Stottler Henke releases newest version open-source simbionic intelligent agent toolkit

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Jim Ong


Award-winning software enables rapid, visual development of intelligent behaviors and adaptive control for simulations, real-time systems, and complex event processing.

At I/ITSEC 2016, the preeminent professional development event for the global training and simulation community, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. ( today announced the release of version 3.0 of its SimBionic® open-source intelligent agent toolkit. SimBionic helps developers create realistic free-play simulations, track and assess student performance during training exercises, enable complex event processing of threats and emergencies, and provide robust and effective control of complex systems. SimBionic’s highly visual user interface makes it possible to create these intelligent behaviors quickly and intuitively.

Intelligent agents sense events and state conditions in the environment, assess this information in relation to their goals, and then take appropriate actions. However, using traditional software development methods to encode this reasoning is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.

SimBionic® software makes it possible to specify real-time intelligent software agents visually, by drawing and configuring behavioral transition networks (BTNs). Each BTN is a network of nodes connected by connectors (links), similar to a flow chart or finite state machine (FSM). Visual logic also makes it easy to show, discuss, and verify the behaviors with members of the development team, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders. BTNs are especially effective for developing tactical decision-making modules, real-time reactive planners, and adaptive execution systems which detect, track, and classify complex sequences of events and state conditions and then take appropriate actions.

SimBionic 3.0 supports powerful features for building robust, intelligent, real-time systems. For example, BTNs can access local and global variables and can call JavaScript functions and Java methods, using the JavaScript engine embedded within the Java run-time system. BTNs are hierarchical: a node within a BTN can invoke other BTNs. Hierarchical BTNs simplify the logic of higher-level BTNs by encapsulating details within lower-level BTNs. BTNs can read and write from/to message queues and blackboards to enable agents to cooperate and share information. Support for exception handlers make it possible to develop agent behaviors which handle unexpected events and situations cleanly and gracefully.

SimBionic is an enabling technology for numerous innovative training, simulation, and decision support systems. For example, SimBionic controls simulated characters and assesses student performance in PORTS, a simulator developed by Northrop Grumman for training U.S. Navy tactical action officers at the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) in Rhode Island. SimBionic-controlled intelligent agents, rather than instructors, play the roles of simulated crew members, greatly reducing the need for instructors to conduct effective training. SimBionic also evaluates the TAO students’ performance automatically and infers tactical principles that were or were not applied correctly, so it can coach students during scenarios and provide a detailed report card afterwards.

Because of SimBionic’s ability to create intelligent characters and automated student performance evaluation, Stottler Henke was honored with a Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Award for Innovative Technology. SimBionic helped Stottler Henke win the prestigious Tibbetts Award, given by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The US Air Force recognized SimBionic® as a successfully transitioned technology developed with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding. Two applications which embed SimBionic technology have also received recognition: the U.S. Air Force recognized the SimVentive training system toolkit and the U.S. Navy recognized the Tactical Action Officer intelligent tutoring system as Small Business Innovation Research success stories.

“We are delighted to make the SimBionic intelligent agent toolkit available as open-source software,” says Richard Stottler, president, Stottler Henke. “We believe that widespread availability of SimBionic’s advanced reasoning technology will accelerate the development of intelligent software systems for training, simulation, and intelligent control,” continues Stottler.

SimBionic is available for download from
Development of SimBionic was supported in large part by R&D funding provided by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. In 2012, Stottler Henke, in a White House ceremony, was awarded the prestigious Tibbetts award, which honors small businesses for outstanding technical achievements and innovativeness. US Government agencies have designated ten Stottler Henke systems as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) success stories. Four Stottler Henke systems have been included in Spinoff, NASA’s showcase of successful spinoff technologies. Stottler Henke was the subject of a NASA Hallmarks of Success video profile for its work developing and later commercializing advanced scheduling and training software systems. Stottler Henke received a “Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning” award for innovative technology. Stottler Henke was named one of the “Top 100” companies making a significant impact on the military training industry by Military Training Technology magazine for 2016 and eleven previous years, Stottler Henke has received a Blue Ribbon from Military Training Technology magazine, recognizing it as a company that leads the industry in innovation. Email: .