July 15-18, 2007

San Diego Marriot Mission Valley
San Diego, CA, USA


Organized By:
Gabriel Wainer
Carleton University


SCSC 2007 Home Page



2007 Summer Computer Simulation Conference (SCSC'07)


Team-oriented, Design-focused Simulation Tools:

Massively Multiplayer Games in the Engineering Workplace

Prof. Roger A. Dougal, Thomas Gregory Professor of Electrical Engineering. University of South Carolina.

Traditionally, simulators have been far more useful for analysis or experimentation than for design or synthesis. Simulations were called on to support understanding of the dynamics of systems that were too complex or intractable to compute via pencil and paper. They supported hardware-less “experiments” that were carefully and fully defined apriori, and which could be iterated many times, either to provide new understanding of the system, or to find a better variant of a particular design. Later, HDLs helped merge the simulation process with the design process; they provided a description of the system that was at once executable to describe how the system behaved, and compilable to define how it was built. HDLs were especially successful in digital systems, where it became possible to design, test, debug, and then construct, huge systems, containing thousands, millions, nearly even billions of parts on a successful-first-production-run basis.  Though large, these systems were relatively simple because the numbers of unique components were small. Now the world needs new tools that will permit the design of huge, and hugely-complex, systems that contain large numbers of unique components, many of them not yet fully defined. Simulation tools must evolve to support massively-multiplayer design teams running simulations using multi- and variable-time steps, with models having multi- and variable- levels of abstractions (resolutions), and that are controlled and defined by multi- and variable- numbers of players. In short, simulator developers can stand to learn a thing or two from the online gaming community. Beyond that, simulators must also increasingly interact with hardware in the loop, and with other simulators. They must run as parts of embedded controls, and they must predict the ranges of performances expected from not-fully-defined systems operating under uncertain conditions. These needs present many interesting R&D opportunities.


Roger Dougal is the Thomas Gregory Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of South Carolina. His early education was in physical electronics --  an area where simulation was an indispensable aid to understanding of device dynamics. He has spent the past decade as leader of the Virtual Test Bed project, addressing issues related to design-oriented simulation of multidisciplinary dynamic systems.

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