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Design Principles for Virtual Worlds

-2011-

A. R. Chaturvedi

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

D. Dolk

Naval Post Graduate School

Monterey, CA

P. Drnevich

University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL

Summary

In this research note, we examine the design, development, validation, and use of virtual worlds. Our purpose in doing so is to extend the design science paradigm by developing a set of design principles applicable to the context of virtual environments, particularly those using agent-based simulation as their underlying technology. Our central argument is that virtual worlds comprise a new class of information system, one that combines the structural aspects of traditional modeling and simulation systems in concert with emergent user dynamics of systems supporting emergent knowledge processes. Our approach involves two components. First, we review the characteristics of agent-based virtual worlds (ABVWs) to discern design requirements that may challenge current design theory. From this review, we derive a set of design principles based on deep versus emergent structures where deep structures reflect conventional modeling and simulation system architectures and emergent structures capture the unpredictable user–system dynamics inherent in emergent knowledge processes, which increasingly characterize virtual worlds. We illustrate how these design challenges are addressed with an exemplar of a complex mirror world, a large-scale ABVW we developed called Sentient World. Our contribution is the insight of partitioning ABVW architectures into deep and emergent structures that mirror modeling systems and emergent knowledge processes respectively, while developing extended design principles to facilitate their integration. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our design principles for informing and guiding future research and practice.

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Lessons from a Large-Scale Deployment of SEAS in Afghanistan

-2008-

R. Chaturvedi, S. Mellema, S. Smith, M. Mulpuri, J. Whitford

Simulex, Inc.

West Lafayette, IN

A. R. Chaturvedi

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

Summary

Upon a request from the commander of International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF), Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation --Virtual International System (SEAS-VIS) was field tested in Afghanistan from March 1, 2007 until March 31, 2008. The purpose of the field experiment was to assess the applicability of a comprehensive modelling and simulation, system with a reach-back capability and to provide detailed analytical support for planning and decision making in execution of Stability Operations in the theatre. SEAS-VIS provided a planning and decision support framework appropriate for today’s complex operational environment in regards to Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic (DIME) actions on Political, Military, Economic, Social, Informational, and Infrastructure (PMESII) dimensions of operations using the comprehensive, Whole-of-Government Approach (WGA). SEAS-VIS incorporated multi-scale, multisided perspectives of the combined operational environment to highlight the economic, political and cultural factors that influence military and non-military outcomes at the district, province, national and the regional levels.


This paper presents lessons learned and the challenges encountered by a small business in its efforts to rapidly deploy SEAS-VIS to support a multi-national staff in the theatre that rotated every 3-6 months.  The discussion focuses on the challenges related to business process, project management, technology deployment, and operational support as well as on the solutions to these challenges. COMISAF concluded from the field experiment that SEAS-VIS is sufficiently robust to support course of action (COA) development and analysis from multiple, culturally relevant viewpoints, and it provided institutional memory of plans as well as the persistence of results to explore alternatives when assumptions or conditions changed. The insights gained in this effort to prototype and field a dynamically updating, web-based environment can serve to enhance support to operational commanders as well as make contributions to the art and science of agent based modelling and computational social science.

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Continuous Validation Framework:

A Case Study of SEAS and Afghanistan

-2008-

R. Chaturvedi, S. Mellema, A. R. Chaturvedi, M. Mulpuri, G. Pinczuk

Simulex, Inc.

West Lafayette, IN

Summary

An agent-based simulation, called the Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation (SEAS), has been used to provide detailed analytical support to a theater-level command to improve operational level decision making in regards to the Political, Military, Economic, Social, Informational, and Infrastructure (PMESII) dimensions of operations. SEAS allows observations from multiple perspectives, which highlights the economic, political and cultural factors that influence military and non-military PMESII outcomes.


