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CIPS INTERVIEWS: Professor Gabriel Wainer, Multi-awarding Winning Top Researcher

INTERVIEWS by STEPHEN IBARAKI, FCIPS, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P, MVP, DF/NPA, CNP

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Professor Gabriel Wainer.

Professor Gabriel WainerGabriel A. Wainer (SMSCS, SMIEEE) received M.Sc. (1993) and Ph.D. degrees (1998, with highest honors) from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina, and Université d'Aix-Marseille III, France. After being Assistant Professor at the Computer Science Department of UBA, in July 2000 he joined the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering at Carleton University, where he is now an Associate Professor. He has been a visiting scholar at ACIMS (The University of Arizona); LSIS/CNRS, University of Nice and INRIA (Sophia-Antipolis), France.

He is the author of three books and over 240 research articles; he edited four other books, and helped organize over 110 conferences, including being one of the founders of SIMUTools and SimAUD. Professor Wainer is the Vice-President Publications, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the SCS. He is also the Chair of the Ottawa Center of The McLeod Institute of Simulation Sciences. He is Special Issues Editor of SIMULATION, member of the Editorial Board of Wireless Networks (Elsevier), Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation, and International Journal of Simulation and Process Modelling (Inderscience). He is the head of the Advanced Real-Time Simulation lab, located at Carleton University's Centre for advanced Simulation and Visualization (V-Sim).

He has been the recipient of various awards, including the IBM Eclipse Innovation Award, SCS Leadership Award, and various Best Paper awards. He has been awarded Carleton University's Research Achievement Award (2005-2006), the First Bernard P. Zeigler DEVS Modeling and Simulation Award, and the SCS Outstanding Professional Award (2011).

Further information can be found at:
Gabriel A. Wainer
Dept. of Systems and Computer Engineering
Carleton University
http://www.sce.carleton.ca/faculty/wainer

More about one part of Gabriel's work:
The Advanced Real-Time Simulation Laboratory is an advanced Modeling & Simulation research facility, located in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering (Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada). The laboratory is physically located at the Carleton University Centre for Visualization and Simulation (V-Sim). ARSLab is an Associate Team of INRIA (DISSIMINET).

The laboratory investigates different mechanisms to automate the generation of executable models, and their integration with real-time data (coming from sensors, satellites, phones, etc). The research focuses in interfacing different tools, with a focus on having simulation everywhere. This enables users to analyze massive simulation data in an intuitive and efficient fashion with increased realism, responsiveness (or interactivity), and immersion.

In recent years, the lab has developed new methods to include simulation services in remote servers using RESTful Web Services.

Further details can be found in http://cell-devs.sce.carleton.ca and a variety of demos and videos can be found in their YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/arslab.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.
http://blogs.technet.com/b/cdnitmanagers/

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:21:   Gabriel, you have a strong history of significant global impact in research and innovation. Thank you for sharing your considerable expertise, deep accumulated insights, and wisdom with our audience.
"....Thank you for the opportunity. It's a very exciting chance to be able to share with your audience what we have been doing the last few years...."

:00:44:   Gabriel, tell us more about your work as the head of the Advanced Real-Time Simulation lab, located at Carleton University's Centre for Advanced Simulation and Visualization (V-Sim)? What value does this provide and to which stakeholders?
"....The main focus is real-time simulation. We are trying to interface simulated models that try to mimic what happens in the real world with the real-time controllers that we create to control those systems....Our main focus is in the methodologies and in doing this we are studying the techniques to improve this kind of mechanism and studying methods to make it cheaper for the developer at the end. Easier to test, simpler to understand; the bottom line is that we want to reduce the cost of these simulations and the real-time systems ending with a higher quality product. We also study how to mix and match different kinds of technologies and methodologies under the same umbrella, which is usually fairly complicated to do...."

:04:24:   Describe the future implications of your work that led to the Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS) Leadership Award?
"....This was an award that I received in 2007 and was mostly related to a conference that I helped organize. The bottom line is in that conference we were able to bring a very large number of very high quality articles. We completely redid the review mechanism and we ended up having a higher quality conference. I gained a lot of experience after organizing that conference and I started another new conference with colleagues in India and France (ICST) called SimuTools
. The experience also allowed me to bring new workshops in the area. One of them which has become very popular in the last couple of years that I helped launch is called the Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design....We were also able to completely redo one of the oldest symposiums that we have in the field that is now called the Symposium of Theory of Modeling Simulation....The starting point for all of this was the SCS Leadership Award...."

