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An Efficient Partitioning Algorithm for Distributed Virtual Environment Systems
March 2002 (vol. 13 no. 3)
pp. 193-211

Distributed virtual environment (DVE) systems model and simulate the activities of thousands of entities interacting in a virtual world over a wide area network. Possible applications for DVE systems are multiplayer video games, military and industrial trainings, and collaborative engineering. In general, a DVE system is composed of many servers and each server is responsible to manage multiple clients who want to participate in the virtual world. Each server receives updates from different clients (such as the current position and orientation of each client) and then delivers this information to other clients in the virtual world. The server also needs to perform other tasks, such as object collision detection and synchronization control. A large scale DVE system needs to support many clients and this imposes a heavy requirement on networking resources and computational resources. Therefore, how to meet the growing requirement of bandwidth and computational resources is one of the major challenges in designing a scalable and cost-effective DVE system. In this paper, we propose an efficient partitioning algorithm that addresses the scalability issue of designing a large scale DVE system. The main idea is to dynamically divide the virtual world into different partitions and then efficiently assign these partitions to different servers. This way, each server will process approximately the same amount of workload. Another objective of the partitioning algorithm is to reduce the server-to-server communication overhead. The theoretical foundation of our dynamic partitioning algorithm is based on the linear optimization principle. We also illustrate how one can parallelize the proposed partitioning algorithm so that it can efficiently partition a very large scale DVE system. Lastly, experiments are carried out to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed partitioning algorithm under various settings of the virtual world.

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Index Terms:
distributed virtual environment, scalability issue, partitioning algorithm, load balancing, communication reduction, linear optimization
Citation:
J.C.S. Lui, M.F. Chan, "An Efficient Partitioning Algorithm for Distributed Virtual Environment Systems," IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 193-211, March 2002, doi:10.1109/71.993202
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