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Defense Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis: Meeting the Challenge
developed. Military universities such as West Point and the Naval Postgraduate School should also offer social network and MAS courses. The development of such curricula and degree programs is vital to our national intellectual strength if we are to remain at the forefront in this area and to have a stronger workforce of computational social analysts capable of developing and using social behavioral models.
Analysts engaged in social behavioral modeling who are trained in computer science, engineering, or physics should work in teams with social scientists to avoid reinventing the wheel or making common-sense assumptions about social processes that have no empirical basis. Corporations need to provide time and resources for selected personnel to become jointly trained in computer science and social science either by increasing the number of personnel sent to master’s programs, bringing in relevant faculty to teach short courses, or engaging in more joint research with universities as equal partners contributing the missing skill, social or computational. The key advantage of teaming is that it will improve model development and will serve as a stopgap until more computational social analysts are trained.
Success in the activities outlined above would facilitate the rapid development and deployment of social behavioral models that allow systematic reasoning about various courses of action in a wide range of realms. More courses of action could be evaluated in less time and more systematically than is done with conventional tabletop war gaming or current non-computer-assisted analysis of relational data. Such models would also reduce time spent in data processing and increase time spent in analysis and interpretation. They would facilitate what-if analysis and could ultimately support near-real-time, what-if analysis in the field. This would be a clear force multiplier.
These activities would increase the maturity of this field, improve scientific theory, facilitate rapid linking of models to solve novel problems, and encourage new discoveries. They would promote the development of a new science that combines computation and society, just as the previous combination of computer science, design, and psychology led to the new science of human-computer interaction.
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