NMSG Experts Honoured at Hybrid Meeting

22 November 2021

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The presentation, "From the Game Map to the Battlefield - Using Deepmind's Advanced Alphastar Techniques to Support Military Decision-Makers", presented by Maj Stefan Göricke and Daniel Kallfass, was voted Best Paper by the participants at the NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG) Symposium, 21-22 October in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Paolo De Heers presented a paper on "Multi-agent Reinforcement Learning using Simulated Quantum Annealing", for which he received the Young Scientist Award 2021.

Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Adrian Voiculet was honoured with the NMSG Excellence Award 2021 in recognition of his exemplary performance as Technical Officer of the Modelling and Simulation Coordination Office and as Acting Executive Officer. Since 2005, in the ever-changing NMSG community, Voiculet has always been the reliable and competent contact for many.

The NMSG Symposium theme was “Towards Training and Decision Support for Complex Multi-Domain Operations”. Keynotes were delivered by Auke Venema, Strategic Advisor NLD MoD, NLD STB Member and Col Mietta Groeneveld, Director NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence (NATO C2COE).

The programme committee had asked how military M&S systems could be modernised to meet the demands of a digitally savvy warfighter. In particular, the presentations should give an insight into how modern simulation solutions (e.g. Mixed Reality, Joint MTDS, M&S As a Service, AI-based simulation) could deliver cost-effective training. The programme committee selected 16 of the most relevant presentations, grouped into six thematic sessions.

The Symposium followed the NMSG Autumn Business Meeting, 18-20 October.

For the first time, participants could choose whether they wanted to attend the events in person or online. The business meeting brought together 42 members in-person plus over 20 joining remotely. 19 NATO and Partner countries and six NATO bodies were represented. Also participating, as the only non-NATO organisation, was the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organisation (SISO). Since 2007, NMSG and SISO have been working together under a technical cooperation agreement to develop standards for distributed modelling and simulation.

Host nation representative, BG Ludy Schmidt, Director of Plans, Directorate of Plans - Defence Staff, opened the business meeting, followed by an address from John-Mikal Stordal, Director of the Collaboration Support Office (CSO) of the NATO Science and Technology Organisation (STO) since July. In sub-groups and during plenary sessions, the experts then discussed the revision of the current work programme and proposals for further development.

NMSG re-elected its Chair, Dr Robert Siegfriend (DEU), for another year; Bharat Patel (GBR) was elected Vice-Chair.

Since 1999, the annual NSMG symposia have been valued for their contribution to promoting joint research and the exchange of information between the bodies of the Alliance, NATO members and partner countries. The new hybrid setting adds value to the event, although the number of online participants this year cannot really satisfy the organisers. Perhaps a little more "drumming" is needed to exploit online participation.

The chance to do so will be the next NMSG Annual Symposium, which will be held in Bath, UK in October 2022.


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