Michael Zyda is the Founding Director of the USC GamePipe Laboratory, and a Professor of Engineering Practice in the USC Department of Computer Science. At USC, he founded the BS in Computer Science (Games), the MS in Computer Science (Game Development) and the USC Games joint Advanced Games course and took that program from no program to the #1 Games program in the world. That program has been rated #1 by the Princeton Review for six straight years. His alums have shipped games played by over 2.5B players. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2004, he was the Founding Director of the MOVES Institute located at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS as well. From 1986 until the formation 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 and games, 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 following fields - computer graphics, networked virtual environments, modeling and simulation, and serious and entertainment 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 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. The creation of the America’s Army game founded the serious games field. He co-holds two patents that form the basis for the 9-axis sensor in the Nintendo Wii U.
Professor Zyda was a member of the National Research Council’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Commission Committee on “Virtual Reality Research and Development” and is one of the key authors of that report. Professor Zyda was the chair of the National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Committee on “Modeling and Simulation: Linking Entertainment & Defense”. From that report, for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, Professor Zyda drafted the operating plan and research agenda for the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). Professor Zyda was a member of the National Research Council Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Committee on Advanced Engineering Environments. Professor Zyda was chair of the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Panel on Computing, Information, and Communications Technology (CICT) and member of the parent NRC Committee for the Review of NASA’s Pioneering Revolutionary Technology Program. Professor Zyda was a member of the NRC’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Vehicle Systems Panel that is part of the Committee for the Review of NASA’s Revolutionize Aviation Program. He was a member of the National Research Council Naval Studies Board Committee on FORCEnet Implementation Strategies. He was a member of the National Research Council Mathematical Sciences and Their Application Board Committee on Defense Modeling, Simulation and Analysis. He was a member of the National Research Council Behavioral and Social Sciences Commission Committee on Behavioral Modeling and Simulation – from Individuals to Societies. Professor Zyda was a member of the National Research Council Laboratory Assessments Board, Soldier Systems Panel. Professor Zyda was a member of the National Research Council Tiger Standing Committee study group on Modeling, Simulation and Games. Professor Zyda was a member of the National Research Council Division on Earth and Life Sciences Committee on the Future US Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence.
He has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Computers & Graphics. Professor Zyda has been a member of the Technical Advisory Board of the Fraunhofer Center for Research in Computer Graphics, Providence, Rhode Island. He was a Member of the Board of Advisors for the Georgia Institute of Technology Modeling and Simulation Research and Education Center. He was a member of the US Army’s Distance Learning/Training Technology Applications Subcommittee of the Army Education Committee, appointed by US Army TRADOC, with the approval of the Secretary of the Army, with concurrence of the Secretary of Defense.
Professor Zyda has consulted for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, NASA AMES, the Ministry of Industrial Development Sabah Province, Malaysia, Japan Tech Services Corporation, Tokyo, Hitachi Plant Construction & Engineering, Ohtsuka, SimGraphics Engineering, Pasadena, Silicon Graphics International, Geneva, Nihon Silicon Graphics KK, Advanced Telecommunications Inc., TecMagik, SpiritChannel.com, Muse3d.com, BBN, MaK Technologies, e4e and Paramount Digital Entertainment, among others. He is a speaker with Celebrity Speakers, International. He is an advisor to CiiNow, Sugarcane Development and Ollie. He was the founder and Chairman of Happynin Games, an iOS game publisher and developer and is currently CEO of 411 Productions DTLA. Professor Zyda has served as an expert witness in patent litigation in/around games and game technology since 2004.
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 and Information Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1978 and a DSc in Computer Science from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri in 1984.