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Science and computer games join forces in a Chair

On Tuesday 24 September, École Polytechnique and Ubisoft announced the creation of the "Science and Video Games" education and research chair. The goal is to make video games more realistic and innovative through science, and to use this medium to spread scientific culture.

École Polytechnique and Ubisoft create the "Science and Video Games" Chair

Putting the science into video games and making science through video games. These are the two main goals of the "Science and Video Games" Chair, signed on Tuesday, 24 September, between École Polytechnique, Ubisoft and the École Polytechnique Foundation.

This education and research chair combines top-level training and multidisciplinary laboratories with the state-of-the-art video entertainment industry. It will be organised around a GameLab, a unit of video game professionals immersed in the laboratories of École Polytechnique's research centre to create a close link between science and video games.

Importing science into video games

Professionals in the video entertainment industry are seeking to create increasingly credible and intelligent worlds and are using scientific simulation to improve accessibility and rendering (3D animation, sound spatialisation, voice), but also as a potential gameplay element (artificial intelligence, physical, economic and social models). Proximity to the multidisciplinary research centre opens up perspectives on topics that can be developed by bringing together students, industrialists and scientists in collaborative projects.

Train scientists for video game professions

The Chair also aims to create a pool of scientific engineers who are specially trained in exploring issues related to video games, particularly in the context of collective scientific projects that will confront students with current research in the field. This training is in response to an attraction for students to the video game industry, but also to an interest on the part of the studios to provide its various professions with high-level scientific profiles.

Educate through play in science and its methods

Little known as it is to the general public and complex in appearance, science can rely on video games to remove these obstacles: thanks to its popularity, its easily identifiable graphic objects, the multitude of its playful mechanisms and the power of interactivity, it makes it possible to initiate and involve a wide audience in complex scientific concepts, without requiring intense learning efforts. The Chair and its GameLab will propose and support game development based on faithful scientific content and original and entertaining materials for all types of players.

The Chair also intends to initiate or reinforce exchanges between video game professionals, students and scientists through the organization of "Science and Games" conferences. These open meetings will be an opportunity to generate new ideas that can be explored within the framework of the Chair, or developed by video game manufacturers, l'X laboratories, or in partnership. The first of these conferences will be held on 26 and 27 November 2019 at École Polytechnique.

Raphaël Granier de Cassagnac, a researcher in particle physics at CNRS, is designated Chair holder and head of GameLab.