The Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at Virginia Tech's Virginia Bioinformatics Institute recently conducted a training session for analysts from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

The workshop, which took place from Feb. 26 through 28, prepared the agency’s analysts for initial use of a new prototype application of the Comprehensive National Incident Management System.

The management system provides those involved in disaster management in the United States military with essential operational information about the populations being affected by a possible crisis. The training session is part of the laboratory’s ongoing work to develop high performance computing-based decision informatics for the Department of Defense.

David Myers, chief technical support division with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction enterprise stated: “[The agency] has partnered with Virginia Tech in developing our next generation computational support concept. The recent operational prototype for pandemic influenza modeling provides a path to on-demand high-performance computing for military personnel in the field.”

The prototype application provides previously unavailable detail and performance in scalable agent-based epidemiological models that will be used by Department of Defense planners and policy makers for analysis of optimal responses to a crisis situation. The advanced high-performance computing grid environment is capable of representing every individual in the United States. The agency’s analysts are preparing to conduct detailed studies of metropolitan areas in the United States for the United States Northern Command in support of detailed contingency planning during a possible pandemic influenza outbreak.

The Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory program represents one of the first applications of high-performance computing capability in direct support of operational policy-making and decision support.

The Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory pursues an advanced research and development program for interaction-based modeling, simulation, and associated analysis, experimental design, and decision support tools for understanding large biological, information, social, and technological systems. Extremely detailed, multi-scale computer simulations allow theoretical and experimental investigation of these systems.

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech has a research platform centered on understanding the "disease triangle" of host-pathogen-environment interactions in plants, humans and other animals. By successfully channeling innovation into transdisciplinary approaches that combine information technology and biology, researchers at the institute are addressing some of today's key challenges in the biomedical, environmental and plant sciences.

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