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Highlights from IST                                                                       Spring 2002

UCF to Use FAA Grant to Improve Airport Security Screener Training

Airport security personnel may be better trained to recognize potentially life-threatening security violations as a result of a new Federal Aviation Administration research grant awarded to members of the University of Central Florida Psychology Department and Institute for Simulation and Training.
   Heading up the project are research scientist Dr. Stephen Fiore, associate research scholar Dr. Florian Jentsch and associate psychology professor Dr. Clint Bowers of the Psychology Department’s Team Performance Laboratory and Dr. Eduardo Salas, psychology professor and research faculty member at the Institute for Simulation and Training. They will employ the $140,000 FAA grant to discover ways to help security screeners rapidly become proficient in recognizing visual cues to dangerous items hidden in passengers’ luggage.
   After the airborne suicide attacks of September 11, 2001, world attention quickly focused on holes in airport security that allowed terrorists to smuggle weapons onboard commercial aircraft. Concern that security screener accuracy was declining led the FAA to seek scientific research to help create more efficient ways to teach employees the necessary skills.
   The UCF research team will investigate methods designed to speed up security screeners’ ability to learn observation skills they need to recognize dangerous items in scanned luggage.
   Existing studies indicate that expert screeners may need fewer visual cues than novices to recognize patterns that lead to identification of items. The team hopes to isolate these expert pattern recognition techniques and incorporate them into the training curriculum for new security screening personnel.
   “This grant represents a unique opportunity to meld some of our current research with such an important issue,” says Dr. Fiore. “We are all very excited to do our part in helping aviation security.”
   Four other institutions received FAA grants for security screener research. They are University of California at Davis, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, University of Southampton, United Kingdom and State University of New York at Buffalo.
   Modern research from the cognitive and brain sciences, according to Dr. Fiore, is increasingly being recognized as relevant to problems of national significance. “UCF recognizes this and actively supports such efforts, making it an ideal environment in which to conduct research,” Dr. Fiore says.
   Members of the Psychology Department’s Team Performance Laboratory perform basic and applied research on human performance and cognition, specifically as they apply to team processes and team training.

FAA grant to improve airport security

IST gets new director

PhD offered in modeling and simulation 

After Action Review System enhances training






IST Gets New Director

Randall Shumaker, superintendent of the Information Technology Division at the Naval Research Laboratory since 1989, has been named the new director of the Institute for Simulation & Training at the University of Central Florida.  He leaves his position with the federal government to join the University March 4.
   Shumaker’s selection is the result of a five-month nationwide search for a new director for IST, the university’s simulation research institute with 135 faculty researchers, scientists and support staff. Last year the center received $8 million in sponsored research funding. During the vacancy, deputy director Brian Goldiez served as interim director.
   “Dr. Shumaker’s unique combination of leadership skills, computer expertise, military experience and academic interests meshes well with the goals of our simulation center as it enters a new era of innovative and original research,” says M.J. Soileau, UCF’s vice president for research.
   Shumaker, 56, earned his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976. He also holds a B.S.E.E. in electrical engineering and an M.S.E. in computing machinery from that university...
   He frequently lectures on computing –related topics for defense organizations and has taught more than 50 computer and software short courses, primarily for George Washington University.
   As superintendent of the Information Technology Division at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, Shumaker supervised a staff of 200 conducting about $60 million of sponsored research a year in a wide range of computing, networking and communications disciplines. Under his guidance the division produced more than 100 refereed publications and two to three patent disclosures a year.
   During his tenure as superintendent the division initiated or significantly grew three major research efforts: autonomous systems, very high performance computing and networking. The division also led a major thrust into using virtual reality in decision systems.
   Shumaker also served the Naval Research Laboratory as its chief information officer and was a senior advisor for information technology within the Navy, Department of Defense and international defense community.


Randall Shumaker is IST's new director

Master's and Ph.D. degrees are a new addition to UCF graduate curriculum

A new UCF program of studies provides students from various disciplines a path all the way to a doctoral degree in modeling and simulation.
  Faculty and staff from IST helped design the program and IST's Dr. Peter Kincaid is serving as co-chair with Dr. Charles Riley of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
   Students can select from any of seven focus areas, Quantitative Aspects of Simulation, Simulation Infrastructure, Simulation Management, Computer Visualization in M&S, Simulation Modeling and Analysis, Interactive Simulation/Intelligent Systems and Human Systems in M&S.
   Students can enter the program from computer science, mathematics, psychology, engineering, digital media and other related disciplines. Opportunities exist for research work directly with faculty, university research scientists and M&S professionals.
   Also available is access to a large array of research labs and other facilities.




Peter Kincaid co-chairs the new multidisciplinary
master's and Ph.D. program in modeling and


After Action Review provides moment-by-moment recall of training exercises

IST and the Army research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences are working together to develop a system to record and replay simulation training exercises. The result of the research is the After Action Review (AAR). Used to debrief trainees, the AAR provides a common understanding of what happened during an exercise and why.
    Determining what happened during an exercise is particularly difficult in a built-up environment where buildings and other structures break up the visual field and limit the portion of the battlefield that any one person can observe.
   The AAR overcomes this limitation by providing opportunity to observe what transpired from any angle or field of view. Trainees can see what they did–or should have done–based on detailed movement of friendly and opposing forces.
   While recording the exercise the program operates as an invisible observer (stealth mode) and can assume any viewpoint, fly freely through the environment or jump to pre-selected viewpoints. The same viewing alternatives are available in the playback or review mode.
   A variety of exercise data can be displayed in either tabular or graphic form.
   The AAR system uses IST's Virtual Environment Software Sandbox (VESS), which provides libraries for development of virtual environments. VESS helped simplify and expedite AAR system development and allows the system to run on various platforms and scene graph APIs.
Glenn Martin ( of IST and Dr. Bruce Knerr ( of the Army Research Institute head up the project.


Dr. Bruce Knerr (in denim shirt) shows AAR's graphic interface to Dr. Ronald M. Sega, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, during a recent visit to IST. IST's director, Dr. Randall Shumaker (center) accompanied Dr. Sega on a tour of simulation facilities in the Central Florida Research Park.


updated: 05/29/2003

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