Michael Zyda

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Professor of Computer Science Practice

Education

  • Doctoral Degree, Computer Science, Washington University
  • Master's Degree, Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Bachelor's Degree, Bioengineering, University of California - San Diego

Biography


Michael Zyda is the Founding Director of USC's Computer Science Games Program, and a Professor of Engineering Practice in the USC Department of Computer Science. At USC, he founded the Computer Science Games Program and the year-long advanced game projects course that forms the core of USC Games 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 ten of the last eleven years. His alums have shipped games played by over 5 billion players, about $250B in revenue and $2.5B in payroll to those alums. Zyda is an ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, an IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award winner, a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors and a National Associate of the National Academies.

Research Summary


From Fall 2000 to Fall 2004, he was the Founding Director of the MOVES (modeling, virtual environments, and simulation) Institute located at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS as well. At NPS, Zyda’s NPSNET Research Group built the first networked virtual environment with fully instrumented body suits that played across the Internet. His work on the networking of virtual environments contributed to the development of the IEEE 1278.1 standard for distributed interactive simulation. He helped found the subspecialty in modeling and simulation for the United States Navy, the simulation operations functional area (57) for the US Army and the simulation operations area (MOS-9625) for the US Marine Corps. While at NPS, Zyda was Associate Editor and then Senior Editor for the MIT Press Journal Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments from 1993 - 2004. With Fred Brooks, Henry Fuchs and Mary Whitton, he co-founded the ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics in 1990.

He was a member of the National Research Council Committee that put out the report “Virtual Reality - Scientific and Technological Challenges”. He chaired the NRC Committee that put out the study “Modeling and Simulation - Linking Entertainment and Defense”. That NRC report changed the entire Department of Defense towards the usage of games and entertainment technology for its future modeling and simulation systems. From that report, Zyda wrote the operating plan and research agenda that founded USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies.

For the National Research Council, he has served on committees for the Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Commission, the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, the Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications Board, the Naval Studies Board, the Air Force Studies Board, the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board, the Board on Higher Education and Workforce, the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, and the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources.

Awards


  • 2021 ACM Fellow
  • 2020 National Academy of Inventors Senior Member National Academy of Inventors
  • 2019 Stanford University Distinguished Collaborator
  • 2018 IEEE IEEE Fellow
  • 2017 IEEE IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award
  • 2011 University of Massachusetts, Amherst Alumni Award - Outstanding Achievement in Technology Development
  • 2011 Princeton Review USC Named Top School for Video Game Design for Second Straight Year
  • 2011 IEEE Promoted to Senior Member IEEE
  • 2010 White House Grand Prize Winner in the White House Apps for Healthy Kids competition
  • 2009 ACM Promoted to Senior Member ACM
  • 2009 ACM Appointed a member of the ACM’s Distinguished Speakers Program
  • 2003 National Academy of Science National Associate of the National Academies
  • 2003 Information Technology Software (corporate) award for The MOVES Institute World Technology Network 2003 Finalist
  • 2003 Association for Computing Machinery Recognition of Service Award
  • 2002 Modeling & Simulation Professional Certification Commission Pioneer Certificate
  • 1998 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Research Recognition Award
  • 1996 Association for Computing Machinery Recognition of Service Award
  • 1995 Association for Computing Machinery Recognition of Service Award
  • 1994 Superintendent and Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Instruction Recognition Award
  • 1993 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Performance Award
  • 1992 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Research Recognition AWard
  • 1992 Computers & Graphics Best Paper 1991
  • 1992 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Performance Award
  • 1991 Superintendent and Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Instruction Recognition Award
  • 1991 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Performance Award
  • 1990 Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society Full Member
  • 1990 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Performance Award
  • 1990 Association for Computing Machinery Recognition of Service Award
  • 1989 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Performance Award
  • 1989 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Letter of Commendation for Excellence in Teaching
  • 1988 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Performance Award
  • 1980 ACM National Computer Programming Contest First Place
  • 1977 University of Massachusetts, Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award (Nominated)
Appointments
  • Computer Science

Office
  • EGG 209
  • EGG Company II
  • 746 West Adams, Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 781

Contact Information
  • (310) 463-5774
  • zyda@usc.edu

Links

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