#036;1.45 million for ‘economic engine’ announced here

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The state is pumping $1.45 million into growing the Hampton Roads’ modeling and simulation industry this year.

The funding will be used to fund the Virginia Modeling and Simulation Initiative, said Gov. Mark R. Warner, who made the announcement Monday at the dedication of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s new Center for Innovation in northern Suffolk.

&uot;Modeling and simulation is an economic engine that is accelerating in Hampton Roads,&uot; said Warner. &uot;It is critical that we continue to invest in it.&uot;

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The funding, approved in an April 6 General Assembly budget amendment, will be used to boost the capability of Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center in north Suffolk by adding faculty, enhancing the modeling and simulation curriculum and promoting research and development in the field, Warner said.

Funds will also be used to develop a new modeling and simulation technician course at Tidewater Community College.

Plans call for the creation of an Institute for Homeland Security and Crisis Management at ODU’s northern Suffolk facility. Private defense contractors will fund most of the $5 million needed to start the institute, which will specialize in modeling and simulation products for the Homeland Security market.

Part of the funding will be used to connect VMASC and the nearby U.S. Joint Forces Command to Lamba Rail, a high-speed Internet access that allows researchers nationwide to gather data and conduct experiments significantly faster than they now can.

VINSIM has the potential to dramatically transform and strengthen the region’s – and the state’s – economy by attracting more high-tech, high paying jobs,&uot; Warner said.

&uot;If we can train the workforce that USJFCOM needs and host their operations, Virginia can become a national hub for companies that design video games, health care companies exploring the latest technology and homeland security.

&uot;Hampton Roads can be known as the new Sim City for the country.&uot;