Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Andrew Strelzoff

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Tulio Sulbaran

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Joe Zhang

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Ray Seyfarth

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

Nan Wang

Committee Member 5 Department



In the technology field, simulations and collaborative virtual reality environments (CVREs) are not generally combined because it is complicated to develop large scale simulations within CVREs. The complexity of combining these two technologies in order to form a better form of visualization stems from the lack of a methodology to help derive these scalable simulations. Simulations require very complex calculations that the CVRE cannot perform as it is overloaded in calculations for the maintenance and stability of the environment itself. Since the simulation cannot be held within the CVRE, the solution is to move the simulation external to the CVRE and provide means for the CVRE and simulation to communicate so the scene within the CVRE can be updated. While this increases the performance of the simulation in the CVRE, another element is required to make the simulation scalable. Since the CVRE controls the interactions and the simulation controls the calculations and reactions, the basic structure of the this operations can be visualized as a state machine. By implementing the simulation as a state machine, if another element needs to be added to the simulation, it is a matter of implementing a new state and adding the transitions between the new state and all preexisting states. Implementing the simulation as a state machine leaves the CVRE responsible for the visualization of the simulation and provides means for the simulation and CVRE to communicate, which leads to the idea of a new developmental methodology for the visualization of large scale simulations in CVRE. This methodology will result in the ability to provide simulations in need of a visualization to be quickly and cost effectively implemented in a CVRE so that single users can visualize and interact. This methodology will not only impact those in need of simulations in the result of more simulation and training software, but also provide a better workforce equipped with decision-making tools and more widely available simulation and training software.