VBI: Network Dynamics and Simulations Science Laboratory
There are many companies at the VTCRC who make an impact locally, regionally and globally through technology and research initiatives. The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Network Dynamics and Simulations Science Laboratory (NDSSL) is no exception. Through their vital work of developing simulation tools to understand large biological, informational, social and technological systems, NDSSL is advancing modeling tools for companies like the National Institutes of Health Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study who are using the EpiSims tool to support preparedness for potential disease pandemics.
The NDSSAL is enabling individuals to explore the potential impact of different interventions or strategies on the course of a disease outbreak or a specific transportation scenario in today’s world.
Tell us about Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory
The Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory (NDSSL) integrates analytical and computational research across diverse domains in an overarching program. The aim is to develop synthetic information systems and associated analytical methods appropriate for very large complex systems. In addition to basic research and informatics technology development, translational efforts involving the commercial sector to put the synthetic methods into wide use are also a part of the NDSSL portfolio.
Sponsors currently include NSF, NIH, DoD, IARPA and others. The synthetic information technology program references the following research domain topics: systems biology for enteric immunology, social epidemiology of contagious diseases, contagious disease public health policy and surveillance, public health economics, large detailed population modeling, human social cognition and social behavior, disaggregate economic modeling and their various detailed markets, societal infrastructure modeling, policy decision support, crowd sourced surveillance and crowd sourced population science.
What are some achievements your company is most proud of and why?
We are most proud to work with such an exemplary group of employees that allow us to compete and win grants from a diverse group of funding agencies. Currently, our 28 faculty members advise 20 graduate research associates. Some of our past graduate students have gone on to become professors, postdoctoral fellows at children’s hospitals and entered major electrical and engineering corporations.
What exciting projects are you working on?
We work on big data sets, integrating vast amounts of information into simulations and modeling situations that describe how various networks interact with one another. We have worked on wireless communication networks, social media networks and census data. We have also modeled pandemics in several major cities across the world to help policymakers and public health officials make crucial decisions faster and more efficiently in times of crisis.
Since moving to the VTCRC in October 2004, what has your experience been like and how has the VTCRC helped your company succeed?
Having space so close to the Virginia Tech campus, while still having close proximity to both public and private entities and potential collaborators, has been a great boon.