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Governor Shares Vision of Virginia Becoming Nation’s Leader in M&S Research

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told a national audience of modeling and simulation experts at Old Dominion's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) that he wants to make Virginia the United States' M&S leader.

"I remember not so long ago when you talked about modeling, it was a person in tight clothes walking down a runway. How far modeling has come in the last 10 years," McDonnell said.

"It's a real source of pride to have this center in Hampton Roads, and really in Virginia, because it's a statewide and regional asset. Really, there's no reason that Virginia should not be the modeling and simulation capital of America."

McDonnell gave the keynote address Sept. 26 at the National Modeling and Simulation Coalition business meeting, one of a series of events hosted at VMASC that spotlighted ODU's emergence as an M&S research hub.

The governor proclaimed the week of Sept. 24-30 as Modeling and Simulation Week in Virginia, and used his address to highlight the commonwealth's investment in M&S as a current and future economic engine.

"It's delightful to be here at VMASC. The commonwealth of Virginia invests $4 million in this project every year, and along with ODU has captured the vision that you all are helping to unfold every day," he said.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership has estimated the modeling and simulation industry employs 10,300 people in the private sector in the commonwealth, and another 2,600 in government and military jobs. Its direct economic impact is $1.5 billion per year.

"Now, I call that a good start. But I'm confident that with those of you in this room, it will be bigger," McDonnell said. "Here's how I see it: When you see computers, I see jobs. When you see solutions, I see tax revenue. So, that's a good partnership that we've got to keep going."

A decorated combat veteran, McDonnell said he is proud of how M&S, including the many related innovations pioneered in Virginia, has helped solve complex problems for the nation's military. But the governor believes research will demonstrate that M&S can be vital in many other disciplines.

"I see modeling and simulation now as a great and brave new world that is able to solve problems, especially in this time when we're facing a $16 trillion national debt," he said.

"Technologies like this that will help us solve problems and increase efficiencies, by moving the design and testing into the virtual world, will promote tremendous advances. Modeling and simulation is applicable across many new industries - aerospace, aviation, manufacturing, transportation - and we're starting to see these new applications in aviation and cyber-security."

The national meeting was held as part of the Modeling and Simulation Multi-Con, a three-day series of events Sept. 25-27 at VMASC that encompassed the current significance and future promise that modeling, simulation and virtual reality hold for the nation and its citizens.

The final day of Multi-Con featured a technology review and open house sponsored by VMASC. The Suffolk-based ODU research center opened its doors to the community to help build relationships and foster increased awareness of the wealth of collaborative, multidisciplinary M&S research and development taking place in Hampton Roads.