The NSERC Discovery Grant has been awarded to the GAIDG Lab for the Diverse Synthetic Crowds in Media, Design, and Analysis research program.
The goal of the proposed research is to radically transform the models, toolsets, and practices in synthetic crowd research and applications. Synthetic crowds are the practice of simulating the movement, behaviours, and interactions of many humans. The simulation of humans is extremely important to several research and applied activities. This includes everything from the large-scale animation of characters for film and television to the testing and recreation of safety-critical scenarios. Past approaches for achieving this are largely focused on creating compelling and naturalistic movements of normative crowds using simplified representations of humans. These models have been applied in toolchains that do not adequately address the need for evaluation, context-aware selection of models, and the inclusion of diverse simulated humans. This means that synthetic crowds are largely not representative of individuals, and if they are not representative, then designs, media, and other applications using these synthetic crowds are not representative. In the proposed program, we focus on increasing the fidelity and scope of humans and their activities in methods for crowd animation, environment design, and both environment and policy analysis.