Home of Modeling and Simulation Research
Recognized as the modeling, simulation and training capital of the world, Orlando serves as a hub where government, academic institutions and industry employers come together to support national security measures and improve healthcare, among many other initiatives. Home to the National Center for Simulation and Training and host to the world’s largest industry conference — the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference — the region has experienced significant growth, making it the fastest-growing metro for STEM jobs in the U.S. Annually, Central Florida secures about $6 billion in modeling, training and simulation contracts involving top industry leaders including Lockheed, SAIC, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.
An industry that started by taking man to the moon, space now uses simulation-based technology across a variety of fields, from aviation to aerospace and defense to healthcare to gaming. Simulators recreate experiences through computer-driven software and are often used for training. Learning through experience often results in better retention compared to reading or lectures, making simulation a valuable training tool for a wide range of fields, such as engineering, psychology, history, philosophy, healthcare and public service, to name a few.
Cutting-Edge, Human-Centered Simulation Research
The School of Modeling, Simulation and Training (SMST) is a global leader in graduate education and is recognized for establishing modeling, simulation, and training as a recognized field of study. The school was established in 2018 and is an innovative, collaborative and immersive learning environment. SMST houses the Institute for Simulation & Training (IST), which conducts modeling, simulations and training research and development, as well as educating future industry leaders. Laboratory space within the institute, such as the prototype development and 3D print laboratory, transforms a number of ideas into products. IST is the largest institution of its kind.
Many projects developed through UCF’s modeling and simulation programs are used in the real world and impact the future of simulation, including a virtual co-pilot avatar for Boeing, smart-house technology in Lake Nona and a smart handle for medical assessments. The various tools used in the classroom replicate high-stress, high-consequence situations where quick decision-making is crucial. This first-hand experience builds a foundation for a high-performing workforce that will help define the future of simulation and training.
Alongside faculty, students and researchers, UCF’s alumni are a vital force in expanding research and deploying effective training solutions in simulation. Several have been recognized by the National Center for Simulation’s Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame for pioneering breakthroughs in live training and virtual-training systems to training hundreds of Navy pilots.
Statewide economic impact from modeling, simulation and training sales activity
Amount of Research Park’s organizations and businesses generate for the state’s GDP
People employed in the park affiliated with the military
Companies housed in the park, ranging from heavy hitters such as Boeing, Leidos, Lockheed and Raytheon to start-ups
Graduate degrees awarded by the School of Modeling, Simulation and Training
Years the Institute for Simulation and Training has served as a research arm for the university
We are second in the nation for simulation. Lockheed Martin Corp. and others see Central Florida as fertile ground for that partnership. UCF was the first to offer graduate degrees — master’s and doctorates — in modeling and simulation.”
Alumni Spotlight: Jason Eichenholz ’95MS ’98PhD
Self-driving cars have become the next major frontier in transportation. At the forefront of this movement is Luminar, a 7-year-old company co-founded by Jason Eichenholz ’95MS ’98PhD. The company, which is based in Silicon Valley and Central Florida Research Park, has developed more efficient and affordable methods for creating the technology behind these vehicles — earning partnerships with Audi, Toyota, Volvo and more than a dozen other autonomous vehicle programs. Among its crowning achievement is its development of a new lidar sensor that can see almost 10 times farther than other sensors and sells for as little as $500, compared with $75,000 for the current industry leader.
Do Something Big: UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science
UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science students share their experiences in the program — from the high-end facilities to the latest technologies and tools used both inside and outside of the classroom.
Modeling and Simulation News
Modeling and Simulation Degrees
Getting a degree in modeling and simulation sets students on the path to success — whether their goal is to work for a leading industry employer or start their own business. Our nationally recognized programs, including computer science and engineering, provide the foundation to accomplish big things.
Best bachelor’s degrees for modeling and simulation
Graduate degrees and certificates for career advancement in modeling and simulation
Top programs in other areas for modeling and simulation
Rankings and Accreditations
Top 20 Most Innovative University in the Nation
U.S. News & World Report ranks UCF as one of the most innovative in its annual list of best colleges.
Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans
U.S. News & World Report ranked UCF as one of the best online bachelor’s degree programs that help veterans reduce the cost of school.
Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
University of Central Florida is ranked No. 75 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
Ranked No. 86, UCF’s undergraduate computer science program received recognition from the U.S. News & World Report.
Growing Smarter. Faster. Together.
Located adjacent to UCF, Central Florida Research Park is recognized as one of the top 10 research parks in the world. This 1,027-acre corporate community provides an environment for industry and the university to share training facilities, pursue cooperative research, transfer existing technology to the marketplace, and provide internship and career opportunities for UCF students. As the world’s largest cluster of modeling, simulation and training companies, Research Park is home to the National Center for Simulation and Training as well as the nation’s Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines simulation operations.
The park also offers startup resources such as I-Corps and the UCF Business Incubation Program to help entrepreneurs get their feet off the ground and on the path to success. By providing the knowledge, industry mentors, and other tools needed to launch a new business or product, our area is committed to fostering innovation that will change the future of our state, region and nation.
Modeling and Simulation Companies Employing UCF Graduates
- Lockheed Martin
- Northrop Grumman
- L3Harris Technologies
- Raytheon Technical Services Company
- Luminar Technologies
Institutes, Associations & Affiliations
- Florida Space Institute
- Unmanned Aerial Systems Research
- Florida High Tech Corridor
- Institute for Simulation and Training
- Federal Aviation Administration
- FIEA (Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy)
- Townes Laser Institute
- Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center (AMPAC)