Thursday, August 02, 2007

MERCILESS ALGORITHMS OF DEATH: Government technical report on Air Force war simulation analyzes fighting al Qaeda with rayguns

In press coverage of how virtual wargames will revolutionize actual war, the lion's share of publicity has generally gone to private sector boffins bankrolled by the US Army. Most often, they appear as wizards from the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies. Journalists love the place and can't resist its toys, which in ICT's case, have been peddled as amalgams of Hollywood's most creative and the cutting edge of the military

Unsurprisingly, DD has always been of the mind that they're full of it.

The US military, one reckons, has lots of simulations, some that must be unsuitable for point-and-twitch teenage fun, entertaining only in a Strangelovian way.

One which hasn't received much notice is Point of Attack 2. It is a brutally painful statistical treatment of weaponry in which the mechanics of death are derived through an almost infinite number of calculations - it seems tailor made for Pentagon wonks.

A 2003 report blandly entitled "Analysis of Advanced Technology Weapons in Homeland Defense," written by Dr. Scott Hamilton, recently obtained from the National Technical Information Service, discusses an unusual aspect of it.

The games allows you to simulate fighting al Qaeda incursions in which the player, the computer or both employ experimental high-energy weapons -- rayguns.

You can read the rest of the article and the NTIS technical paper at el Reg here.

Alert readers may remember DD covered Point of Attack 2 in April. This was prior to recovery of the utterly fascinationg technical report for the Air Force on gaming somewhat extraordinary terrorist situations. That post is here complete with screen shots.

ERROR: Blog link to el Reg article, now fixed.


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