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Analytics Magazine

WSC 2014: Exploring big data through simulation

September/October 2014

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By Stephen J. Buckley

The Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) has been the premier international forum for disseminating recent advances in the field of system simulation for more than 40 years, with the principal focus being discrete-event simulation and combined discrete-continuous simulation. In addition to a technical program of unsurpassed scope and high quality, WSC provides the central meeting place for simulation researchers, practitioners and vendors working in all disciplines and in industrial, governmental, military, service and academic sectors. WSC 2014 will be held Dec. 7-10 in Savannah, Ga., at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa and the adjacent Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.

The appeal of simulation is its relevance to a diverse range of interests. WSC has always reflected this diversity, and WSC 2014 aligns with and expands upon this tradition. For those more inclined to the academic aspects of simulation, the conference offers tracks in modeling methodology, analysis methodology, simulation-based optimization, hybrid simulation and agent-based simulation. For those more inclined to the application of simulation, tracks include healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain management, military applications, business process modeling, project management and construction, homeland security and emergency response, environmental and sustainability applications, and networks and communications.

The Modeling and Analysis of Semiconductor Manufacturing (MASM) is a conference-within-a-conference featuring a series of sessions focused on the semiconductor field. The Industrial Case Studies track affords industrial practitioners the opportunity to present their best practices to the simulation community. The Simulation Education track presents approaches to teaching simulation at education levels ranging from K-12 to graduate and professional workforce levels. Finally, WSC provides a comprehensive suite of introductory and advanced tutorials presented by prominent individuals in the field, along with a lively poster session, Ph.D. colloquium, a new attendee orientation and a distinguished speaker lunchtime program.

The theme for WSC 2014, “Exploring Big Data Through Simulation,” is timely and relevant. The explosion of data throughout the world has created both opportunities and challenges to business and technical communities. In this conference, presenters will discuss how simulation can help. In addition to special tracks on big data simulation and decision-making and scientific applications, conference keynote speaker Robert Roser, head of scientific computing at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., and one of the world’s leading experts on experimental particle physics, will speak about the recently discovered Higgs Boson particle and the role of simulation in the discovery. The military keynote speaker is Greg Tackett, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Evaluation Directorate (BMDED) and the Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency (BMDS OTA), U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

The WSC is designed for professionals at all levels of experience across broad ranges of interest. The extensive cadre of exhibitors and vendor presentations, the meetings of various professional societies and user groups, along with the various social gatherings, give all attendees the opportunity to get acquainted with each other and to become involved in the ever-expanding activities of the international simulation community.

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Stephen J. Buckley is a research staff member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and general chair of WSC 2014.

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