SAN ANTONIO, 29 March 2006. Southwest Research Institute has unveiled a prototype software package that enables law enforcement, military, and event management personnel to analyze, model, and research the behaviors and actions of hundreds of individuals in a potentially volatile crowd. The Modeling of Aggregates and Crowd Evaluation software, called MACE Station, examines the actions of individuals in group or aggregate situations.
The prototype offers utilities for constructing scenarios using sets of attributes and behavior settings. It provides a variety of visualization tools and can be used as an analysis platform, as well as a briefing and training tool. MACE Station aggregates are built from hundreds or thousands of unique individuals.
Users can build scenarios from any map and populate it with customized aggregates, controlling the behaviors and appearance of the individuals. During operation, individuals communicate among themselves; interact with the environment by causing destruction, looting and vandalizing; act on other individuals by heckling, protesting, and fighting; and make decisions that affect the outcome of the scenario.
Individuals can be monitored during operation or data can be logged for later study. Support for the introduction and analysis of lethal and non-lethal countermeasures is also addressed in the prototype. All stimuli are customizable.
Individuals in MACE Station make independent decisions, follow and lead, show aggression and resistance, communicate, interact with the environment, and respond, thereby creating overall group dynamics.
"Understanding the behavior of aggregate collections of individuals is challenging, complicated by the fact that modeling systems must take into account the varying behaviors and actions of hundreds or thousands of individuals," says Project Manager Thomas G. Glass, a senior research analyst in the SwRI Training, Simulation and Performance Improvement Division. "Even so, current events in national and international arenas have emphasized the need for such a modeling system."
SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Tex., with more than 3000 employees and an annual research volume of more than $435 million. SwRI internal research funds supported this development. A patent is pending.