:06:42:   You've also received the Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS) award called the Outstanding Professional Contribution Award and they've only given out ten of these awards since 1992. Can you tell us more about this award and why you received it?
"....This is an award that the SCS gives for innovative concepts or products or creative insight. The idea is that they give this to people who develop a new idea that has been embraced by a significant segment of the modeling simulation community....They gave me this award for my contribution in advancing the state-of-the-art in discrete-event modeling and simulations...."

:08:11:   How will your research from the Best Paper awards evolve?
"....We recently received a couple of Best Paper awards....We do research in very related areas and some of them bridge different topics but the main focus is real-time simulation....We do methodology and theory. One of my Best Paper awards with one of my students involves methods to try to convert very high level models into simulations that can be run automatically....Right now we are working on an overall theory called a Framework for Modeling and Experimentation based on all of these ideas. That was one of my recent awards....Another one is based on the practical use of all of these theories because the theoretical work is very interesting but then we need to be able to use it...."

:14:15:   What is the lasting significance of your work resulting from the First Bernard P. Zeigler DEVS Modeling and Simulation Award, and the SCS Outstanding Professional Award (2011)?
"....The award recognizes innovations in modeling and simulation in method and also in applications on tools. The award was given because of my work in the invention of the Cell-DEVS formalism, which is an extension of DEVS that allows you to combine discrete-event models and cellular models....This methodology has been used by many different projects by our own team and it has influenced other work by other people....The tools have been used for modeling in a wide variety of areas ranging from environmental sciences medical engineering....We have an open repository and a website for the community...."

:17:00:   Can you forecast where you see your work leading to in 10 years time?
"....Right now what we are trying to do is move toward having simulation everywhere. The plan is to hold simulation services on the Cloud and to deploy those services into mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, your laptop.... "

:19:35:   I understand that some of your students are entering the Imagine Cup — why are they doing that?
"....They are doing their graduation project as an Imagine Cup project....When they saw the UNESCO challenge that would allow them to do something to change the world, it was an exciting thing for them....They also wanted the opportunity to interact with other students and people with the same philosophy - people trying to work together for change for the good. They also like the idea of competing...."

:21:16:   Why are you supporting this program?
"....I think it's a really unique opportunity for them to learn....The opportunity to mingle and mix with other students around the world, I think this opportunity is unparalleled. There are too many opportunities about this to not take it...."

:22:43:   Describe the research behind their work and the wider implications?
"....The whole point here is to try to move forward in the direction of my research trying to integrate Cloud Computing, Real-Time data, information on your smartphones. One of the two projects for us is called the Friendly Neighbourhood and the students' idea is to create a set of applications that anyone can download. It will not be a single application but a suite of applications. It will provide the members of a given community with a mechanism to spread out information about services....The second application has a lot of simulation involved and it's a platform for remote learning. The idea is that our simulation software is hosted in the cloud and we will have it there accessible for the world. The students will build a client engine with advanced graphics that will be able to run on smartphones or portable devices or laptops....One of the things that excites me the most is that I have been only mentoring the team. Everything they are doing are their own ideas under my guidance. That gets me even more excited every day because they come every week with new things and new ideas and better things to do...."

:27:32:   What impact do you see this having on Microsoft and in mobile and cloud development?
"....We are very interested in collaborating with Microsoft in this idea of integrating prediction with simulation by putting the simulation on the cloud and getting our results on the Windows phone platforms. So my two teams for Imagine Cup are working on Azure for the Cloud and Windows 7 phones for the smartphone platform for development. We have the first prototypes of the applications....The technology for the location devices and the maps is well established and the cloud computing services are well established too. We want to go a step further and try to introduce things like predictions with Real-Time data based on all of this. We also are able to incorporate all of these things into a 3D environment...."

:31:35:   Where specifically can one find the best resources for the work being done by your students?
"....My central hub is my lab webpage: http://cell-devs.sce.carleton.ca
....http://www.youtube.com/ArsLab (Advanced Realtime Systems Lab)...."

:33:29:   Do you have any additional comments you would like to make? Gabriel, with your demanding schedule, we are indeed fortunate to have you come in to do this interview. Thank you for sharing your substantial wisdom with our audience.
"....Thank you again for the opportunity to share what we have been working on with this community...."
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