Using Video Games as Optimization Tools

This project tests whether human input obtained through crowd computing can help in finding solutions to problems that are hard for computers or single people to solve, be it by reducing the convergence time of known methods, or by increasing the quality of the solutions. We use
videogames as the means to create our own crowd computing platform: by attracting people to participate, providing the interface through which they can give input, and motivating players to continue participating.
Our game is designed in such a way that, after being taught the game mechanics by example, people perform computation that is useful for our purpose simply by playing it. In particular, this game was designed to find solutions to a combinatorial optimization problem: the Robust
Facility Location Problem. We designed and implemented a visualization for this problem, a user interface for manipulating it and exploring the solution space, and a means to gather the results of a player's playthrough from their devices for analysis.

Author: Luis Perez Estrada