November 2021
Message from the Division President

Dear M&S Division Members,

The world of Modeling and Simulation (M&S) is expanding, with new application areas appearing each year. I recently read some articles on using M&S to help archaeologists, and a few years ago, I saw a presentation on using agent-based modeling to study Mark Twain’s social circles. During a recent data analysis study of the M&S literature, some colleagues and I were able to show that the M&S author demographics are expanding to include more and more countries each year. M&S was once claimed to be the “method of last resort,” but now, as Thomas Lucas and colleagues put it, “simulation, now a method of first resort.” M&S is finding its rightful place in the world. As the world of M&S is expanding, our professional social networks need to expand as well.

As we begin to emerge out of the COVID pandemic, there is a desire to reconnect. With new acquaintances, with colleagues, with friends. We hope to make the M&S division somewhere that provides you with that opportunity. As such, our intention, as a division, is to arrange some ad-hoc meet-ups at the various conferences we all might attend, including, of course, IISE annual conference. Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected], or any of the committee members, if you wish to get involved.

I would like to thank the 2021 M&S track chairs; John Shortle (GMU), Greg Zerr (Marathon Petroleum Corporation), and Prashanth Rajivan (University of Washington); for leading the charge over the last two conferences. I know that the virtual format brought its own challenges, and I appreciate their leadership in getting us through it. Greg and Prashanth are returning to help coordinate our IISE 2022 Annual Conference efforts (May 21-24 in Seattle), along with Rick Haberlin (Mitre). This newsletter contains:

  • M&S Leadership
  • 2022 IISE Annual Conference and Expo
  • Research Spotlight: Dr. Shima Mohebbi, George Mason University
  • Research Spotlight: Lun Li, Graduate Student at University of Washington
  • Research Spotlight: Gayane Grigoryan, Ph.D. student at Old Dominion University
  • Computational Modeling Resource Spotlight: COMSOL®
  • Mentor Match Program
  • Call for Entries to the Division's Newsletter
  • Join the M&S Division!

All the best,

Andrew Collins
IISE M&S Division President
M&S Division Board Members
See the complete listing below.
John Shortle (2021 – 2022)
George Mason University

Amrita Basak (2020 – 2022)
Role: Director of Newsletter
Penn State University

Jessica Perry (2020 – 2022)
Role: Director of Outreach and Networking
Department of Energy

Salvador Romo (2019 – 2021)
Role: Secretary
Caroline Krejci (2021 – 2022)
Role: Immediate Past President
University of Texas at Arlington

Allen Greenwood (2020 – 2022)
Role: Director of Technical Content
FlexSim Software Products, Inc.
Mississippi State University

Katie Prochaska (2020 – 2022)
Role: Director of Awards

Rick Haberlin (2021-23)
Role: Director of Events and Conferences

Greg Zerr (2021 – 2023)
Role: Director-at-large
Marathon Petroleum Corporation
2022 IISE Annual Conference and Expo (contributed by the M&S Track Chairs)

The Modeling & Simulation Division of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) is sponsoring the Modeling & Simulation Track at the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2022. The conference is a forum for exchanging knowledge and discoveries in the industrial and systems engineering research and practitioner communities. The IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2022 will continue to integrate research and industry applications under one conference.

Authors of accepted abstracts and presentation summaries will be invited to present their work in a conference session. Regular sessions will be 80 minutes and have up to four presenters. This year, two types of papers will be considered: research papers and case study papers.

  • Research papers (with a limit of six pages) contain methods and results that are significant and have archival value to the industrial and systems engineering community. They will undergo a double-blind peer review process and accepted papers will be copyrighted and indexed in the Conference Proceedings via ProQuest. 

  • Case study papers (of two to six pages) describe the application of a method or technology that addresses an important industry-motivated issue. They will be reviewed to ensure that the content focuses on the value and lessons learned for the industrial and systems engineering community. The case study papers should avoid significant marketing material. Accepted manuscripts will be published with access via the IISE website. 

Important deadlines: 

  • Notification of decision on abstract/presentation summary: December 6, 2021
  • Paper submission deadline: January 20, 2022 (Paper submission is optional but encouraged.)        
  • Speaker registration deadline: January 20, 2022 (Applies to all accepted speakers not submitting a paper for review.)
  • Notification of decision on paper: March 1, 2022
  • Presenting author registration deadline: March 7, 2022 (Applies to all remaining speakers.)
  • Paper final revision submission deadline: March 14, 2022
Presenters submitting an abstract or presentation summary only (without a paper) must register by January 20, 2022. Presenters submitting a paper for consideration are granted an extended registration deadline of March 7, 2022. All presenters must register for the conference to avoid having their presentations/papers withdrawn from the program and the proceedings. The presenting author must attend and present the paper at the conference.

