Wright Patterson Air Force Base (Tec^Edge) division holds Summer At The Tech Edge (SATE) where they combine one thousand college and high school computer science students to work on innovative Air Force Research Lab projects including robotics, virtual worlds, motion tracking, and much more. The Air Force recognized that Virtual World has limitations regarding bandwidth, and scripting limitations that would not allow the students to build complex coding algorithms they needed to build their computer science projects. The Air Force Research Lab wanted to have full control over the servers and intellectual property built by the students therefore an open source virtual world grid that could be hosted on government servers would be the ideal for their needs.
An OpenSimulator custom built grid that consists of eight server grids and a complex network of communication protocols to handle the one thousand students over the summer was proposed. Designing Digitally, Inc. created the grid system using Freeswitch for VOIP, and the Inventory & Asset server was built in OpenSimulator. The development of the grid would allow for meeting rooms, a large size sandbox for students to build projects, war game simulations, a multitude of dynamic controllers for Robotics, and communication between cell phones and the virtual world. The server side system was also managed by a web-based administration system called MONIT that was provided by Doug Maxwell from STTC and the Army. That system allows for the students to restart regions of the grid, and manage the server grid through a web-based administration area.
Overall the development of the Tec^Edge virtual world grid has been an experience for students. Each summer the students have pushed the limitations of the virtual world grid which has prompt Designing Digitally, Inc. to beef up the system to handle the large amount of scripting loads put on it by novice learners of LSL and C# programming. However, the servers have time and time again proven to be able to handle the pressure to allow the students to conduct their experiments successfully throughout the years to come.