Support: February 5, 2005

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The U.S. Department of Defense is paying some researchers at the University of Alabama to create software that will enable military users of computer wargames to easily change the artificial intelligence (AI) to more accurately reflect the kind of foe the military expects to encounter (or thinks they will encounter.) The researchers have military and computer game development experience, and are continuing work the military has been poking around with since the 1990s. It was back then that the U.S. Marines, after adapting the DOOM video game to training use, discovered that the AI for the enemy was unrealistic, and would give marine users an incorrect idea of battlefield conditions. This could be fatal in combat, and with some effort, the AI in DOOM was modified to meet marine needs. The University of Alabama project is using a computer wargame, Modern Air Power to provide more useful AI, and to install a monitoring system that will compile a profile of each student pilots success, and failures, when using the wargame. This would allow instructors to provide each student with customized AI and scenarios to deal with areas where the student is weak and needs more practice. Such a system would not only show pilots where they are vulnerable, but help train them to eliminate those areas where their skills need sharpening. While similar systems have been available in the civilian training market (especially in financial markets), this is the first time the military is trying to develop automated systems using this feedback system. More importantly, the project is also exploring the full potential of taking a commercial wargame and seeing how quickly, and cheaply, it can be adapted to military use. This has been done before, but usually in a rush because of a national emergency. This time around, the plan is to figure out how to do those adaptations all the time. 

 


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