Yet Another Virtual Iraq
With Assistant Professor Stacy Holden, students are working closely with Simulex, a private government contractor, to build a database that can model the urban environment of Baghdad.
So how are the students finding such specific information about a city nearly 6,500 miles away?
Guided by a list of 700 research terms provided by the Department of Defense, a half-dozen students are scanning English-language Web sites. They’re looking for Iraqi memoirs and blogs and taking information from media reports and non-governmental organizations. Any little bit or detail that could be useful is added to the database.
Richard Oloffson, a graduate student from Naperville, Ill., working on the project, calls it “Virtual Iraq.”
He says if he’s looking at a neighborhood he wants to know, “the ethnic makeup, the religious makeup, is there raw sewage in the street, is there disease?”