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Advance Program »

Michael Zyda, Director of the USC GamePipe Laboratory


Games as a research area is a direct descendent of the merged streams of interactive entertainment and virtual reality [Zyda,2005], [Zyda/Sheehan,1997]. As universities stand up degree programs on games, many interesting directions for technical research have come into view. In this presentation, we discuss and frame research directions that lead towards interesting potentials for the future of games ­ massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) as social model testbeds, and emotion-cognizant games.

About the Speaker

photo: michael zyda


Michael Zyda is Director of the USC GamePipe Laboratory, a Professor of Engineering Practice in the USC Department of Computer Science, and a staff member of USC’s Information Sciences Institute, located in Marina del Rey, California.

At USC, he created the BS in Computer Science (Games) and MS in Computer Science (Game Development) cross-disciplinary degree programs and doubled the incoming undergraduate enrollment of the Computer Science Department. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2004, he was the Founding Director of the MOVES Institute located at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS as well.

From 1986 until the formation of the MOVES Institute, he was the Director of the NPSNET Research Group. Professor Zyda's research interests include computer graphics, large-scale, networked 3D virtual environments, agent-based simulation, modeling human and organizational behavior, interactive computer-generated story, computer-generated characters, video production, entertainment/defense collaboration, modeling and simulation, and serious and entertainment games.

He is a pioneer in the following fields - computer graphics, networked virtual reality, modeling and simulation, and serious games. He holds a lifetime appointment as a National Associate of the National Academies, an appointment made by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2003, awarded in recognition of “extraordinary service” to the National Academies.

He is a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. He served as the principal investigator and development director of the America’s Army PC game funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. He took America’s Army from conception to three million plus registered players and hence, transformed Army recruiting.