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Trends and Controversies
January/February 2011 (vol. 26 no. 1)
pp. 80-89
Hsinchun Chen, University of Arizona
Yulei Zhang, University of Arkansas

The rich social media data generated in virtual worlds has important implications for business, education, social science, and society at large. Similarly, massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) have become increasingly popular and have online communities comprising tens of millions of players. They serve as unprecedented tools for theorizing about and empirically modeling the social and behavioral dynamics of individuals, groups, and networks within large communities. Some technologists consider virtual worlds and MMOGs to be likely candidates to become the Web 3.0. AI can play a significant role, from multiagent avatar research and immersive virtual interface design to virtual world and MMOG Web mining and computational social science modeling. This issue includes articles with research examples from distinguished experts in social science and computer science. Each article presents a unique research framework, computational methods, and selected results.

1. W.S. Bainbridge ed., Online Worlds: Convergence of the Real and the Virtual, Springer, 2010.
2. W.S. Bainbridge, The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World, MIT Press, 2010.
3. J. Srivastava tech. reports, Dept. of Computer Science and Eng., Univ. of Minnesota, 1998–2009; www.cs.umn.edu/researchtechnical_reports.php?page=author&author_id=68 .
4. Y. Zhang et al., "An Integrated Framework for Avatar Data Collection from the Virtual World: A Case Study in Second Life," IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 25, no. 4, 2010, pp. 17–23.
1. W.S. Bainbridge, Online Multiplayer Games, Morgan and Claypool, 2009.
2. W.S. Bainbridge ed., Online Worlds: Convergence of the Real and the Virtual, Springer, 2010.
3. K.E. Merrick and M.L. Maher, Motivated Reinforcement Learning: Curious Characters for Multiuser Games, Springer, 2009.
1. A. Bagga, "The Emergence of Games as a Service," industry report, ThinkEquity, 2009.
2. K. Jin Shim, R. Sharan, and J. Srivastava, "Player Performance Prediction in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)," Proc. Pacific-Asia Conf. Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (PAKDD), vol. 2, LNAI 6119, Springer, 2010, pp. 71–80.
3. Y. Huang et al., "The Formation of Task-Oriented Groups: Exploring Combat Activities in Online Games," Proc. IEEE Int'l Conf. Computational Science and Eng., vol. 4, IEEE CS Press, 2009, pp. 122–127.
4. J. Kawale, A. Pal, and J. Srivastava, "Churn Prediction in MMORPGs: A Social Influence Based Approach," Proc. IEEE Int'l Conf. Computational Science and Eng., vol. 4, IEEE CS Press, 2009, pp. 423–428.
5. B. Keegan et al., "Dark Gold: Statistical Properties of Clandestine Networks in Massively Multiplayer Online Games," Proc. IEEE 2nd Int'l Conf. Social Computing, IEEE CS Press, 2010, pp. 201–208.

Index Terms:
Intelligent systems, AI, virtual worlds, massively multiplayer online games, social media
Citation:
Hsinchun Chen, Yulei Zhang, "Trends and Controversies," IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 80-89, Jan.-Feb. 2011, doi:10.1109/MIS.2011.21
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