D.N.B. Ta and S. Zhou


Distributed virtual environments, client assignment, multi-server architecture


Distributed virtual environments (DVEs) are distributed systems that allow multiple geographically distributed clients to interact concurrently in a shared virtual world. DVEs, such as online games, military simulations, and collaborative design, etc., are very popular nowadays. To support scalable DVEs, a multi-server architecture is usually employed, and the virtual world is partitioned into several zones to distribute the load among servers. The client assignment problem arises when assigning the participating clients in the zones to servers. Current approaches usually assign clients to servers according to the locations of clients in the virtual world; i.e., clients interacting in a zone of the virtual world will be assigned to the same server. This approach may degrade the interactivity of DVEs if the network delay from a client to its assigned server is large. In this paper, we formulate the client assignment problem and propose two algorithms to assign clients to servers in a more efficient way. The proposed algorithms are based on the heuristics developed for the well-known terminal assignment problem. Simulation results with the BRITE Internet Topology Generator show that our algorithms are effective in enhancing the interactivity of DVEs.

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