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VMASC Risk Analysis Work Cited by Leading Journal

Work by researchers at Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) has been cited as one of the 10 most important accomplishments in risk analysis in the past 20 years.

The most recent issue of the journal Risk Analysis cited "Applying Intelligent Agent Models to Terrorism" as No. 8 on the list of risk analysis advancements.

The journal authors write that in the decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, risk analysis "was extended and applied to risks of deliberate attacks on infrastructure, population centers, food supply chains and other vulnerable targets by intelligent agents with motives and capabilities that may not be fully understood by defenders."

Much of the research work citied featured proposed methods and models for assessing and comparing threats, vulnerabilities and consequences of attacks to help allocate defensive priorities. A research paper by VMASC scientists John Sokolowski, Barry Ezell and Andy Collins, "Probabilistic Risk Analysis and Terrorism Risk," was cited as one of the key sources of that accomplishment in risk analysis.

"Modeling and simulation continues to show its value as a method for exploring solutions to complex issues," said Sokolowski, VMASC's executive director. "Because of VMASC and ODU's multidisciplinary approach and significant expertise in M&S, we are able to contribute to solving a wide array of problems in many domains. This recognition is clear evidence of the importance of M&S's contribution to solving real-world problems that are not easily understood by other means."

Ezell, VMASC's chief scientist, added: "Our work in risk analysis helped people see that one big model or simulation is not sufficient to cover the landscape of terrorism risk analysis, adversary modeling and threat-shifting behavior. Multiple models working on different aspects of motivation, intent and preferences, as well as the scenarios and incident chain, are leading to more defensible results of a terrorism event."

Published on behalf of the Society for Risk Analysis, the journal Risk Analysis provides a focal point for new developments in the field of risk analysis. An international, peer-reviewed journal, Risk Analysis is committed to publishing critical empirical research and commentaries dealing with risk issues. The topics covered include: human health and safety risks, engineering, mathematical modeling, and risk characterization, communication, management and decision-making.