May 4, 2001

Colloquium Speaker: Dennis McBride


Dr. Dennis K. McBride earned his Ph.D., three Master's of Science degrees, and an MPA from the University of Georgia, University of Southern California, and the London School of Economics. Currently he is Executive VP, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies; Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, and Department of Psychology and Executive Director, Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida. Dr. McBride completed a 20-year Navy career and his tours included bench-to-management service at six Navy laboratories, two major headquarters organizations (including ONR and the Chief Technology Officer of the Navy (ASN-RDA), and two joint assignments. Duties took him from human engineering in the problem domains of ASW, EW, air-to-air warfare, mine warfare, and information warfare. He served as program manager (1989-1994) for war fighting simulation at DARPA and initiated the first approved OSD ACTD known as Synthetic Theatre of War, one of the largest and most challenging simulation systems engineering efforts undertaken at the time. Central to this effort were his pioneering of computer agent capabilities such as Modular Semi-Automated Forces (ModSAF) which now inhabit laboratories in every continent, and are the foundation of much of today's and the future's combat simulation capability. Dr. McBride also pioneered TACAIR-Soar, an AI-based computer-generated forces system used significantly by the Navy and the Air Force and also sponsored the development of Swarm, an advanced, biologically based simulation environment that, with its kindred, form the basis of today's artificial life family of research. Dr. McBride served extensively as assistant and acting program manager for DARPA's X-31 variable thrust-vectoring experimental test aircraft program, and subsequently as program manager or technical director for two major ACTDS: one in simulation for countermine technology, the other for advanced telemedicine. Under the direction of Dr. McBride, the Institute for Simulation and Training has successfully launched efforts on an international level in the fields of entertainment technology, discrete event simulation, advanced distributed learning, disaster simulation, consequence management, and biological simulation. He is leading the development and introduction of the nation's first multi-disciplined Ph.D. program in modeling and simulation. Dr. McBride has received numerous awards and military decorations including Defense Superior Service, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service, Joint Service Commendation, Navy Commendation and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He has published widely in the fields of psychobiology, experimental psychology, medical and pharmacological research, engineering science, operations research, complexity science, political science, and public policy. His personal research interests center on the universals of human nature.


Colloquium Topic: Simulation and Training

Computational capacity (memory and processing) gains are expected to "obey" Moore's law well into the foreseeable future; that is as long as the physics that supports this widely acclaimed progression allows. Human brains will likely not increase in information-handling capacity unaided, even though there is evidence of secular gains in intelligence around the world. The net in information capacity of the well-married human-machine, however, is likely to surpassævery significantlyæthe simple sum of the two components counted separately. I will attempt to make the case that the engine that will be responsible for an exponential gain in machine-aided computing capacity is that of simulation, and that the extension of this symbiotic relationship will be the augmentation of human cognition. Not all concomitant consequences are straightforwardly good ones; that is, if it is important to speculate about the socio-economic implications, there will be unintended outcomes.