Games and Simulations
Our work on computer games and simulations spans several aspects of building these systems. Our current research can be divided into the following areas:
- SGL: We are working on a new scripting language for game AI and simulation logic. We employ scalable declarative processing techniques to process the scripts written in this language efficiently. Nevertheless, we do not impose declarative programming on developers of these scripts, but instead allow them to stay in an imperative programming model as long as they follow certain high-level program design patterns
- MMOs: Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs) present a set of new challenges in how to balance computational complexity and scalability. While current systems favor one over the other, we are building novel infrastructure for virtual environments that will allow MMOs to scale without degrading the realism of the virtual world.
- Recovery: Both MMOs and large-scale simulations have fault-tolerance as one of their basic requirements. We are designing new state recovery techniques that are more adequate to the particularities of these applications. MMOs, for example, have latency as a major concern; simulations must be run on large clusters. As an output of our research, we will open source a library of recovery techniques that allow developers to easily add fault-tolerance with low overhead to their games and simulations.
- Simulations: Agent-based simulations are an exciting tool for understanding complex systems in the physical world. One of the main challenges with these simulations is to combine scalable processing with ease of programming. We are currently working on new techniques to automatically scale up micro-simulations of complex traffic systems.
- Jitter Tolerance: As scientists turn to the cloud as a new platform to run their time-stepped applications, they are faced with new challenges. These applications will now have to deal with large variance in message delivery times, a key characteristic of today's cloud environments. We are currently exploring methods to automatically make these applications jitter tolerant in the cloud.
- Creativity: We are starting to explore the connections between games, education, computer science, and creativity. We believe technologies such as virtual environments may help individuals both familiarize themselves with computer science concepts as well as freely create new modes of interaction among each other.
- Database Research in Computer Games, presented at SIGMOD 2009 (Slides Forthcoming)
CoursesWe offer courses in computer game design through Cornell's computer science department as part of the Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC). The primary courses are:
- Walker White
- Johannes Gehrke
- Al Demers
- Marcos Vaz Salles
- Ben Sowell
- Nitin Gupta
- Tuan Cao
- Guozhang Wang
- Tao Zou
- Tuan Cao, Marcos Vaz Salles, Benjamin Sowell, Yao Yue, Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, Walker White, Fast Checkpoint Recovery Algorithms for Frequently Consistent Applications. In Proc. of ACM SIGMOD 2011.
- Tuan Cao, Benjamin Sowell, Marcos Vaz Salles, Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, BRRL: A Recovery Library for Main-Memory Applications in the Cloud (Demo Paper). In Proc. of ACM SIGMOD 2011.
- Guozhang Wang, Marcos Vaz Salles, Benjamin Sowell, Xun Wang, Tuan Cao, Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, Walker White. Behavioral Simulations in MapReduce. PVLDB 3(1): 952-963 (2010).
- Guozhang Wang, Marcos Vaz Salles, Benjamin Sowell, Xun Wang, Tuan Cao, Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, Walker White. Behavioral Simulations in MapReduce. CoRR abs/1005.3773: (2010).
Marcos Vaz Salles, Tuan Cao, Benjamin Sowell, Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, Christoph Koch, and Walker White,
An Evaluation of Checkpoint Recovery for Massively Multiplayer Online Games.
In Proc. of the 2009 VLDB Conf. on Very Large Databases (VLDB 2009).
Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, Christoph Koch, Benjamin Sowell, and Walker White,
Database Research in Computer Games (Tutorial Session).
In Proc. of the 2009 ACM SIGMOD Int. Conf. on Management of Data (SIGMOD 2009).
- Walker White, Christoph Koch, Johannes Gehrke, and Alan Demers Better Scripts, Better Games. In ACM Queue, January 2009.
- Nitin Gupta, Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, Philipp Unterbrunner, and Walker White, Scalability for Virtual Worlds. In Proc. of the 2009 ICDE Conf. on Data Engineering (ICDE 2009).
- Benjamin Sowell, Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, Nitin Gupta, Haoyuan Li, and Walker White, From Declarative Languages to Declarative Processing in Computer Games. In Proc. of the 2009 CIDR Conf. on Innovative Data Systems Research (CIDR 2009).
- Walker White, Benjamin Sowell, Johannes Gehrke, and Alan Demers, Declarative Processing for Computer Games. In Proc. of the 2008 ACM SIGGRAPH Sandbox Symposium (Sandbox 2008).
Robert Albright, Alan Demers, Johannes Gehrke, Nitin Gupta, Rick Keilty, Hooyeon Lee,
Gregory Sadowski, Benjamin Sowell, and Walker White,
A Scalable Language for Data Driven Games (Demonstration Paper).
In Proc. of the 2008 ACM SIGMOD Int. Conf. on Management of Data (SIGMOD 2008).
See a video of the demonstration.
Note: Given the lead time of SIGMOD, this paper describes an early version of the SGL language. There have been many changes since then; see the Sandbox paper above for a more definitive version of SGL.
- Nitin Gupta, Alan Demers, and Johannes Gehrke, SEMMO: A Scalable Engine for Massively Multiplayer Online Games (Demonstration Paper). In Proc. of the 2008 ACM SIGMOD Int. Conf. on Management of Data (SIGMOD 2008).
- Walker White, Christoph Koch, Nitin Gupta, Johannes Gehrke, and Alan Demers. Database Research Opportunities in Computer Games. In SIGMOD Record, September 2007.
- Walker White, Alan Demers, Christoph Koch, Johannes Gehrke, and Rajmohan Rajagopalan. Scaling Games to Epic Proportions. In Proceedings of the 2007 ACM SIGMOD Int. Conf. on Management of Data (SIGMOD 2007).
This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant IIS-0725260, by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and by a grant from Microsoft. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.