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Online gaming research leads Okanagan College team to Best Paper Award at international conference
Okanagan College Media Release

Khmelevesky_Alstad Jan 2015A research paper born of collaboration between students, professors, and industry has resulted in international accolades for Okanagan College. 

Exploring improvements into both speed and connectivity in the online gaming world, the paper titled Minecraft Computer Game Simulation and Network Performance Analysis received the Best Paper Award at the second International VisioGame 2014 conference in Bandung, Indonesia held this past November. It will also be published in an upcoming journal with the U.K. Wessex Institute of Technology WitPress.

The paper was authored by fourth-year Okanagan College Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree students Trevor Alstad and Riley Dunkin, and supervised by Professor Dr. Youry Khmelevsky. It was written in collaboration with WTFast CEO Robert Bartlett and CTO Alex Needham, as well as Universite Paris-Est Creteil professor Dr. Gaetan Hains.

“Our goal was to look at online games optimization, performance, and monitoring of Gamers Private Networks for faster gaming with better connections,” says Alstad. “In particular we analyzed specific gaming metrics that hadn’t been explored yet. You could consider our research as a foundation for improving gaming networks within the industry. As a student, having the opportunity to be a part of this project and receiving this award goes to show the caliber of the programs available at the College, and it reinforces my opinion that this program was the right choice to prepare me for success in my career.”

The team created a virtual network with automated game players to test varying degrees of play in a simulated environment. Gaming companies can use this research to help them determine the capacity of their games and overall server performance to enhance the end-user gamer’s experience.

“This research was presented in a highly competitive arena that included international university-academic, PhD students, and post-doctoral research,” explains Dr. Khmelevsky. “By teaching students what the tech industry needs and giving them co-op opportunities for applied research we provide them the tools they need to advance their studies and their careers.”

The six-month research project, from July to December 2014, was made possible by federal grant funding received from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and additional in-kind contributions from Okanagan based technology company WTFast.

“At the College we aim to provide a learning environment that goes beyond the textbooks and theory,” says Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Education. “We take pride in facilitating opportunities for the students to gain a broader, practical learning experience through collaborations with industry and global researchers.”  

The research further reinforces that Kelowna is quickly becoming known as a hot-bed for technology innovation and start-ups. A recent Accelerate Okanagan study estimates the tech sector in our region contributes $1 billion to our economy, and employs more than 6,500 residents.

“We’re seeing a real boom in Kelowna’s tech sector, and as such recruiting highly qualified and experienced candidates to join the workforce is a priority for us,” says WTFast CEO Robert Bartlett. “Supporting and collaborating with students helps us further their education and prepare them to join our industry.”

Okanagan College offers a four-year bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree and a two-year Computer Information Systems diploma that includes a broad selection of computing (software design and development, computer systems, or database systems), mathematics, business, and communications courses allowing graduates to function successfully in a variety of roles in the Information Technology field upon graduation. A co-op component is also available to provide industry experience that enables students to take the first steps in their IT career. 

For more information on the Computer Information Systems programs at the College, please visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/computerscience.