2022 Modeling & Simulation Track Chairs:

Research Spotlight
The application domain of modeling is ubiquitous. In each issue of our newsletter, we feature researchers who are working on the cutting edge of M&S applications. In this issue, we are glad to feature Dr. Shima Mohebbi, Lun Li and Ms. Gayane Grigoryan.
Dr. Shima Mohebbi
Shima Mohebbi is an assistant professor in the Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research at George Mason University. Shima is also a core faculty of C-RASC (Center for Resilient and Sustainable Communities) at Mason. Her research interests include simulation (discrete-event, agent-based, system dynamics), game theory, network optimization, and interpretable machine learning. Shima has collaborated across disciplines including civil engineering, computer science, social science, and nursing. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Shima is also passionate about engineering education and outreach activities.

What do you work on?
My students and I are currently working on developing hybrid simulation models, reinforced with machine learning algorithms for spatiotemporal data. Agent-based simulation is a bottom-up approach to model collaborative/conflicting, autonomous, and distributed behaviors of decision-makers or network components in complex systems. System dynamics modeling, on the other hand, is a top-down approach to understand the structure and dynamics of complex systems and analyze long-term policies and strategies. We are coupling these two simulation models to quantify the resilience of interdependent infrastructure systems in face of extreme events. In this framework, agents/stakeholders absorb top-level information (e.g., from their respective organizations), utilize it in their decision-making process, and learn from data and past experiences. This framework is grounded in graph theory and routing to model the cyber-physical characteristics of infrastructure networks.

How can your research be applied to another field?
This simulation platform can serve as an integrative tool to model various cyber-physical, social systems and critical infrastructures that can be represented via networks. Once specific disruptions or failures occur in network components (nodes/edges), their effect and uncertainty propagate to other components and interdependent networks over time. The disruptive event can range from pandemics such as COVID-19 and weather-related events to cyber attacks, and breakdowns due to aging infrastructures. Simulating the cascading impacts and the involved uncertainty considering socio-economic factors is challenging and yet crucial for allocating scarce resources and enhancing systems resilience.

What suggestions do you have for other researchers to join this accelerating field of adaptive simulation models?
Most real-world processes are fundamentally stochastic and uncertain. Ability to understand the theory and applications of computational probability and simulation models is crucial in this field. Although simulation software packages provide built-in modules and functions, it is still important to understand the logic behind random number generators and the underlying probability distributions, causation vs. correlation, and differential equations for social dynamics and policy analysis. For some of my research projects, I ended up starting from scratch and building simulation models in Python or Java. Furthermore, while simulation models provide us with a flexible platform to capture randomness / stochasticity and analyze complex adaptive systems, the simulation fidelity and validation remain critical and challenging. It is crucial that researchers choose appropriate validation strategies and spend enough time to verify and validate their simulation models. Involving domain experts and/or end-users in validation efforts would significantly add values to projects.

Will you be able to provide any open access resources for our readers?
I would refer our readers to the Winter Simulation Conference Archive. A wide range of tutorials and papers related to the theory and applications of discrete-event and agent-based simulation can be found there. It is exciting to see how other engineering disciplines and social scientists have successfully utilized simulation modeling to study different application domains.
Lun Li
Lun Li is a graduate student at the University of Washington. He is working on several simulation and modeling related projects.

What do you work on?
I work on projects in health care where simulation models are used as a tool for decision-making and system improvement. Depending on the focus, DES and agent-based models are usually used, together with other methods in human factors, operations research, etc.

How can your research be applied to another field?
The methodology itself does not really change no matter what kind of problem one applies it to. Being able to see the similarities between problems and approaching them from a methodological point of view can usually help in the process of using known knowledge to solve new problems.

What suggestions do you have for other researchers to join this accelerating field of health care?
Health care systems are usually very complicated and have a lot of human activities involved. Those activities are not all well understood and often pose challenges to the accurate modelling of the systems. Therefore, it is important that the modeler has some knowledge in human factors and other related fields so that the model developed is accurate and credible. My suggestion for fellow researchers who are interested in this field is to expand the width of your knowledge and use it to better serve the purpose of simulation modelling.

