USC Computer Science Grad Thesis Helps Train Firefighters

The Los Angeles County Fire Department is using artificial intelligence  tools developed by a University of Southern California computer science graduate student to help train new recruits in how to respond to fire emergencies.

USC artificial intelligence expert Milind Tambe and graduate student Nathan Schur, who earned his Ph.D. last year, worked directly with the fire department to develop the system, dubbed DEFACTO, which aims to make training simulation faster and more useful to the department.

DEFACTO enables firefighters to create digital disaster scenarios. Individuals or small teams train on the system using a 3D "omnipresent viewer" to help gauge their reaction to disaster scenarios against ones proposed by the system's teams of artificial agents.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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