Researchers from the University of South Australia have developed combat simulation software so lean that it is the fastest in the world at modifying existing combat strategies to improve established doctrine.
Software developer Matt Selway says his programming could reduce the time it takes to run large-scale military simulations from a month to a week.
He says the increased speed comes from the software’s automated analysis of text documents.
“Having it (the simulation) run faster allows them to run the event multiple times and figure out what the best option is for various aspects of their operations,” he says.
“They could start off with documentation that describes the simulation that they want to run and the behaviour of the different entities that they want to have execute throughout the simulation.
“You can put in information about different types of equipment, if they are comparing some of them or deciding on which to purchase. It could help them with weapons, vehicles, and communications equipment.”
The combat simulation software registers what’s known as text understanding methods. This allows the system to quickly interpret written descriptions of different real-world scenarios and develop improved procedures.
It is able to analyse the behaviours of individual units, squads and brigades at the same time and performs the actions of the different entities inside the simulation.
The simulation also aims to analyse and evolve contemporary military doctrine to produce optimal results.
“The basic doctrine for example could be a response to when you come under fire,” Selway says.
“Normally you take cover and return fire, but the documentation covers broad aspects of operations and depending on the situation could help improve the doctrine further.
“It’s more of a preparation tool but one of the things about being able to improve the amount of time to set up the simulation is that eventually they will be able to use it in an unfolding scenario.”
Users are able to continue running through simulations and calculate the averages of different outcomes. They are then able to figure out what strategies or equipment produce better results in different situations.
After the text documents are inserted into the simulator they are run on a flat platform screen, which creates a visual representation of each scenario.
John Stewart, the CEO of industry group Simulation Australasia, said the ability to rapidly adapt to the changing battle dynamic was crucial for the modern war fighter.
“Defence and military forces worldwide are going to rely so heavily on the new technologies,” he says.
“The military have been the leaders in (simulation) this for years. For something like the software to come out of South Australia and to be at the forefront, around the world, is very exciting.”
The combat simulation project was led by the University of South Australia’s Advanced Computing Research Centre, one half of the Australian government’s Defence Science and Technology Group.
The Defence Science and Technology Group is the Australian government’s lead agency responsible for applying science and technology to safeguard Australia and its national interests.
– Caleb Radford