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US military creates second Earth

The US Army is building a second version of Earth on computer to help it prepare for conflicts around the world.
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3507531.stm

US military creates second Earth

The US Army is building a second version of Earth on computer to help it prepare for conflicts around the world.

The detailed simulation will be drawn from a real-world terrain database and will be drawn to the same scale as the original.

The software Earth is being created for the US Army by gaming company There, which is currently working on a virtual world for gamers.

The first version of the virtual planet should be finished by September.

Big picture

The ambitious project aims to help the US Army plan future conflicts which are unlikely to involve set-piece battles and instead be smaller in scale.

Details of the project were revealed by Robert Gehorsam, a senior vice president at There, during a lengthy interview posted on the Homelan Fed gaming website.

Mr Gehorsam said the world being created will not be a game but instead will be a "massively multi-user persistent environment" that will model real world physics as closely as possible.

The emphasis in the artificial Earth will be on human interaction rather than conflicts involving lots of military hardware.

He said combat will be a part of the game but it is also intended to let the Army simulate intelligence work as well as patrols, planning and working with indigenous populations.

Also included will be lots of tools that help trainers and pupils work out how they did and review their progress during and after a simulation exercise.

There is planning to model the entire planet at the proper scale so it would be possible to walk across the United States if participants wanted to.

However, currently the virtual Earth is almost bare as the only thing modelled in any detail is part of Kuwait City.

He said There was working with the US Army researchers to ensure that existing models of the way that things such as crowds and vehicles react can be included in the simulated planet.

In spring a group of sergeants and junior officers that have served in Iraq will become the first soldiers to try out the virtual Earth.
I Hope it can work in a vacuum 23.Feb.2004 14:16

Soon to be an astronaut

I Hope it can work in a vacuum because it seems to me that will be about all thats left of the the real earth if things keep going the way they are.


Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1153530,00.html
peak oil and all that jazz
 http://dieoff.org/

man we are just fucked, but hay maybe we can stay alive long enouph to see if the virtal earth will crash like the real thing. hmm i'm feeling optimistic today.

simulation and simulacra... 23.Feb.2004 16:11

this thing here

>Mr Gehorsam said the world being created will not be a game but instead will be a "massively multi-user persistent environment" that will model real world physics as closely as possible.<

no model is ever reflective of the real thing. these guys will spend a lot of time and money in their virtual environment, thinking they have a "real" world in their little computers, only to find "the enemy we are fighting is different from the one we war gamed against."

Is it being paid for by mice? 23.Feb.2004 21:05

Arthur Dent

And what about the fjords? Slartibartfast was so into fjords.

Time to Pull Their Plugs 23.Feb.2004 23:20

cascadian

More fevered utopian goals leaping out of "manifest destiny" orgasms...overachieving programmers embarking on a campaign of finding and modeling solutions for Mandelbrot sequences of Nth order differential equations. But it's all for naught, as we've been told by the NASA futurists (and pantingly echoed by the war criminal twerp occupying the White Settler's House) that the future of homo sapiens is on an airless desert planet--Mars. There, in their life support suits, they can play their "second earth" video games, eating their own recycled feces.