Is it possible for software to understand and anticipate human reasoning? At SoarTech, we believe it is. We build intelligent systems for defense, government, and commercial applications that emulate human decision making in order to enhance user abilities – saving time, money, and lives.

Since 1998, we’ve studied and modeled many kinds of human behavior in order to create software that “thinks the way people think”: constantly learning, getting smarter, and adapting to new times and situations. Much of this scientific base is encoded within our computational cognitive architecture, which enables the creation of autonomous software agents that can reason over large amounts of human-level knowledge. The end result for users is a system that is not just a tool in their hands, but a thinking partner.


Our work is rooted in cognitive science, a deep understanding of human perception, memory, performance, learning, and emotion. To this we add a careful analysis of domain knowledge, built into our systems so they work the way you work. We also design features to help users preserve and share knowledge, completing the knowledge cycle.


All of our software exists to help humans learn, think, and work better. We engineer our systems with the most natural and adaptable user interfaces possible so that the machine supports the human, not vice versa.

A HISTORY OF Artificial Intelligence

Soar Technology, Inc. (SoarTech) began operations in 1998 as a spin-off from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Michigan, where its founding team developed TacAir-Soar from 1992-1997, under the leadership of Professor John E. Laird and funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Synthetic Theatre of War (STOW) project. TacAir-Soar is a fully autonomous intelligent agent system that provides high-fidelity, realistic, entity-level behaviors for a wide range of aircraft and missions. When the university research phase concluded, SoarTech was formed with an initial contract to support the U.S. Air Force Warfighter Training Laboratory, providing TacAir-Soar synthetic aircraft for distributed mission training exercises.

Current customers include:

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Office of Naval Research (ONR)

Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDEC)

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Other U.S. agencies

SoarTech has its main facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a satellite office in Orlando, Florida. It is an active member in the National Training Systems Association (NTSA) and National Defense Industry Association (NDIA), and actively participates in the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC), and the Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation (BRIMS) Conference.


At SoarTech, we believe that helping enhance human thinking doesn’t begin with software. It begins with humans. That is why we pride ourselves in bringing together the knowledge leaders to create unique and creative solutions to help solve challenges ranging from life saving to cost saving and beyond.



Dr. Michael van Lent leads research and development of artificial intelligence for training and serious games, transitioning research into engineered solutions. Dr. van Lent received a PhD at the University of Michigan in 2000. Prior to receiving his PhD, he worked at the Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence (NCARAI) at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He joined the Institute for Creative Technologies in 2001, where he became the Associate Director for Games Research and a Research Associate Professor in the Computer Science department at USC. Dr. van Lent has participated in the design and development of many immersive training applications including Full Spectrum Warrior, Full Spectrum Command, the Joint Fires and Effects Trainer System (JFETS), and ELECT BiLAT. He serves on various editorial boards and edits IEEE Computer’s Entertainment Computing Column.



Dr. Dylan Schmorrow works to advance research and technology tracks, expand cross-collaboration among internal and external team members, and identify science and technology transition opportunities. Dr. Schmorrow holds a doctorate in Experimental Psychology from Western Michigan University, as well as four Masters Degrees in areas including Operations Research and Modeling and Simulation. He recently retired as a U.S. Navy Captain after 20 years of service where he was an Acquisition Professional in the Naval Acquisition Corps and the U.S. National Leader for DoD’s international participation involving the human sciences to enhance the human contribution to military systems performance. Additional past service includes Deputy Director, Human Performance, Training, and BioSystems at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Program Manager for DARPA, Research Scientist at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Chief Scientist for Human-Technology Integration at the Naval Research Lab, Executive Secretary for the Defense Science Board Task Force on the Role of Autonomy in DoD Systems, Program Officer at the Office of Naval Research, and Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Research. He is a recipient of the Navy’s Top Scientists and Engineers Award and has received several professional and military awards for transforming promising technologies into operational capabilities.

Denise Nicholson, PHD

Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Denise Nicholson, is primarily responsible for leadership of programmatic execution and engineering capabilities for SoarTech’s matrixed organization. Dr. Nicholson has a unique blend of over 30 years of government, academia and industry experience. She began her career at AFRL’s Rome Photonics Lab and rose to be the Deputy Director of Science & Technology at NAVAIR Training Systems Division. Dr. Nicholson founded the Applied Cognition and Training in Immersive Virtual Environments Laboratory at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training, where she held joint appointments in the Modeling and Simulation Graduate Program, Industrial Engineering and Management Department and the College of Optics and Photonics/CREOL. Dr. Nicholson transitioned to industry as the founding GM of DSCI – MESH Solutions, LLC. She has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona, a B.S. in Electrical Computer Engineering from Clarkson University, and is a Certified Modeling and Simulation Professional (CMSP). A graduate of Leadership Orlando, Denise is dedicated to STEM educational initiatives, serving as Coach of the Netrunners CyberPatriot Team and the STEM representative of the CL FL NDIA Board.  She is honored to be the first woman to serve as an Executive Board of Trustee at Lake Highland Preparatory School.

Charlie Kola

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Kola leads the shared services team at SoarTech.  He is responsible for the company’s Finance, Accounting, Contracts, Procurement, IT, and Human Resources functions.  Prior to joining SoarTech, Mr. Kola served as Vice President of Finance for an Alaskan-Native Corporation, managing 30+ government contracts across multiple locations.  He has also served as Controller and Vice President of Finance for a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned (SDVOSB) Company that grew to $1B+ in cost-plus, T&M, and fixed-price contracts, supporting military operations across 13 countries.  He holds a BS in Finance & Business from Franklin University, a Masters in Financial Economics from Ohio University, and an inactive Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license in the State of Ohio.  Mr. Kola is also a graduate of the Executive Development Program at The Wharton School.

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