Center for Distributed and Intelligent Computation

George Mason University


Harry Wechsler


The Distributed and Intelligent Computation (DIC) Center focuses on the design, development, and implementation of distributed and intelligent systems. The scientific, engineering and technological thrust is at the interface between computing, sensors, networks, and learning, for applications related to biometrics and forensics, C4I, edutainment (education, entertainment, graphics, and game technology), e-science and web services, high-performance computing, homeland security, human-computer interaction (HCI), mobile and wireless communications, simulation, virtual reality, and scientific visualization, and their combination there of. The unifying and quite unique theme for the DIC Center is to make computing adaptive, aware and self-healing, efficient, human-centered, and secure. The activities the Center has been engaged in are multidisciplinary and they cross departmental and school boundaries.


The DIC Center advances the research mission of GMU by addressing challenges relevant to intelligent and secure processing and communication of information and knowledge. Academic / scientific, industrial, and business organizations require now high bandwidth and secure knowledge highways for communication and collaboration. One of the NSF initiatives on knowledge and distributed intelligence (KDI) in the information age has recognized how “recent advances in computer power and connectivity are reshaping relationships among people and organizations, and transforming the process of discovery, learning and communication. These advances create unprecedented opportunities for providing more rapid and effective access to enormous amounts of information; for transforming this information into knowledge by combining, classifying, and analyzing it in new ways; for studying vastly more complex systems that was hitherto possible; and for increasing in fundamental ways our understanding of learning and intelligence in living and engineering systems.”


The DIC Center supports among others Homeland Security. Our expertise on biometrics and forensics, with an emphasis on face recognition and performance evaluation, is world wide recognized. Additional biometric efforts are focused on video surveillance and monitoring (VSAM). The goal for VSAM is to develop video understanding technology for use in urban and battlefield surveillance applications, where human visual monitoring is too costly, too dangerous, or otherwise impractical.    Novel image understanding technologies developed under VSAM will enable a single human operator to monitor activities over a large, complex area using a distributed network of video sensors.  Sample applications include building security, monitoring restricted access areas in airports, scanning battle zones for sniper activity, and performing reconnaissance on the battlefield.


The DIC center is also involved in pervasive communication and computing, to provide users constant and easy access to information and computation using mobile, smart, and wireless computing devices. The use of such devices require network management, and self-organization and adaptation technologies in order to create a more secure and versatile environment for human activity. Human-centered design is problem-driven, activity-centered, and context-bound, and it employs computing technology as a tool for the user, not as a substitute. Thus, the emphasis is to support human activity using intelligent system tools subject to the constraints, goals, and principles of human-centered design, rather than to build (fully) autonomous systems that mimic humans. One approach to a human-centered use of intelligent system technology seeks to make such systems “team players” in the context of human activity, where people and technology interact to achieve a common purpose.  Our goal is to expand on the human perceptual, intellectual, and motor activities, and on the way to help disabled people as well. Towards that end we have shown how gesture recognition can be used as an intelligent remote control device for TV based on users’ profiles and preferences.




1. Biometrics and Forensics Laboratory

2. Computer Graphics Laboratory

3. Computer Vision and Robotics Laboratory