One of the goals in support to the theater was to continuously track the current political, economic and cultural climate of the observed world by keeping SEAS data within thirty days of the current real-world date. In order to accomplish this, Simulex, Inc., the developer of SEAS, has developed and implemented a process of continuous validation under which a “Reference World” is tracked within thirty days of the current date by extracting data from multiple heterogeneous sources on a daily basis, injecting real-world events into SEAS over the recent timeline, and using referent data sources to provide assessments of the SEAS outputs.


This paper describes how the validation was conducted and how challenges were encountered/resolved, as well as the shortcomings of the effort. It is the intention that insights gained in this effort can serve to enhance future evolutions of SEAS as well as make contributions to the art and science of ABM validation.

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Wargaming with PMESH

-2008-

P. Everson, D. Snyder

Booz Allen Hamilton

Suffolk, VA

A. R. Chaturvedi, B. Armstrong

Simulex, Onc.

West Lafayette, IN

Abstract

Providing a comprehensive planning and decision support framework appropriate to today’s complex operational environments requires a shift from the traditional approach of single-scope, military wargaming. To fully capture the operational environment requires the representation of a multi-sided political, military, economic, societal, information, and infrastructure (PMESII) framework that can be integrated to support course of action (COA) development for Wargaming, Mission Rehearsal and analysis. This integration must be across diverse domains, span local to global scopes, and allow for excursions over different time durations and geographical regions. Such an integrated adaptive planning environment is a many-sided approach allows a user to plan the actions of any entity in the environment and at any scope.


The core simulation technology described herein consists of the Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation (SEAS — an agent-based model), and the Integrated Gaming System (IGS — the DoD Adaptive Planning and COA analysis tool), linked together in a Society of Systems (SoS) that integrates the heterogeneous simulations into a single experimentation environment.


This paper describes how a multidisciplinary team developed this integrated planning and experimentation framework using the SoS approach. Further, it describes the employment of this framework to support the training objectives of both the USMC Command and Staff College’s Nine Innings Exercise and the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Decision Making Exercise, two wargaming environments intended to provide current and future decision makers an appreciation of the utility of PMESII Modeling and Simulation as a key element of the planning process.

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Integrating Planning & Experimentation

-2007-

A. R. Chaturvedi

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

C. M. Foong, B. Armstrong, M. Cibulskis

Simulex, Inc.

West Lafayette, IN

D. Snyder, P. Everson

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.

Chesapeake, VA

Abstract

Experimenting with effects based operations involves integrating planning across diverse domains and spanning local to global scopes. Providing a comprehensive planning framework requires a shift from the traditional, single-scope, military strategy experiments and tactics simulations. An integrated planning environment is a many-sided approach that allows a user to plan the actions of any entity in the environment, such as a national government, a military force at a given echelon, a key leader, or an organization, and design comprehensive campaigns encompassing diplomatic, information, military, and economic strategies.


An integrated planning and experimentation environment facilitates planning at various levels of granularity, composing plans into playbooks, storing playbooks in a shared database, rapidly composing a course of action (COA) from shared playbooks, using COAs to instantiate an experiment, analyzing simulation results with respect to desired goals of a COA, and then further refining the plans based on analysis.


Underlying the planning environment are the Experiment Manager (ExMan) and Extensible Net Assessment (xNA), used to instantiate an experiment in order to execute a COA. ExMan configures an experiment with a geographical region, selection of entities and models to include in the synthetic environment, simulations to integrate, data sources to involve, and set of plans to execute. Information relevant to the configuration is pulled from xNA to initialize the simulations for the experiment.


The runtime simulation technology consists of the Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation, the Integrated Gaming System, and a Society of Systems (SoS) that integrates the simulations into a single experimentation environment. A SoS also enables other simulations and components to join a pre-existing society.


This paper describes an example of how an Integrated Planning and Experimentation framework was implemented to enable experiments studying planning of shaping and counterinsurgency operations in the context of complex urban environments and far reaching networks.

