VMASC opens its doors

Published 11:12 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yiannis Papelis, a research associate professor at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, demonstrates virtual reality simulation technology his department created at the VMASC open house Wednesday.

The Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center opened its doors this week to show the community how it is moving the modeling and simulation field forward in Hampton Roads.

The center held its first open house Wednesday, and professionals from federal, state and local governments, along with the military and other industries, including health care and manufacturing, were invited to get firsthand accounts of the center’s work.

“This is the first time we’ve done this type of event to show what we do,” John Sokolowski, the executive director of VMASC, told those attending. “Our purpose for today is to allow you to see the things going on (at VMASC).”

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Throughout the day, visitors were invited to see a variety of presentations completed by VMASC employees on different modeling and simulation applications, including medical and health care analysis and virtual worlds and immersive environments.

“We decided to hold this event because we wanted to let the community and folks across the region and the nation know what we’re doing at VMASC,” said Thomas Reese, the director of business development at the center.

He said officials also wanted to exhibit the wide variety of industries in which modeling and simulation can be used.

“In any industry you can name, there’s opportunity that modeling and simulation can be applied,” Reese said.

The center’s employees demonstrated simulations of topics as varied as blood management, emergency preparedness and workforce recruitment.

Also, the center showed off one of its new running simulations, which examines how simple governmental decisions can affect all of the factors in an area that make it a desirable place to live.

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Stuart Stryker works with modeling and simulation every day, but as a member of the military, he said, he wanted to see what the private sector was doing.

“My big reason (for attending) is to find out what technologies are out there,” he said. “I want to see what the civilian sector has and consider converging.”

Julie Gifford, the regional military liaison for the state Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, also attended the open house.

“The governor has a high interest in advancing modeling and simulation in Virginia, and I’m here to gather information on VMASC,” she said.

Sokolowski said he hopes the open house exposed the group to all the different possibilities that exist for the modeling and simulation technology.

“We want to make sure as many people as possible see what we do here,” he said.