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Security Symposium Taps ARA Expert on Modeling, Simulation

Joseph Smith, ARA Senior Vice President, spoke about the advantages of and advances in simulation and modeling at a recent seminar of the American Society of Industrial Security, a leading organization for security management professionals.

His September talk titled "Can Modeling and Simulation Really Save Lives?" focused on the evolution of modeling and simulation at the symposium at California's Anaheim Convention Center, which drew more than 19,000 security professionals from industry, government and law enforcement along with product manufacturers and service providers from 90 countries.

The ASIS organization calls the annual forum the most comprehensive education and networking event in the security industry. Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in the recent Bush administration, served as the keynote speaker.

Security Management Magazine covered Smith's presentation in its December 2009 issue and in an online article. Click here for online article.

Smith, who manages special projects for ARA's Security Engineering and Applied Sciences Sector, called models and simulations essential because of the difficulty of realistically re-creating large-scale evacuations in egress (exit) drills in real life. These simulations might not take into account how chemicals and gases affect evacuations as well as how fortified alternative exits can thwart escapes, he added.

The nationally known security and blast consultant also spoke about "agent-based simulation." Smith helped develop the E-SIM Event Simulator software for ARA in which humans are autonomous agents with individual characteristics. E-SIM can model based on optimal egress scenarios and other situations, and uses realistic human behavior. In his remarks, Smith added that models must take into consideration everything from physical abilities to mental distractions, such as when an individual is evacuating with small children.

Smith has 28 years of experience in security engineering and explosion effects from conventional, nuclear and improvised (terrorist) explosions. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Columbia University.