Michael Century on Sat, 28 Aug 1999 20:05:31 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> the new Military-Entertainment Complex

Meet the brave new world of "intelligent animated agents".  Front page
news in Los Angeles last week. 

Forwarded by
Michael Century
Centre for Research on Canadian Cultural Industries and Institutions
McGill University
3465 Peel
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1W7
Téléphone: (514) 398-4929 Fax: (514) 398-4934


Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera today will sign a $45 million contract
with the University of Southern California to establish an institute to
develop state-of- the art modeling and simulation technologies for
military and educational purposes. 

The U.S. Army can see that there is tremendous value in leveraging
advances in modeling and simulation technologies to improve the realism
and quality of its training simulations, leader-development exercises and
even the capabilities the Army will look for in future weapons acquisition
programs, Army officials said. 

"We found a high-tech solution with this USC partnership to deliver those
improvements in education and military training for the next century," 
Caldera said.  "The USC Institute for Creative Technologies [ICT] will be
a joint effort of the Army, the entertainment industry and academe -- an
innovative team to advance dazzling new media and ultimately benefit
training and education for everyone in America."

Caldera points out that the new technologies will help the Army make a
quantum leap forward in preparing soldiers for diverse missions in the
world of tomorrow.  "This will revolutionize the way the Army trains its
soldiers and how it rehearses for missions," he said.

Steven B. Sample, president of USC, said the ICT will develop the
technologies for synthetic experiences so compelling that people will
react as though they were real -- a virtual reality of sensations and
sights.  "The key word is 'verisimilitude' -- the quality or state of
appearing to be true," he explained.  "Verisimilitude will apply to
simulation technology in the same way that the term 'high fidelity' has
applied to audio."

Researchers from the USC School of Cinema-Television, the USC School of
Engineering and USC's Annenberg School for Communication will collaborate
with creative talents from the entertainment industry in the
interdisciplinary research program, working to combine concepts of story
and character with a rapidly increasing degree of immersion in virtual
reality technologies.

The Army will employ these improved simulation technologies to rehearse
for missions, for strategic planning through interactive battle scenarios,
and for combat training, recruitment and equipment acquisition.  The
institute will pursue a combination of basic and applied research.  Basic
research will cover six areas:  simulated "immersion" by users in the
technological experience; networking and databases; story;  characters; 
setup; and direction.  Applied research will be organized around a small
number of long-term themes -- such as simulating futuristic "Army After
Next"  forces. 

While the Army and the entertainment industry share an interest in
advancing simulation capabilities for specific purposes, these
technologies offer clear potential to dramatically change training and
education for all people.

"In these advanced synthetic environments that we will create,
participants will be fully immersed -- physically, intellectually and
emotionally -- in engrossing stories stocked with engaging characters who
may either be simulated or manned," said Cornelius Sullivan, USC vice
provost for research, who will oversee the program.

The ICT contract will be administered by the Army's Simulation, Training
and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM), headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and
commanded by Brig. Gen. William Bond.  The Army and USC will each appoint
people to executive boards that will jointly control the ICT.

The ICT will cooperate closely with several other USC centers, including: 

-- The Annenberg Center for Communication, an active participant in
advancing the state of the art of communications and information

-- The Entertainment Technology Center, a research and development project
of the School of Cinema- Television, working to accelerate the development
of entertainment technologies.

-- The Information Sciences Institute, a unit of the School of
Engineering, conducting a broad range of computer science research and
playing a major and continuing role in the development of the Internet. 

-- The Integrated Media Systems Center, established at the School of
Engineering by the National Science Foundation to develop multimedia

Herbert Schorr, Ph.D., research professor of computer science in the USC
School of Engineering and executive director of ISI, will serve as acting
executive director of the ICT until the post is permanently filled later
this year.

William R. Swartout, Ph.D., the associate research professor of computer
science who directs ISI's Artificial Intelligence Division, will be
technical director of the ICT.

James Korris, current director of the School of Cinema-Television's
Entertainment Technology Center, will be the ICT's acting creative

BC.DEFENSE99 -USC- AUG. 18, 1999

James Lytle, Editor USC News Service Phone:  (213) 740-4751 Fax:  (213)
740-7600 Email:  jlytle@usc.edu

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