Abstract: Large-scale efforts are underway across the US government to enable more data-centric organizations and leverage all types of digital information to improve decision-making effectiveness and efficiency. In the DoD, test and evaluation organizations (T&E) are uniquely positioned to lead digital transformation in that knowledge from digital system representation has the opportunity to inform efficient and effective test strategies. Furthermore, digital transformation provides the opportunity and challenges of developing new methods for T&E that leverage digital information (e.g., model-based systems engineering models, digital twins, etc.). In this talk, Dr. Freeman will discuss the current state of the art, barriers to digital transformation, and how T&E can leverage digital transformation to improve decision-making. She will highlight a collaborative research project between the University of Arizona and Virginia Tech that aims to provide new methods that enable digital transformation. Dr. Freeman will review research areas of emphasis to include integrating disparate sources of information such that T&E can capitalize on information from digital models. She will discuss a new concept of test-driven systems engineering to support knowledge transfer.
Bio: Dr. Laura Freeman is a research associate professor of statistics and dual-hatted as the deputy director of the Virginia Tech National Security Institute and assistant Dean for Research for the College of Science. Her research leverages experimental methods for conducting research that brings together cyber-physical systems, data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to address critical challenges in national security. She develops new methods for test and evaluation focusing on emerging system technology. She focuses on transitioning emerging research to solve challenges in Defense and Homeland Security. She is also a hub faculty member in the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative and leads research in AI Assurance. As the assistant dean for research for the College of Science, in that capacity, she works to shape research directions and collaborations across the College of Science in the Greater Washington D.C. area.
Previously, Dr. Freeman was the assistant director of the Operational Evaluation Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses. In that position, she established and developed an interdisciplinary analytical team of statisticians, psychologists, and engineers to advance scientific approaches to DoD test and evaluation. During 2018, Dr. Freeman served as the acting senior technical advisor for Director Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). As the senior technical Advisor, Dr. Freeman provided leadership, advice, and counsel to all personnel on technical aspects of testing military systems. She reviewed test strategies, plans, and reports from all systems on DOT&E oversight.
Dr. Freeman has a BS in aerospace engineering, an MS in statistics and a Ph.D. in statistics, all from Virginia Tech. Her Ph.D. research was on the design and analysis of experiments for reliability data.