Innovative tool enables rapid development of intelligent simulation,
training, decision support, monitoring and control applications
SAN MATEO, California, June 1, 2004 – Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. (www.stottlerhenke.com) today launched SimBionic™ 2.0, an innovative visual programming tool that enables rapid development of software applications for simulation, automated training, decision support, and monitoring and control. SimBionic offers a visual editor that lets programmers and non- programmers alike specify application logic by drawing and configuring finite state machines and flow charts. This makes SimBionic the first general-purpose, easy-to-use visual facility for building “smart” software for a broad spectrum of real-time and interactive systems.
“SimBionic is a flexible, versatile tool that enables subject matter experts to encode analysis and decision-making knowledge within software visually, without programming,” says Richard Stottler, president and co-founder of Stottler Henke Associates. “This enables organizations to encode expertise within software agents more easily and economically, compared to traditional programming languages and tools, so they provide far greater value than traditional applications.”
For example, Stottler Henke used SimBionic to develop a real-time expert system for assessing naval tactical situations, called CICOpt. It is an intelligent identification software module for use onboard aircraft carriers to identify air and surface radar tracks. In CICOpt, SimBionic’s logic executes continuously in real time to analyze track trajectories, actions, interactions, and other identification data to identify the type of aircraft or ship being tracked and determine whether it’s friendly, enemy, or neutral.
SimBionic has also been used to enable intelligent tutoring systems in subject areas such as military tactical decision-making, helicopter piloting, and the use of complex medical devices. These tutoring systems serve as automated instructors that use hierarchical finite state machines to monitor, track, and assess actions of students during free play simulations to identify specific areas of poor performance or misconceptions that deserve closer attention.
SimBionic also is at the core of the Intelligent Patient Data Review Assistant (IPDRA), currently under development by Stottler Henke for the U.S. Army. IPDRA is a web-based intelligent decision support system that presents interactive, information-dense graphical displays, so clinicians can quickly see patterns and trends in multivariate patient data. IPDRA lets users define each view’s complex reporting logic using SimBionic’s visual user interface — a significantly easier process than coding in a programming language like Java. Simplified report authoring makes it possible to create large libraries of reports, each designed to report the patient data that is relevant to a particular medical problem, body system, or patient demographic group.
Earlier versions of SimBionic were targeted specifically at developers of games and training simulations, focused on specifying the control logic that enables characters, devices, and other entities to exhibit intelligent “behaviors”. For example, SimBionic has been used to control friendly and enemy ships and aircraft within simulations of naval battles. This simulation was a part of the Tactical Action Officer Intelligent Tutoring System, designated by the U.S. Navy as a Small Business Innovation Research success story.
SimBionic 2.0 is the second addition to Stottler Henke’s SimBionic product family this year. In February, the company released SimBionic for Java, which enables SimBionic’s real-time logic to be embedded within applications running in Java technology applets, desktop applications, web server applications, and mobile devices. Stottler Henke released the original C++ version of the software in December 2002.
SimBionic 2.0 contains more than 40 usability enhancements from the original release, which taken together make the process of designing complex behaviors more efficient. The new release also generates documentation describing each behavior’s logic in HTML format which reduces the cost and effort of reviewing and refining the behaviors’ logic over the course of an application development project.
SimBionic consists of two major components: a visual authoring tool, and a runtime engine. The SimBionic authoring tool is a standard Windows application. Because SimBionic presents its logic graphically, it can communicate more information to more people compared to textual methods. Visual representations can be understood by experts and by software programmers alike, so they can speak the same language, resulting in superior collaborative development. The SimBionic engine executes behaviors by tracing through the nodes and links in the hierarchical finite state machines. The engine is efficient, highly scalable, and provides Java technology and C++ application programming interfaces, so software developers can easily embed it within applications running on a desktop or server. The SimBionic authoring tool runs on Microsoft Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP operating systems. The SimBionic runtime engine runs on these operating systems, as well as Linux.
SimBionic price and availability
SimBionic 2.0 is available immediately from Stottler Henke. Pricing is on a per-seat basis, and varies based on the size of the installation. 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. Stottler Henke’s clients include manufacturers, retailers, educational media companies and government agencies. Stottler Henke was named one of the “top 100” companies making a significant impact on the military training industry in 2003 by Military Training Technology magazine.
June 1, 2004