U.S. universities.
Participation in SERC allows ODU opportunities for federal funding and projects in addition to collaboration with schools like Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins and MIT.
Leading VMASC is a "full-circle moment" for Weisel.
"Sixteen years ago, as I was transitioning out of the Navy, I wandered into VMASC to find out what modeling and simulation was all about," he said. "Two weeks later, I had enrolled in thethen-new Ph.D. program in modeling and simulation and had a job at VMASC as a project scientist. I am honored to now have the opportunity to lead this exceptional crew."