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January 27, 2004

Purdue Research Park firm simulates threat for armed forces

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - U.S. military and business representatives today (Tuesday, 1/27) got a firsthand look at a war game simulation designed by a Purdue Research Park company that allows participants to evaluate the social, political and economic impact of decisions made in the wake of a crisis.

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The two-day event, sponsored by the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), took place at the Purdue Technology Center. During the simulation, Simulex Inc. created a scenario in a virtual foreign country to test responses to a terrorist threat/attack using weapons of mass destruction.

"We're calling this 'war-gaming,' but what we are trying to do is understand how we can all work together to make the world a more peaceful place," said Alok Chaturvedi, Simulex co-founder and director of Purdue University's Homeland Security Institute. "Combat exercises are only one aspect of being peacekeepers. We can better achieve peace by realizing our weaknesses and strengths when it comes to understanding other cultures, their motives and reactions."

Learning how and why governments, companies, organizations and the public respond to certain situations, including terrorism, takes place within Simulex's SEAS™ technology, which was developed at Purdue.

Both associate professors of management at Purdue's Krannert School of Management, Simulex co-founders Chaturvedi and Shailendra Mehta have combined their research in distributed computing, artificial intelligence, agent-based synthetics environments, experimental economics and various disciplines of management science. Their work has led to the creation of computational models in which artificial agents are programmed with behavioral rules for interacting with each other and the environment.

For instance, during the simulation approximately 40 players from JFCOM, Purdue and Fortune 500 companies assumed various roles and interacted with artificial agents in a Web-based environment. The agents were designed to accurately mimic a wide variety of ethnic, gender and behavioral characteristics present in real people.

"The origin of this technology was in military war-gaming, but we moved into business, political and social war-gaming applications several years ago," Mehta said. "Besides homeland security, we can use the SEAS™ technology to help Fortune 500 companies to make market segments more profitable and to determine the best time to introduce a new technology, and the technology can even help airlines improve logistics."

Funding of more than $9 million from the National Science Foundation, Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, the Office of Naval Research, corporations such as Intel, and other business and government organizations have made the SEAS™ initiative possible.

Purdue Research Park encompasses 591 acres in West Lafayette and is home to the largest university-affiliated, state-of-the-art business incubator facility in the nation. Within the park, 104 businesses, of which 58 are high-tech, employ more than 2,200 people.

Writer: Jeanine Phipps, media relations, Purdue Research Park, (765) 494-0748,

Sources: Mary Snyder, media relations, Simulex Inc., (765) 463-2690,

Alok Chaturvedi, (765) 494-9048,

Shailendra Mehta, (765) 463-2690,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Bmal Shah (left), a systems engineer for Simulex Inc., runs a war game simulation for Dan Snyder from U.S. Joint Forces Command's Virginia division. The Purdue Research Park company is hosting a two-day simulation event for the military that allows participants to evaluate the social, political and economic impact of decisions made in the wake of a terrorist threat or attack using weapons of mass destruction. Also at the table are Shailendra Mehta and Alok Chaturvedi, Simulex co-founders and associate professors of management at Purdue's Krannert School of Management. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

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