IMC Product Wins Federal Virtual Environment Competition
The Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge is an open, global challenge to the world for the best-of-the-best implementations as demonstrated in a virtual environment. The Challenge is an annual event led by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Simulation & Training Technology Center. The event is conducted to explore innovative and interactive solutions in virtual environments. The criteria are intentionally unbounded to encourage creative results. The focus for the 2011 Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge was artificial intelligence. Entries are a demonstration of a technology in a virtual environment and evaluators from anywhere in the world enter the submitted environments to experience the entries.
Taking first place in the “Patterns of Life” category, Non-Kinetic (NonKin) Village provides training developers with a small, autonomous society that is reconfigurable for a number of cross-cultural training goals. Nothing is scripted – it is all based on social science models of the society of interest. Once the models are setup, trainees can use it like the mock villages at US military forts to gain experience in foreign cultures and to learn to be sensitive to local norms, values, relationship building, and stakeholder issues prior to arriving in the country or region where they must interact with, and possibly influence and assist, natives in that culture. This is useful for many types of training such as, but not limited to, multinational corporations tutoring their workers, international aid organizations training their field representatives, and diplomatic advisors and military forces needing to learn how to handle counter-insurgency, stabilization, and development issues. For more information about NonKin Village, visit http://acasa.upenn.edu/nonKin/nonkin-description.htm.
The team behind the award-winning NonKin Village includes representatives from IMC at the University of Pennsylvania and Barry G. Silverman from the University of Pennsylvania’s Ackoff Collaboratory for Advancement of the Systems Approach (ACASA Lab). ACASA is a lab without walls aimed at facilitating trans-disciplinary interactions amongst colleagues across scientific fields. The ACASA Lab is particularly interested in how social systems theories can inform computational tools and simulators and, conversely, how computational integrations help to identify gaps in science and stimulate new research needs. (Learn more about ACASA Lab at http://acasa.upenn.edu/aboutind.htm.)
In a statement announcing the 2011 Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge, Tami Griffith from the Simulation &Training Technology Center noted that, “We expect that the results of this challenge will advance this research area not just in the area of virtual worlds and games for training but also to benefit training with more traditional simulations.” Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge winners have an opportunity to demonstrate their solutions to government users and policy makers at the Defense Users' Game Tech Conference and the Federal Consortium of Virtual Worlds. Some Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge winners have received follow on government and industry contracts related to their winning projects.
Innovative Management Concepts, Inc. (IMC), a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, provides systems engineering and information technology services to government and commercial clients. Since its founding in 1989, IMC has offered expertise in: software development, verification, and validation; technology and project forecasting; continuous feedback and organizational communications; training systems; defense architectures; website development, maintenance, and help desks; and crisis management. Find out more about IMC at www.imcva.com.
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