Scaling Virtual Worlds with a Physical Metaphor
IEEE Pervasive Computing, 2009

Online virtual worlds have long been an anticipated medium for digital communications. They provide a compelling substrate for shared, networked environments where people can communicate, shop, socialize, collaborate, and learn. However, today’s systems fall short of their imagined potential. The Meru project is designing and implementing an architecture for virtual worlds of the future. Our key insight is that a virtual model of the real world is a comfortable metaphor which addresses a wide range of issues including security, scalability, and federation. This symmetry between real and virtual worlds also permits a natural interaction between the two.