As early as 2007, Congress had declared modeling and simulation a “National Critical Technology,” states the University of Florida (UCF).
Now a $1 million grant from the Department of Education will help UCF’s School of Modeling, Simulation and Training create a pipeline of talent to lead the nation in modeling and simulation technologies. The money will go toward strengthening the school’s existing graduate program, creating a new undergraduate modeling and simulation curriculum and launching outreach programs for high schoolers.
“It is essential to build a future workforce with the critical skills and competencies in modeling and simulation so that we retain our competitiveness in national security and space,” says Grace Bochenek, the school’s director and a co-investigator on the grant, in a UCF press release. “The new skills are going to be necessary across many industries from security and space to education and healthcare.”
According to UCF, modeling and simulation research has helped train firefighters, co-pilots, fighter pilots, law enforcement, teachers, clinicians and military medics, among others.
“We can’t lose sight of the human element in the design and use of intelligent machines for training and education,” says SMST Professor Roger Azevedo, the lead investigator on the grant. "This is exciting work, and the future is full of possibility because simulation and modeling has so many potential applications to help people and our society as a whole. We can’t wait to get started.”