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Two Okanagan College students help local tech company gain a competitive edge
Okanagan College Media Release

Youry K July 2014An Okanagan College professor has been awarded a federal research grant that will help a growing Kelowna gaming company and provide three students valuable experience in Kelowna’s competitive tech market.

Currently two students Trevor Alstad and Riley Dunkin, in the Bachelor of Computer Information Systems program, have already started working on the project studying ways to monitor and optimize the game services of Kelowna-based technology company WTFast. They are working under the direction of project supervisor and Okanagan College Computer Science professor Dr. Youry Khmelevsky.

The research is being funded through a College and Community Program Innovation grant of $24,990 from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). It is the first NSERC grant the College has received.

“The grant will subsidize the first step in the design, construction and testing of a new layer of game server software, which will take six months,” says Dr. Khmelevsky.

“When technology companies have a bottleneck in service they usually add servers to compensate, but adding extra hardware to the pool is not always optimal because they unnecessarily consume power, human resources and money,” he says.

To help solve this problem, Alstad and Dunkin will be studying how to improve performance between gamers’ workstations and WTFast’s game server clusters without adding costly infrastructure.

“It’s one thing to learn something in class but another when you have to apply it in a live scenario, and fix problems in real time. It takes what I’ve learned to a whole other level,” says Alstad.

This project is just another example of the College commitment to industry-relevant applied learning.

“Applied Research and innovation continues to be an important element for students and employees at Okanagan College regularly,” says Okanagan College’s Vice President of Education, Andrew Hay.

“Whether our students are involved in projects with local companies or our employees gaining external funds to assist with product and business development, Okanagan College is committed to aiding innovation and helping local industry. This is one of the many ways that the College helps create more career opportunities in the Okanagan,” he says.

WTFast CEO Robert Bartlett agrees.

“We always seize the opportunity to partner with the College because these projects help us develop local talent, hopefully hire them after graduation, and ultimately build the tech industry in the Okanagan,” says Bartlett.

“The resulting software will make it much easier for WTFast’s customers to combine and optimize resources from different providers and will be a great marketing opportunity for both WTFast, and the College’s Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree program,” says Dr. Khmelevsky.