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  University of Central Florida Fall/Winter 2008

IST triples High Performance Computing Cluster capacity

Now equipped with an upgrade that more than tripled its capability, the IBM high performance computing cluster housed at the Institute for Simulation and Training is operating around the clock at close to 100 percent capacity.HPC

With the new components in place, the 648 processing cores increased computational speed more than three-fold to 6.6 trillion floating point operations per second (TFLOPS). Armed with this increased capability, researchers anticipate development of many more new applications, including support for realistic training scenarios with thousands of people training in the same virtual world and cutting-edge research in the physical and biological sciences.

The University of Central Florida installed the system through two Army grants totaling $2.6 million. The “Stokes HPC,” named in honor of Cambridge mathematician and physicist Sir George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903), began operation in May 2008. Users from UCF physics, math, computer science and nanoscience immediately saw results from the cluster’s original 28-node, 224 processing core hardware, designed to enhance problem solving for both academic and industrial research.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson helped UCF secure the first $1 million of the grant, applied toward initial hardware, software and research costs; U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown joined Nelson to help secure the remaining $1.6 million. UCF chose IBM to design the system and train researchers to use it.

IST is working with Forterra Systems Inc., a virtual world developer, to study hosting simulation applications on this type of computer for governmental and commercial purposes. According to Forterra’s Federal Systems division general manager Mike Macedonia, studies conducted through the grants will help Forterra learn how its realistic OLIVE™ (On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment) 3D Internet platform can take advantage of a high-performance computing system’s processing power.  IST and SAIC are experimenting with the HPC’s ability to host the OneSAF Computer Generated Forces simulation system.

IST is looking for other opportunities to partner with government and industry organizations to perform research using the new system.  For information on partnering with IST on related research, contact Dr. Brian Goldiez. Go to the HPC Website.


Three-volume Handbook of Virtual Environments for Training and Education provides comprehensive coverage of requirements for effective training

IST's Denise Nicholson, PhD and co-editors Navy Commander Dylan Schmorrow, PhD and Navy Lieutenant Commander Joseph Cohn, PhD recently announced availability of their three-volume The PSI Handbook of Virtual Environments for Training and Education (LC Card #2008027367), a comprehensive collection of chapters by numerous experts in the many different domains whose integration is a must for effective training and education in virtual environments.

three-volume setThis is the first time comprehensive coverage has been available from a single, readily accessible reference set.

Published by Praeger Security International (PSI) and available through Greenwood Publishing Group, Volume I, Learning Requirements and Metrics, provides insight to the human-centric specifications the VE must satisfy to succeed, with chapters dedicated to a thorough understanding of learning theory, requirements definition and performance measurement.

Volume II, VE Components and Training Technology, provides the latest information on VE component technologies and Volume III, yada dada, offers discussion of an extensive collection of integrated systems presented as VE use-cases and study results. Text includes emerging directions of this evolving technology, from cognitive rehabilitation to the next generation of museum exhibitions.

The three-volume set will interest students, scholars and researchers in military science, technology, computer science, business, law enforcement, cognitive psychology, education and health. Covered topics include guidance and interventions using VE as a teaching tool, what to look for in human-centered systems and components, and current training uses in the military services. Authors explain game-based and long-distance training and the specific challenges of VE sickness, combining VE and cybernetics, robotic interfaces and artificial intelligence.

Dr. Nicholson is director of the Applied Cognition & Training in Virtual Environments Lab at IST. To learn more about the ACTIVE Lab's research go HERE.

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