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Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center (VMASC), an enterprise center of the College of Engineering and Technology, was awarded $300,000 from the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office to develop a distributed simulation federation to study the simulation of crowd behavior in combat scenarios. Mikel D. Petty, VMASC chief scientist, is principal investigator for the project.

Current military simulations generally neglect the presence and effect of crowds of non-combatants in combat scenarios, even though in reality a crowd can significantly affect the conduct and outcome of an engagement.

VMASC will link three simulations, including an existing Joint Forces Command high-fidelity simulation of individual-level urban combat and a psychology-based model of crowd member behavior developed at the University of Pennsylvania, using the High Level Architecture. VMASC will use the federation to conduct controlled experiments on the effect varying levels of crowd behavior fidelity have on the outcome of combat scenarios. Possible test scenarios include the 1993 Mogadishu battle dramatized in the recent movie "Black Hawk Down" and the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protest. The project will continue through the Spring 2003 semester.

This article was posted on: July 30, 2002

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