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June 12, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:17pm

IBM PLAYS MULTI-USER GAMES WITH JAVA TO TEST PERFORMANCE

By CBR Staff Writer

A game portraying life in a post-Yeltsin apocalyptic Russia is not the normal testing ground for IBM Corp’s Java technology, but that’s the case with a real-time collaboration technology it is working on codenamed InVerse. IBM has got together with fledgling gaming software company Red Storm Entertainment Inc, whose chairman is the political thriller writer Tom Clancy. Red storm is incorporating InVerse into a game called Tom Clancy’s Politika, which will preview at a show in Atlanta next week and ship in the fall. InVerse is Java middleware; a set of interfaces and services that are extensible depending on the application, and take advantage of the communications layer in the middleware to enable real-time interaction between multiple users. It has various channels supporting different media types: audio, motion, text and so on, and applications can dynamically install and uninstall the channels as needed. It also includes agents that provide special services to optimize data processing. IBM was very coy as to what it would be doing with InVerse or when. But Cort DeVoe, the company’s director of open application technologies was keen to talk up what he described as its fault tolerance capabilities. It would seem to us that finance would be one market where real-time collaborative software that enables users to exchange multimedia data over the internet would be useful. IBM has appointed one of its senior architects, Richard Redpath, to be Red Storm project manager. The work is being done jointly, but neither would say whether any money has changed hands as a result of the collaboration. Politika is only an eight-player game, but IBM reckons it can scale way beyond that, into the thousands. Incidentally, Redpath has 35-40 machines set up in the Research Triangle labs in Raleigh, North Carolina testing Java performance on multi-users systems. He says there is about a 10% performance overhead running Java over C++, but that is outweighed by the ability to run across platforms, and anyhow, most of the delays were due to network bottlenecks, he said. He is using a standard Java compiler, not a Just-In-Time version, to test performance.

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