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  University of Central Florida Winter 2006

UCF research could increase border security

The products of ultra wide band (UWB) sensor research at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training could help the US increase security along its borders with Mexico and Canada.

Researcher Ravi Palaniappan is investigating the system's capabilities.


 

Ravi Palaniappan

A great percentage of the nation’s two borders is left virtually unguarded except for a limited number of patrolling agents.
Only about four agents per mile patrol the rugged mountains and deserts of the 1,951-mile US-Mexico border.
The US-Canada border

is, at 5,520 miles, the longest nonmilitarized and not actively patrolled border between two countries.

A network of UWB-capable sensors could help guard these borders. IST’s approach is to use the impulse transmission characteristics of ultra wide band to measure the time delay of signals within a network of sensors. Difference in arrival time among sensors can be used to pinpoint the location of a transmission picked up by the sensors.

Depending on the type of sensors used, the system conceivably could intercept and locate radio, cell phone, data and other transmissions, including heat signatures.

The system does not rely on GPS and will work with or without line-of-sight. IST is investigating both homeland security and battlefield applications for this technology.

Contact: Ravi Palaniappan  407-882-1350 or Art Cortes 407-882-1337.

AT&T Foundation Fellowship recipient announced


 

Victor Hung

Mr. Victor Hung is the first recipient of a $25,000 Fellowship from the AT&T Foundation.  The Army’s RDECOM Simulation Training & Technology Center is also supporting Mr. Hung by making laboratory facilities available.  Mr. Hung is a

Ph.D. student at UCF.  His research involves instinctive behavior in context-based reasoning.  The research involves modeling behavior of an intelligent agent when it is exposed to a new or foreign state of cues.  

Live simulation is an emerging area of research interest among the military services and at UCF.  IST administers the AT&T Fellowship for UCF.  Dr. Brian Goldiez is the point of contact.


Modeling and Simulation PhD program entering its fourth year

With six PhDs under its belt and 66 students enrolled at the doctoral level (11 having achieved candidacy), the University of Central Florida's M&S graduate program is coming of age.

Initially envisioned as multidisciplinary in nature, the program has drawn Students from engineering, computer science, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, optics, math, psychology, statistics, health, business and digital media. The master's and PhD program combined has grown to 145 students.

Five students are in the armed forces.

UCF established its modeling and simulation graduate program in answer to both a growing need for advanced research and to provide the next generation professional workforce.

Charles Reilly III

Engineering professor Charles Reilly III serves as program co-chair with IST's Peter Kincaid. The two trade program coordination every two years.

The broad range of disciplines included in the program acknowledges that increasing human performance through simulation is more than mere motor skills training.
 

In canine, robot-dog match-up, the real dog takes the trophy

Two similar US Army-sponsored IST studies have shown that how well you think a robot follows your commands somewhat depends on your own conditioning.

Graduate students Linda Ellis, Aaron Pepe,  Matthew Chin and Clint Owens, working with Dept. of Psychology Assistant Professor Valerie Sims, designed the research to see what determines a person's attitude toward working with non human "partners."

One study pitted a robot dog—Sony's AIBO—against a real canine. In the second study, a humanoid-style robot competed with two black-box styled vehicles, one with tracks and one with wheels.

Sony's AIBO

In both studies subjects were tasked use a remote computer interface to guide robot or dog through a maze. The entity's progress through the maze was shown only as an arrow on the computer monitor.

In the dog versus AIBO face-off, the real dog earned consistently higher marks for correctly obeying voice commands and negotiating the maze with fewer mistakes. Subjects scored the animal higher in such categories as cooperation, responsiveness, obedience and trustworthiness, while the AIBO scored higher in stupidity.

Subjects participating in the three-robot challenge rated the car-like robot best overall.

The subjects did not know that in both experiments they were not actually controlling their partners. Their treks through the maze were identical, with the same response errors.

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  IST-led team to study team cognition under new MURI grant

IST research director Eduardo Salas will lead a three-year, multidisciplinary university research initiative (MURI) to study how teams might best process information and work together to make operational decisions.

Eduardo Salas
 

UCF is one of 20 universities selected to share in more than $150 million in research funding. The Department of Defense, which funds the awards, reviewed 143 proposals. IST’s MURI will be sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.
Other key members of the IST/UCF MURI team are IST director, Dr. Randall Shumaker, who will be responsible for the business management and facilities aspects of the project, and Drs. Steven Fiore, Shawn Burke, Florian Jentsch, and Valerie Sims, who will lead the multi-phase research. A post-doctoral fellow also will assist in the effort.
Other MURI team members are Arizona State University, University of Pittsburgh and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The IST team will develop ways to increase understanding of team cognition and collaboration in network-centric warfare environments. These environments rely on extensive networking of sensors, warfighting hardware and information technology. Command teams must process and use all these data to direct operations. How might do this in the most efficient way possible is a subject of this research.
An ultimate outcome of the multi-year effort would be better ways to choose, train and equip teams for rapid and accurate decisionmaking in high stress, information-loaded situations.
 


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