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Building Real Security With Virtual Worlds

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University of Maryland (UM) researchers are combining computerized modeling and group behavior predictions with video-game graphics to create virtual worlds that defense analysts can use to predict the results of military and policy actions.

"Defense analysts can understand the repercussions of their proposed recommendations for policy options or military actions by interacting with a virtual world environment," says UM professor V.S. Subrahmanian. "They can propose a policy option and walk skeptical commanders through a virtual world where the commander can literally 'see' how things might play out." Computer scientists have created a "pretty good chunk" of the computing theory and software needed to build a virtual Afghanistan, Pakistan, or another "world," Subrahmanian says.

Maryland researchers have developed artificial intelligence software that uses data about past behavior of groups to create rules about the probability of a group's potential actions in different situations. The researchers also have developed "cultural islands," which give a virtual world representation of a real-world environment or terrain, populated with characters from that part of the world who follow a behavior model. They also have developed the CONVEX and CAPE forecasting engines, which focus on predicting behavioral changes in groups using validated and historical data.

"We are now at the point where, with the help of the analysts, we can start thinking about building computer-generated models that can automatically adapt to changes in group behaviors and to conditions on the ground," Subrahmanian says.

From University of Maryland
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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