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Modeling Stability and Reconstruction Operation Using SEAS

-2006-

A. R. Chaturvedi

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

R. Chaturvedi, M. Mulpuri, S. Mellema

Simulex, Inc.

West Lafayette, IN

Abstract

Humanitarian aid and assistance is considered a critical tool for development and reconstruction. Challenges are posed by recurring disasters such as armed conflicts; droughts, hurricanes, and earthquakes; high numbers of internally displaced persons and returning refugee;, contested terrains; and competing regional and international influences. In this paper we present a computational model for simulating the dynamic interplay between humanitarian and developmental aid and its linkages to the nation building process in a war ravaged region of the world, namely, Afghanistan. We use the SEAS-VIS platform to construct a Virtual Afghanistan represented by a physical landscape), and autonomous, adaptive and cognitive agents consisting of individuals, organizations, institutions, and infrastructure. We use VA to analyze the robustness of policy choices under different scenarios. Our results indicate that in the presence of moderate levels of criminal and terrorist activities, a Minimalist Approach to Stability and Reconstruction Operation may provide a better return on investment than a Maximalist Approach.

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Understanding Insurgency by Using Agent-Based Computational Experimentation:

Case Study of Indonesia

-2005-

A. R. Chaturvedi

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

D. Dolk

Naval Post Graduate School

Monterey, CA

R. Chaturvedi, M. Mulpuri, D. Lengacher, S. Mellema, P. Poddar,

C. M. Foong, B. Armstrong

Simulex, Inc.

West Lafayette, IN

Abstract

Intra-state conflict is becoming an endemic feature of the post-Cold-War era, increasingly challenging international stability and security. Specifically, protracted violent conflict in the form of insurgency is being predicted as the most likely form of future warfare. This highlights the necessity of understanding the conditions under which tensions emerge within a state and converge toward violent conflict. In this paper, we use agent-based modeling as an integrative tool to understand the conditions that favor the emergence, duration, and intensity of insurgency. We present a Virtual International System developed in the Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulation (SEAS-VIS) to analyze insurgency in a strife-torn region of the world. SEAS-VIS provides an environment in which to conduct computational experimentation as a way to begin to understand the largely qualitative aspects of insurgency. The theoretical models used in building SEAS-VIS agents are calibrated from open-source data and validated against published real-world incidents. We then use the validated SEAS-VIS to analyze dynamic interrelationships among grievances, level of resources, and organizational capacity to mobilize members toward social action.

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Agent-Based Computational Model of a Virtual International System

-2004-

A. R. Chaturvedi

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

D. Dolk

Naval Post Graduate School

Monterey, CA

R. Chaturvedi, C. M. Foong, M. Mulpuri, D. Lengacher, S. Mellema, Y. Tham

Simulex, Inc.

West Lafayette, IN

Abstract

In recent years, the evolution of a powerful and innovative methodological tool known as agent-based simulation has allowed integration and evaluation of existing theories of international relations by creating a synthetic international and national environment. This virtual system models the interaction of large numbers of heterogeneous “artificial agents” that mimic the behavior patterns of humans or entities. The “emergent macrobehavior” of the effects of the interacting agents can be used experimentally to evaluate strategic and tactical domestic and foreign policy decision making. The computational experimentation approach, wherein human players can participate concurrently with an agent-based environment, offers several benefits. First, it facilitates the seamless and interchangeable integration of human and software agents. Second, it allows a place where the consequences of decisions can be measured and analyzed. Finally, it is a virtual laboratory for testing the efficacy of theories, decisions, strategies, and tools. This paper describes the implementation of an agent-based virtual international system developed for the U.S. Department of Defense to examine how intra-nation dynamics, geopolitical situations, leaders’ predispositions, and citizens’ expectations, goals, and desires for well-being affect a nation’s capabilities and willingness to fight. Specifically, the goal is to understand the conditions that increase or decrease both the leaders’ and the people’s will to fight.

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