The symposium addressed current modelling and simulation issues. Walter F. Ullrich reports.

The Centre for Studies and Conferences (SGW), an affiliate of the German Association for Defence Technology (DWT), organised another symposium on modelling and simulation (M&S). In fact, it was the tenth in a series of conferences about diverse aspects of simulation. General (Ret.) Rainer Schuwirth, Chairman of DWT and former Chief of Staff, SHAPE, explained the purpose of the event: “The symposium aims to contribute to the further development of training by employing, amongst other things, simulation technology and methods.”

The event was held on 3 and 4 March 2015 in City Hall in Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Germany. It was jointly chaired by Prof Dr Stefan Wolfgang Pickl, Head of Operations Research at the University of the Bundeswehr Munich, and Dr Hubertus Lübbers from the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support. Some 260 conference participants attended the presentations and discussions in plenary and the concurrent panels.

“The DWT Forum ʻModelling and Simulation’ once more takes up different aspects of IT-based decision support,” said Prof Pickl. In his introduction to the conference, Prof Pickl dealt with the delimitation between modelling and simulation and IT-based decision support. He discussed one of the core issues that decision-makers in particular frequently encounter, namely optimal behaviour in uncertain conditions. These questions also played an important role in the remarkable plenary talk given by Dr Silja Meyer-Nieberg about novel aspects of simulation-based optimisation in crisis detection and risk management.

The presentations ranged from the purely technical perspective to the design of simulation networks up to challenges that are foreseeable in the context of Big Data. Prof Dr Axel Lehmann from the University of the Bundeswehr Munich spoke about guidelines and standards for the verification and validation of models, simulations and data. Here, verification examines the correctness of the model, while validation checks if the model per se is the correct one. In the same context, Reinhard Herzog from Fraunhofer IOSB said: “We need to know what we were getting into with simulation.” Other plenary lectures elaborated on experience the Bundeswehr has gained with simulation for mission preparation and training, and with the development of the simulation landscape in the Bundeswehr.

The five concurrent panels addressed: networking of simulation systems; the virtual battlespace; operations research; e-learning; and geo-information in support of simulation.

In the end, almost all the participants were satisfied. One of the few criticisms that was raised was that the event dealt less with the impact of the shift from operational deployment to operational preparedness after the operation in Afghanistan ended than they had anticipated, how simulation and training can help preserve experience, and how lessons learned from the said operation can be implemented over the long term.

Perhaps the topic was too ambitious and came too early. However, it is interesting enough to possibly be reconsidered for another issue of the DWT symposium.

The event was accompanied by an exhibition of companies that provide products and services in the fields of modelling and simulation:

Airbus Defence and Space, Concurrent, ESG, Eurosimtec, Fraunhofer FKI, IABG, OPTIS, Rheinmetall, Reiser Simulation and Training, RUAG, Saab, Systerra, Szenaris, Theissen Training Systems, and TrianGraphics.