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Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering Gets New Name

By Keith Pierce

As of July 1, the Department of Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering (MSVE) is now officially referred to as Computational Modeling and Simulation Engineering (CMSE). The change is designed to make the name more current.

Department Chair Frederic (Rick) D. McKenzie said the name change does not change the major's curriculum.

"Modeling and Simulation Engineering is a discipline where students utilize basic science principles and concepts not primarily to create and analyze a physical, mechanical or electrical system but to create and analyze a model of that system, which requires different skills and abilities," he said. "For example, comprehending and applying basic first principles in order to model complex processes by breaking the problems into simpler parts, utilizing appropriate modeling techniques, and then making those models dynamic to analyze and formulate solutions to the complex problems."

Old Dominion was the first university in the nation to offer an undergraduate degree in modeling and simulation engineering and has one of the few U.S. graduate programs in this emerging discipline. ODU was also the first university in the country to offer a Ph.D. in modeling and simulation.

The curriculum and coursework required of students are consistent with a program of study in computational science and engineering that focuses more on the processes involved in developing a model, different types of modeling methodologies where some involve artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, verification and validation, visualization, as well as training and decision support.

According to McKenzie, the former department name did not recognize the computational component of the curricula. He also noted that the new name more accurately reflects the department's activities.

"Including the word computational in the name connotes both mathematics and software programming, which is what most of the courses in modeling and simulation are about," he explained. "The word, visualization is implied in the words modeling and simulation and therefore unnecessary in the name."

Modeling and simulation engineering students have access to state-of-the-art facilities featuring several instructional and research laboratories, a virtual-reality theater and a four-walled C.A.V.E. (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment). In addition, the department's academic programs are coupled with a strong research program conducted jointly with ODU's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC), located nearby in Suffolk. ODU researchers work in cutting-edge areas such as medical and health care modeling and simulation, high-performance computing, cybersecurity, big data, virtual reality, educational gaming, transportation and unmanned aircraft systems.

"We are very pleased with the change," McKenzie said. "The new name more accurately reflects our national reputation and what we do in the department and it is certainly much easier to say."

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