Michael Zyda is the founding director of the USC GamePipe Laboratory, and a professor of Engineering Practice in the USC Department of Computer Science. At USC, he founded the joint games program (now part of USC Games) and took that program from no program to the #1 games program in the world in five years. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2004, he was the founding director of the MOVES Institute located at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey and a professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS as well. From 1986 until the formation of the MOVES Institute, he was the director of the NPSNET Research Group. Professor Zyda's research interests include computer graphics, large-scale, networked 3D virtual environments, agent-based simulation, modeling human and organizational behavior, interactive computer-generated story, computer-generated characters, video production, entertainment/defense collaboration, modeling and simulation, and serious and entertainment games.
He is a pioneer in the following fields: computer graphics, networked virtual environments, modeling and simulation, and serious and entertainment games. He holds a lifetime appointment as a National Associate of the National Academies, an appointment made by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2003, an award in recognition of extraordinary service to the National Academies. He is a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. He served as the principal investigator and development director of the America’s Army PC game funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. He took America’s Army from conception to three million plus registered players and hence, transformed Army recruiting. The creation of the America’s Army game founded the serious games field.