New Ralph Regula School modeling initiative to transform policymakers' understanding of education's economic impact

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Mar 21, 2006) — 

OSC's Steve Gordon to Serve as Acting Director of School

“There is little wonder that independent studies into the future of the nation’s technology are unanimous in their conclusion that computer modeling and simulation are the key elements for achieving progress in engineering and science.”

– National Science Foundation, Blue Ribbon Panel on Simulation-Based Engineering Science. Feb. 2006

Ohio’s Ralph Regula School of Computational Science today announced a new initiative – Computational Analysis/Education and the Economy (CA/EE) – designed to model for policymakers the impact of education policy decisions on Ohio’s future.

Leading companies have learned that computer models can help them better understand their supply chains, allocate resources more effectively, design more creative products and move products to market more quickly. This initiative, to be led by Roderick G. W. Chu, senior advisor to the board of the Ralph Regula School, will apply these lessons to the design of new educational policies through the creation of a model of Ohio’s education system and its connection to the economy.

The model will allow a policymaker to suggest a certain policy change be entered and then gauge the resulting impacts of the policy in return. For instance, if a policymaker proposed increasing the amount devoted to financial aid by $100 million, what impact would that decision have on enrollment, retention and graduation rates? How would the economy benefit? Through this initiative, an answer can be gleaned to that question before introducing legislation.

“Nationally, businesses spend tens of millions of dollars every year to model supply chains and production processes to make sure resources are used as effectively as possible,” said Chu. “When governments plan new economic or workforce policies, they use econometric and workforce models to estimate the likely results. This project will provide Ohio with the tools to allow the state to understand how to use its higher education resources wisely and implement the policies that will have the greatest benefit for Ohioans.”

Chu, who has led Ohio higher education as chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents since 1998, will be stepping down from that post to lead the CA/EE initiative. Prior to coming to Ohio, Chu was a computing professional, with more than 20 years experience in the planning, design and implementation of information systems with Accenture, the global information technology firm. His Cornell MBA degree was in quantitative analysis: the use of data in management decision-making. In particular, his honors thesis centered on the use of computer modeling for aspects of supply chain management. Since taking the chancellorship, Chu’s deep understanding of P-16 education policy has been recognized nationally, with his election to the executive committee of the Education Commission of the States, as president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers and as a trustee of the College Board.

The CA/EE model will build on the extensive collection of data maintained by the Ohio Board of Regents, colleges and universities in Ohio and nationally, the federal government and other organizations. It will encompass the knowledge about higher education developed through the Regents’ Performance Reports and other reporting programs. The initiative also will leverage the technical support and expertise in computational science of the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

The board also appointed Steven I. Gordon, director of resources and planning for the Ohio Supercomputer Center, as acting director of the Ralph Regula School and David Barber, consultant for access and academic programs for the Ohio Board of Regents, as secretary to the board.

The Ralph Regula School of Computational Science is a statewide virtual school – a collaborative creation of the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio Learning Network, with participating colleges and universities. The school is dedicated to working with Ohio’s universities and colleges to help them provide students, from the high school through masters’ degree levels, with the opportunity to learn about computational science.

The CA/EE initiative will be used to support these educational programs and provide examples or projects showing the use of computational science in the social sciences, complementing the Ralph Regula School’s collaborations with other computer modeling initiatives: in the biological sciences through the University of Cincinnati’s Genome Research Institute and in the physical sciences through Ohio State University’s Center for the Advanced Maturation of Materials.

The Ralph Regula School builds on the tremendous assets Ohio already possesses – the Third Frontier Network and OSC’s Blue Collar Computing initiative – to expand computational science capabilities to small- and medium-sized companies in Ohio. Through this enhanced access, computational science education has the potential to transform Ohio’s economy as business and industry learn to employ powerful computational tools.

More information on the Ralph Regula School of Computational Science and the Computational Science initiative is available at