Director of GamePipe Laboratory, University of Southern California
Michael Zyda is the Director of the USC GamePipe Laboratory, and a Professor of Engineering Practice in the USC Department of Computer Science. At USC, he created the BS in Computer Science (Games) and MS in Computer Science (Game Development) cross-disciplinary degree programs and doubled the incoming undergraduate enrollment of the Computer Science Department. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2004, he was the Founding Director of The MOVES Institute, located at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS as well. From 1986 until the founding of the MOVES Institute, he was the Director of the NPSNET Research Group. Professor Zyda’s research interests include computer graphics, large-scale, networked 3D virtual environments, agent-based simulation, modeling human and organizational behavior, interactive computer-generated story, computer-generated characters, video production, entertainment/defense collaboration, modeling and simulation, and serious and entertainment games. He is a pioneer in the fields of computer graphics, networked virtual environments, modeling and simulation, and serious games. He holds a lifetime appointment as a National Associate of the National Academies, an appointment made by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2003, awarded in recognition of “extraordinary service” to the National Academies. He has served on committees of six different boards and commissions of the National Research Council – Laboratory Assessments Board (Soldier Systems Panel), Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Commission (Virtual Reality & Behavioral Modeling and Simulation), Mathematical Sciences and Their Application Board (Defense Modeling and Simulation), Naval Studies Board (ForceNet), Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, and Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (Modeling and Simulation – Linking Entertainment & Defense). He is a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. He served as the principal investigator and development director of the America’s Army PC game funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. He took America’s Army from conception to three million plus registered players and hence, transformed Army recruiting. America’s Army is considered the game that founded the serious games field.
Professor Zyda has consulted for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Ministry of Industrial Development Sabah Province, Malaysia, Japan Tech Services Corporation, Tokyo, Hitachi Plant Construction & Engineering, Ohtsuka, SimGraphics Engineering, Pasadena, BBN, Silicon Graphics International, Geneva, Nihon Silicon Graphics KK, Advanced Telecommunications Inc., TecMagik, Muse3d.com, Time Warner, Paramount Digital Entertainment, BBN, MaK Technologies, Sony Computer Entertainment (through Shook, Hardy & Bacon), among others. He is a speaker with Celebrity Speakers, International. He is an advisor to Emsense, Big Stage, iSportGames, Virtual Heroes, and Dragonfire Productions. He is the founder of Westside Transmedia, a company focused on translating film story to the game medium.
Professor Zyda began his career in Computer Graphics in 1973 as part of an undergraduate research group, the Senses Bureau, at the University of California, San Diego. Professor Zyda received a BA in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla in 1976, an MS in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1978 and a DSc in Computer Science from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri in 1984.