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A New Paradigm in Modeling and Simulation

INTRODUCTION AND STUDY ORIGIN

This is the fifth report in a series produced under the support of the National Research Council (NRC) Standing Committee on Technology Insight—Gauge, Evaluate, and Review (TIGER) and sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Warning Office (NRC, 2006, 2008a, 2008b, 2009). As with the previous reports, sponsorship of the current report was a direct result of discussions between the standing committee and the U.S. intelligence community (IC). The overall series is intended to help the IC ascertain global technology trends that could potentially affect future U.S. warfighting capabilities.

An earlier report, Avoiding Surprise in an Era of Global Technology Advances (NRC, 2005), produced a methodology for technology warning that previously had not been available to the IC and since then has been accepted by the IC as a tool for finding and recognizing potential national security threats stemming from emerging technologies. This methodology, described further in Appendix C, provides the IC with a means to gauge the potential implications of emerging technologies. As part of a continuing relationship with the TIGER standing committee, the IC identified modeling, simulation, and games (MS&G) research and development as a field that could pose strategic implications for U.S. national security. Box 1-1 provides the study’s statement of task.

Recent decades have yielded rapid progress in the technical capabilities and ubiquity of MS&G. The Committee on Modeling, Simulation, and Games1 was established to survey the technical state of these fields and to evaluate progress made since the publication of related NRC reports on modeling and simulation (summarized in Appendix D). A major new contribution comes from the broadened emphasis on games and their effect on culture and applications as opposed to the roles served by modeling and simulation in the past.

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A listing of committee members and their biographies can be found in Appendix A.



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1 A New Paradigm in Modeling and Simulation INTRODuCTION AND STuDy ORIgIN This is the fifth report in a series produced under the support of the National Research Council (NRC) Standing Committee on Technology Insight—Gauge, Evaluate, and Review (TIGER) and sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Warning Office (NRC, 2006, 2008a, 2008b, 2009). As with the previous reports, sponsorship of the current report was a direct result of discussions between the standing committee and the U.S. intelligence community (IC). The overall series is intended to help the IC ascertain global technology trends that could potentially affect future U.S. warfighting capabilities. An earlier report, Aoiding Surprise in an Era of Global Technology Adances (NRC, 2005), pro- duced a methodology for technology warning that previously had not been available to the IC and since then has been accepted by the IC as a tool for finding and recognizing potential national security threats stemming from emerging technologies. This methodology, described further in Appendix C, provides the IC with a means to gauge the potential implications of emerging technologies. As part of a continuing relationship with the TIGER standing committee, the IC identified modeling, simulation, and games (MS&G) research and development as a field that could pose strategic implications for U.S. national security. Box 1-1 provides the study’s statement of task. Recent decades have yielded rapid progress in the technical capabilities and ubiquity of MS&G. The Committee on Modeling, Simulation, and Games1 was established to survey the technical state of these fields and to evaluate progress made since the publication of related NRC reports on modeling and simulation (summarized in Appendix D). A major new contribution comes from the broadened emphasis on games and their effect on culture and applications as opposed to the roles served by modeling and simulation in the past. 1A listing of committee members and their biographies can be found in Appendix A. 