Will you be able to provide any open access resources for our readers?
I find that the most useful resources are often times the open-source documentations for the software/packages that I use and online forums such as Stack Exchange.
Ms. Gayane Grigoryan
Gayane Grigoryan is a Ph.D. student at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering department. She had received an MA in Economics from ODU in 2017.

What do you work on?
My research interests are Explainable Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, feature selection, econometrics, and cooperative game theory applications to complex systems.

How can your research be applied to another field?
I work on Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) and Game Theory, which deploys mathematical models to improve the interpretability of black-box models without sacrificing their accuracy. I have applied these approaches to analyze different datasets, and this approach can be used to analyze systems, such as trading or financial systems, healthcare, or network analysis. My research is applicable to many fields that are complex and heavily rely on a large number of datasets to extract knowledge.

What suggestions do you have for other researchers to join this accelerating field of XAI?
My suggestion is to be open to the new development of the field that provides exciting opportunities for the analysis. XAI is very useful for model design and understanding the factors that can be correlated or have some interdependencies. Understanding how XAI using cooperative game theory can contribute to some problems of interest can be helpful to untangle their complexities.

Will you be able to provide any open access resources for our readers?
Some of my papers can be found here on ResearchGate:
Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Teaching Award
Annual Award for Excellence in the Teaching of M&S

The Modeling & Simulation (M&S) Division of IISE invites nominations for its annual award recognizing excellence in teaching M&S courses. The award will be presented at the upcoming 2022 IISE Annual Conference in Seattle May 2022.

Eligibility Criteria:
  • The candidate must be a member of IISE,
  • The course for which he/she is being recognized must be an undergraduate/graduate course in Modeling and/or Simulation within an engineering or similar programs,
  • The candidate should have been preparing and teaching the course materials for at least three years.

Application Process: 
The candidate can be nominated by a faculty or a student, who has taken the course from the candidate. The following documents will be asked for nomination:
  • A one-page teaching statement and philosophy by the individual being nominated 
  • Course syllabus and supporting items such as samples of different instructional materials used in teaching the course for which the candidate is being recognized
  • Curriculum Vitae of the candidate
  • Encourage up to three letters of support from faculty and students

The nominations will be due February 14th, 2022 by midnight (CST). All of the application documents must be e-mailed as a single PDF file/a single compressed file to the Director of Awards (Katie Prochaska at [email protected]) by the due date for full consideration. There will be no application fee. The nomination packages will be considered for following three years of the award unless updated.

Katie Prochaska
Senior Project Engineer
Simio LLC
The COMSOL Multiphysics® software brings a user interface and experience that is always the same, regardless of engineering application and physics phenomena. Add-on modules provide specialized functionality for electromagnetics, structural mechanics, acoustics, fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical engineering. Choose from a list of LiveLink™ products to interface directly with CAD and other third-party software. Deploy simulation applications with COMSOL Compiler™ and COMSOL Server™ – From

There are webinars are free to attend and offered in several different languages. Check this out:

You can also browse through their archived webinars for free!
Have you Signed Up for Mentor Match in Connect?
IISE has launched a Mentor Match program. This unique online networking and career development tool helps you find, connect, and share experiences with others. Your mentor or mentee can be in the same city or on the other side of the world. Both mentors and mentees fill out a profile to which both parties can search for a match. Once connected they can communicate and develop a mentorship. Read more here to participate in this program. Contact Kathy Gamboa ([email protected]) if you have any questions regarding this exciting mentor program.
Call for Entries to the Division's Newsletter
The Division is publishing its newsletters and hereby soliciting news entries. This is a great opportunity to showcase interesting and impactful research, professional practice, and educational efforts within the Division. The solicited story will go into the following blocks in the newsletter: Research on the News, Practical Applications, and Education and Outreach. It would be great if you could:

(1) Prepare your story write-up within 300 words (write it in plain language for diverse audiences)
(2) Provide a nice picture together with the story
(3) Provide a link (if possible) to a detail version of the story (hyperlink to your project public webpage, etc.).

Please email your information and materials to Dr. Amrita Basak ([email protected]) and your entry will appear in the next available division newsletter. PDF versions of our newsletters are available for our members on the IISE Connect (M&S Division Library folder).
Have you considered a corporate membership? If not, why? Companies large and small enjoy the benefits. Include your entire team and receive all the benefits of individual membership, plus lowest rates to attend the Conferences and much more.
Contact Doug Long IISE Global Director for Strategic Alliances for more details.