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Fredliga, krigiska, smarta och dumma simulanter

Det finns en klassisk historia (minst så där åtta-tio år skulle jag tro) om riskerna med att ta genvägar när man skapar simulationer av verkligheten:
"Careless Code Recycling Causes Killer Kangas:
Mutant Marsupials Take Up Arms Against Australian Air Force

The re-use of some object-oriented code has caused tactical headaches for Australia's armed forces. As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in helicopter combat training, programmers have gone to great lengths to increase the realism of their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and - in the case of the Northern Territory's Operation Phoenix, herds of kangaroos (since disturbed animals might well give away a helicopter's position).

The head of the Defense Science & Technology Organization's Land Operations/Simulation division reportedly instructed developers to model the local marsupials' movements and reactions to helicopters. Being efficient programmers, they just re-appropriated some code originally used to model infantry detachment reactions under the same stimuli, changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and increased the figures' speed of movement.

Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies 'buzzed' the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting Americans nodded appreciatively ... then did a double-take as the kangaroos reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger missiles at the hapless helicopter. (Apparently the programmers had forgotten to remove that part of the infantry coding.)

The lesson?

Objects are defined with certain attributes, and any new object defined in terms of an old one inherits all the attributes. The embarrassed programmers had learned to be careful when reusing object-oriented code, and the Yanks left with a newfound respect for Australian wildlife."
Den där historien är visst nästan sann (den lär vara lite förbättrad). Nu har den fått en intressant pendang - i dataanimeringarna till Sagan om konungens återkomst. Fast där var problemet det motsatta:
"Computer animators have been using cellular automata in their crowd scenes for ages, granting the dancers in the "Hunchback of Notre " and the Orcs in "Lord of the Ring" the liberty to autonomously determine the fine details of their movement, creating realistic mob scenes that appear to contain a cast of thousands. The problem is, as the programming for the automata gets more sophisticated, they start to express non-linear behavior.

In the climax for "The Return of the King", the animated forces of evil kept running away from their enemies.

'So each of these computerized soldiers is assessing the environment around them, drawing on a repertoire of military moves that have been taught them through motion capture - determining how they will combat the enemy, step over the terrain, deal with obstacles in front of them through their own intelligence - and there's 200,000 of them doing that...'

'For the first two years, the biggest problem we had was soldiers fleeing the field of battle,' Taylor said.

'We could not make their computers stupid enough to not run away.' "
(Från BoingBoing. Originalartikeln: Smart soldiers decided to flee the Rings battle)
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Updatering: ... mest av allt är det ju förstås Lems "Cyberiad" igen: se Medvetandets fälla!

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16 dec 2003


När jag hörde historien om kengururna (stavas det verkligen så?), kastade de badbollar, eftersom det vad objektens defaultvapen.

Från: Tommy | Skickat vid: 12:02, 16 december 2003

Hittade den här sidan som beskriver mer om helikopterkoden:

Från: Kristofer | Skickat vid: 12:55, 16 december 2003

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