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 THE RISE OF GAMES AND HIGH-PERFORMANCE COMPUTING FOR MODELING AND SIMULATION BOX 1-1 Statement of Task An Ad Hoc Committee of the National Research Council (NRC) will provide a technical assessment of worldwide modeling, simulation, and games research and development (R&D). The study will outline the current state of the art, and use the methodology presented in the 2005 NRC report Avoiding Surprise in an Era of Global Technology Advances, to identify future applications of this technology and its potential impact on government and society. Specifically, the committee will: • xamine how emerging computer architecture, algorithms, and software impact games and engi- E neering simulation. • onsider the importance of simulations that test algorithms of automated systems, especially those C built as artificial intelligence for weapons systems. • ocus on how games affect attitudes and values of the people who play them, including examining F how cultural difference causes approaches to gaming to differ. • xamine political games, including how players participate in them, including god games (which E is a term of art denoting a subgenre of construction and management simulation games) and the ramification on policy and culture; persistent worlds; as well as network games. • dentify how simulation and games could be best developed to affect cyber and kinetic warfare efforts, I including looking at using gaming in future planning for new weapons systems and platforms. • nalyze games in the context of other technologies used by gamers to share information and or- A ganize activities, to include: social networking sites, voice over Internet protocol capabilities, mobile devices, and Web 2.0 capabilities. MOTIvATION While modeling, simulation, and digital games have all seen rapid progress in recent years with respect to increased fidelity, realism, and sophistication, as well as better human and physical modeling, the motivation for coupling these concepts in this study may not initially be clear to the reader. In fact, not only does each field influence the other but they can serve as complementary approaches for similar end goals. As the committee discussed the distinctions between modeling, simulation, and games, several general observations emerged. Current modeling and simulation work includes focuses on financial markets, natural processes, population, and food production, as well as nonstatic modeling of materials and physical systems across a wide range of scales, from subatomic to planetary. In contrast, games “model” the world at the human and social levels. Given the commercial nature of games, there is an inherent focus on creating human experiences and evoking responses from the player. Such capabilities are a critical distinction from those achievable in nontraining government simulations. Depending on the genre of the game (for examples, see Appendix E), the behavior modeled may range from the individual level to the tribal or even the nation-state level, at which point economic, military, and physical modeling of low-to-moderate fidelity may come into play. The essence of games is, of course, the human-in-the-loop, interactive play component. In most simulations, especially military simulations, human participation is not restricted to input and output receipt. In many cases, humans are in multiple loops—“operators” who are in control of the scenario and tasking of automated and semiautomated forces, humans controlling avatars (like soldiers) and vehicles

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 A NEW PARADIGM IN MODELING AND SIMULATION (like helicopters, tanks, trucks, and fighters) in the simulator. Some of these simulators (like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s SIMNET in the 1980s and RealWorld today) are networked and support full communications. Modeling humans is as important in simulations as in massively multi- player games. In addition, while simulations generally require high-performance computing capabilities, platform games typically run on consumer-grade hardware (though online games now require large data centers of commodity servers with high bandwidth to support high levels of concurrency). While the committee observed that MS&G-related technologies as a whole (both hardware and software) are increasingly accessible to a wide range of global players, it is also true that the global nature of the games industry and its relatively low computing requirements make games potentially more available as a national security resource to actors friendly and unfriendly to the United States. Finally, it is possible to conceive that games as a whole have the potential to fill a gap in current modeling and simulation efforts not likely to be addressed adequately by current Department of Defense efforts in terms of time, quality, and lack of innovation. That gap lies primarily in the applicability of MS&G- related technologies to human activity. STRuCTuRE OF THIS REPORT This report provides an overview of research in modeling, simulation, and games and poses a series of questions of likely relevance to decision makers. Chapter 2 provides detail on factors that have led to the recent rise in the usage and utility, includ- ing growing computational power and human capital, and factors deemed by the committee to have the potential to transform MS&G in the future. Chapter 3 emphasizes games specifically. It serves as a tutorial on the relevant components, vocabu- lary, and recent developments of the field and provides an analysis of the history and potential of games to impact economics, social interaction, and culture. Chapter 4 applies the take-away messages from the previous two chapters to survey MS&G in a defense context. Through war games, cyber propaganda, and other security issues, it is shown that the United States is in a position to take advantage of some of the exciting new applications in the field of MS&G, but the global investment in these areas (and broadened access to U.S. tools and technologies) means that these technologies must be watched carefully. Appendix C (Chapter 2 from Aoiding Surprise) provides a full account and explanation of the technology warning methodology and terminology used in Chapters 2, 3, and 4. Readers will find it helpful to read Appendix C before reading the rest of this report. Appendix D summarizes key findings from three related modeling and simulation reports, and Appendix E serves as a tutorial on the types, platforms, and business structures of games and the games industry. REFERENCES NRC (National Research Council). 2005. Aoiding Surprise in an Era of Global Technology Adances. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11286. NRC. 2006. Critical Technology Accessibility. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available from http://www. nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11658. NRC. 2008a. Emerging Cognitie Neuroscience and Related Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id= 12177. NRC. 2008b. Nanophotonics: Accessibility and Applicability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11907. NRC. 2009. Persistent Forecasting of Disruptie Technologies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12557.