Immersive training platform runs on ‘gamer’s dream’ network
- By Mark Pomerleau
- Jul 16, 2015
Researchers from the Pentagon, Lockheed Martin and the National Science Foundation have created a platform for distributed, immersive training applications called the Virtual World Framework.
The platform makes it easier, faster and less expensive to develop training games and simulations. Software written for this platform can be accessed by multiple players simultaneously through web browsers. And because the software can be deployed to central servers, authors can quickly update the content for all users while preserving the player experience.
The Virtual World Framework is being hosted on the Global Environment for Network Innovations or GENI, which is supported by NSF and described as “an ultra-high-speed, experimental networking testbed.”
"When I found out what GENI was, and where it existed and the fact that it's already all over the country and it's a large pool of resources, it was exactly what my project needed," said Mark Torpey, principal investigator at Lockheed Martin. "It's almost like it was made for my project."
GENI is ideal for shared and collaborative applications that require almost no network latency, like multi-player games in which a click triggers an immediate action. Described as a “gamer’s dream,” GENI passes data without interruption through an end-to-end ‘slice’ its network, which means data is not bounced between Internet service providers en route to a destination. And because GENI is a programmable network, users can tune aspects of its operation to the needs of the data and application, NSF said.
The games developed by the partnership provide a fun learning environment for students who are often unaware that they are developing meaningful skills. “They're playing a game,” Torpey said. "[T]hey're learning math, programming and problem-solving skills and they want to keep playing."
Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.