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A modeling and simulation engineer has started a LinkedIn networking group for scientists and engineers from his native West Africa to share contacts, knowledge and best practices.

The group, known as Scientists and Engineers for the Progress of Africa (SEPA), was started in January by Saikou Diallo, research associate professor at ODU's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, who hails from Guinea, in West Africa.

Diallo, who has been at the university since 1998, earning three degrees, said SEPA is meant to be a forum for scientists and engineers interested in improving the quality of life in Africa through scientific and engineering means.

"The mission of SEPA is to promote the advancement of science and engineering through education, collaboration and investment; crowdsource African problems; and be a major think tank that contributes in shaping the future of Africa," Diallo said.

"Our objectives are to help formulate, implement and support future projects; help secure funding for projects; help provide technical support for grant and proposal writing; and participate in the peer review of scientific work," Diallo said.

The group members are, collectively working on several initiatives, including summer study programs and partnerships with Western universities.

Diallo's expertise is in modeling and simulation, particularly the interoperability between different systems. He said M&S interoperability is a valuable skill that can be used to bring together the disparate elements of engineering in Africa, at far different levels of technological advancement and applicability, to determine how they can be applied to solve common problems.

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Published on: March 1, 2013