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SEED Center’s International Data Farming Workshop Returns to NPS

Article By: MC1 Leonardo Carrillo

The Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Simulation, Experiments and Efficient Design (SEED) Center for Data Farming hosted the 24th International Data Farming Workshop (IDFW), March 26-30.

A multinational group of representatives from different military and civilian organizations from the United States and partner nations came together at NPS to discuss, evaluate and exchange data on issues of national security, disaster relief and other complex issues.

“I’m delighted that this meeting comes back to Monterey,” said Dean of the Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences Dr. Peter Purdue during the opening remarks. “I hope that we are able to continue hosting it in subsequent years.”

Purdue, who has been involved with the IDFW since they first were hosted at NPS, gave a brief history of the school and spoke of the importance of the international participation in the workshop.

The workshop brought the participants into a collaborative environment that used simulations, computer modeling and open discussions to inspire innovative insight into complex problems.

“The workshop is a chance for mixed groups of people to get together and work on interesting problems,” said Co-Director of the SEED Center NPS Professor Susan Sanchez. “We’re really looking at a chance of getting rapid turnaround quantitative analysis for important policy questions.”

Sanchez added that these questions had an impact on important issues involving military and civilian life-and-death situations, from disaster relief to force protection and technology development.

The issues are presented in the form of what-if scenarios with complicated and numerable outcomes in computer-based models created by the participants or based on real-world examples.

“Almost all the models are connected to some real event,” said SEED Center Co-Director and IDFW Leader, NPS Research Professor Tom Lucas. “They’re based on something that happened or could happen.”
Dr. Peter Purdue, Dean of the NPS Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences, opens the school’s Simulation, Experiments and Efficient Design (SEED) Center for Data Farming 24th International Data Farming Workshop (IDFW), Mar. 26. The workshop brought the participants from multiple backgrounds into a collaborative environment to use simulations, computer modeling, and open discussions to inspire innovative insight into solving complex problems.

The outcome of these models is analyzed and evaluated to generate alternative solutions to the problems created in the scenario. Lucas said that they learn from these experiments and improve on the solutions. The results are then presented to decision makers to provide alternative options to tackle real world scenarios.

In this workshop a total of six different scenarios were presented in the workshop with diverse topics: humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, force protection of a combat outpost, enhanced training & education for peace support operations, linking ship operational effectiveness to physical ship design, searching for better experimental designs, and modeling outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease.

Participants were divided into six groups to tackle each of the models presented in the workshop. Of the six groups, NPS students led three, a fact that for Lucas is one of the most valuable aspects of this program.

“NPS students bring their operational experience,” said Lucas. “It’s a wonderful mix of people who actually do this work and academics, I don’t think this mix happens anywhere else in the world.”

Another important aspect of the workshop is the technological capability provided by NPS due to the complexity of the computer models essential to the project analysis and evaluation.

NPS’ Vice President for Information Resources and Chief Information Officer, Dr. Christine Haska, spent some time at the event, and noted she was pleasantly surprised with the diversity of topics under evaluation.

“I was really impressed with the topics, both in terms of their importance and how different they were,” said Haska. “Here we have scholars from different countries, scholars from different disciplines sharing research from a variety of different topics and scales coming together to find more efficient and effective ways of using simulations to solve important problems.”



Posted on May 2, 2012

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