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Rodel Foundation of Arizona to invest $1M to create new modeling platform to improve decision-making

A stylized computer rendering of Tempe, featuring "A" Mountain, Sun Devil Stadium and Tempe Town Lake.

The Rodel Arizona Futures Simulator will allow users to examine the effects of proposed policies in extreme detail.

May 03, 2022

Arizona is undergoing rapid growth and complex change at every level. The Intermountain West is the nation's fastest-growing region, and Phoenix is the nation's fastest-growing city. Charting a successful path forward will require new perspectives, focus and decision-making tools.

To that end, Arizona State University is partnering with the Rodel Foundation of Arizona to create the Rodel Arizona Futures Simulator, which will enable leaders of business, education, philanthropy and government, as well as ordinary citizens, to pose questions to a supercomputer that can simulate answers demonstrating how proposed ideas will play out over time.

"The increasing rate of change, complexity and need for social transformation is accelerating at an unprecedented pace," ASU President Michael Crow said. "As a public university committed to serving the success of our democracy, ASU is partnering with the Rodel Foundation to leverage our university's technological innovation and develop a tool that will help our community drive progress through enhanced decision-making."

The simulator will leverage existing capabilities, investments and data on every issue important to the future of Arizona, making it easier to understand complicated subjects in-depth and fully explore the implications of proposed policies. It will be the first comprehensive simulator platform broadly focused on the future of Arizona.

ASU has long been a leader in this kind of technology, and the Rodel Arizona Futures Simulator will build on this experience by integrating the projects and expanding the datasets of the university’s Decision Theater, the ASU Helios Decision Center for Educational Excellence, the Decision Center for a Desert City and the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience.

The simulator will be able to address a full range of policy issues, from education to infrastructure to health and well-being to jobs and economic opportunity, as well as environment and sustainability. And, because the platform will be accessible remotely, teams will be able to collaborate across Arizona, the United States and the world.

"This is a valuable tool that will lead to better-informed decisions by linking critical information to initiatives," according to Don Budinger, chairman of the Rodel Foundation of Arizona, a graduate of the University of Arizona, a trustee of ASU and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University.