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### Cultivating Future Digital Twin Experts: UCF Launches Innovative Graduate Program

UCF is expanding its Digital Twin program with a new graduate certificate program aimed at bolstering the talent pool for the rapidly growing digital twin industry in Central Florida and beyond. The School of Modeling, Simulation and Training at UCF has been awarded a $1.155 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to kickstart this initiative. This grant, part of the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) program, signifies a significant step towards educating the next generation in this transformative technology.

The program, slated to commence in either Spring or Fall of 2025, will be developed over the course of this year by SMST faculty, with implementation and evaluation planned for the subsequent two years. By leveraging digital twins, which are virtual replicas of intricate real-world systems, professionals across various domains can conduct analysis, prediction, optimization, and real-time decision-making.

UCF’s new certificate program will equip graduate students with the skills to design, implement, manage, and innovate digital twin technologies. Through this program, students will also have the opportunity to gain practical experience in the industry. The university plans to match the \(1.155 million FIPSE funding with an additional 25% in matching funds, bringing the total grant to nearly \)1.5 million.

Led by Ghaith Rabadi, the program will involve faculty members such as Roger Azevedo, Joe Kider, Sean Mondesire, Soheil Sabri, and Bulent Soykan from SMST, with Cyndia Muniz serving as an advisor. This initiative underscores UCF’s commitment to nurturing future researchers and innovators in the digital twin domain, which is increasingly integral to the regional and state economies.

Furthermore, UCF’s digital twin research spans various sectors, including microelectronics, space, multi-domain operations, AI-enabled capabilities, smart cities, and more. The university’s overarching goal is to develop a versatile digital twin framework and tools that can be tailored to the needs of governments, industries, and academia. This technology holds promise for applications in healthcare, transportation, defense, and smart cities.

UCF’s School of Modeling, Simulation and Training has a rich history of pioneering modeling, simulation, and training technologies, collaborating with esteemed entities such as NASA and the Department of Defense. With a focus on cutting-edge technologies like virtual and augmented reality, advanced modeling and simulation, and digital twins, the school is at the forefront of addressing contemporary challenges and shaping future technology leaders through its graduate-degree program.