the development of realistic computer-generated characters presents a number of research and development challenges. First is adaptability, or the ability of a virtual character to learn new behaviors in response to changes in environment and input. The next challenge is developing computer-generated characters that look, move, and express emotion like real humans.
Tools for creating simulated environments: Better hardware and software tools are needed for creating realistic virtual environments. Specifically, this involves the development of better tools for the construction, manipulation, and composition of large databases of information and facilitation of composite visual image creation. Designers would also like to see input devices more sophisticated than the computer mouse and keyboard for use in designing environments.
In addition, the committee identified three areas that should be given special attention during the planning and execution of any sustained collaborative effort:
Information sharing and technology transfer: The two communities that participated in this workshop are known for having cultures that discourage information sharing and transfer little technology. Although there is little precedent, mutually beneficial transfers of information and technology can occur in the form of formal collaborative arrangements between entertainment companies and DoD or by encouraging professionals in DoD to attend entertainment industry conferences and vice-versa.
Human resources: There is a shortage of talented people with the broad range of skills required to create successful simulations, and few university programs teach this skill set. To remedy the situation, existing funding mechanisms could be used to enhance educational programs that combine technical and artistic studies.
Preserving the research base: Ensuring an adequate supply of new ideas and technologies for modeling and simulation requires continuous support of basic research. Growing demands for accountability in government funding have had the effect of restricting the amount and scope of research being conducted. Industrial contributions to such research have also started to wane. These issues must be addressed to ensure the continued viability of the technological base for modeling and simulation.
Strong commonalities exist between defense and entertainment applications of modeling and simulation and the technologies needed to support them. Aligning the research agendas of these two communities to allow greater coordination of research developments, information sharing, and collaborative research could provide an opportunity to more rapidly achieve the goals of both industries. Although linking these two communities presents a significant challenge, sustained commitment from both sides will go a long way in ensuring successful collaboration. This workshop was a first step in examining the costs and benefits of such a commitment.
Since World War I, modeling, simulation, and analysis (MS&A) has been an important tool of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The current legacy systems of MS&A, however, are insufficient