The science of virtual reality provides an entirely new opportunity in the area of simulation of surgical skills using computers for training, evaluation, and eventually certification. A taxonomy of the types of simulators is proposed based upon the level of complexity of the task which is being simulated. These tasks are precision placement, simple manipulation, complex manipulation, and integrated procedure. Representative simulators in each category are illustrated and discussed in the context of their contribution to the education and training of a surgeon. The importance of a curriculum is to give content to the role of simulators as another advanced tool for education. Simulators must be integrated into a comprehensive curriculum and not considered as a stand-alone system. The current accomplishments as well as challenges are discussed.