Professor of Computer Science Practice
- Doctoral Degree, Computer Science, Washington University
- Master's Degree, Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Bachelor's Degree, Bioengineering, University of California - San Diego
Michael Zyda is the Founding Director of the USC's Computer Science Games Program, and a Professor of Engineering Practice in the USC Department of Computer Science. At USC, he founded the B.S. in Computer Science (Games), the M.S. in Computer Science (Game Development), and the USC Games joint Advanced Games course 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 nine of the last ten years. His alums have shipped games played by over 5 billion players, about $250B in revenue.
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 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.
Professor Zyda is a pioneer in the following fields - computer graphics, networked virtual reality, modeling and simulation, and serious games.
Zyda was Associate Editor and then Senior Editor for the MIT Press Journal Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments from 1993 - 2004. With Fred Brooks and Henry Fuchs, he co-founded the ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics in 1990.
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.
Zyda 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, awarded in recognition of “extraordinary service” to the National Academies.
In May 2017, Zyda was appointed a member of the National Academy of Inventors in recognition of advanced technological development and innovation as issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office.
In March 2017, Zyda was awarded the IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award for fundamental work in virtual reality networking, body tracking & institutionalizing the application of virtual reality.
In November 2018, he was promoted to IEEE Fellow with the citation “for contributions to game design and networking”.
Zyda 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. He co-holds two patents that form the basis for the nine-axis sensor in the Nintendo Wii U.
- 2011 IEEE Promoted to Senior Member IEEE
- 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
- 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 Computers & Graphics Best Paper 1991
- 1992 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Performance Award
- 1992 Provost of the Naval Postgraduate School Research Recognition 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)