News at Smith

University of Maryland Hosts First Global Serious Gaming Competition

Mar 27, 2007
Experiential / Reality-based Learning

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College Park, Md. March 27, 2007 - Teams from top business schools throughout the United States, Europe and Asia competed today in the first-ever Global Supply Chain Competition, a revolutionary real-time simulation developed by researchers at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Competition sponsor Sun Microsystems, Inc., donated prizes and powerful servers to host the Web-based game, in which players competed virtually from their home campuses to manage the most efficient supply chain. While currently the game is used as a classroom tool within the Smith School and its global academic affiliates, among its possible industry applications is as a cutting-edge corporate education model and platform for globally distributed organizations.

In a flat world, one of the great challenges is ensuring the consistency of operations and standards across the globe that all parts function across distributed locations as an effective whole, said Howard Frank, dean of the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. The Smith School is known for its research innovations and this is one that promises great potential impact as a future training tool that could allow employees to learn from each other, to interact, and shape corporate decisions, around the globe, and in real time.

During the game each team, which represents a competing computer firm, must decide: what types of computers to make; where to locate factories; where to source their parts; where to sell and how to price their products; and how to transport. They must also forecast sales and place orders based on market conditions that change in real time.

Players had to react quickly in the constantly changing Web environment, as each decision a team made impacted all of the other teams just like the real world for a global supply chain manager, said Sandor Boyson, co-director of Smiths Supply Chain Management Center and a developer of the game. The top teams were those in the lead when the competition ended, but because the game is continuously evolving, it was anyone's game.

The team from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands took home the top prize, portable GPS systems for each team member. Second prize, Apple iPods, went to the team from SooChow University in Taiwan, and third prize, digital cameras, went to Nankai University from China. Prizes were awarded to the three teams commanding the highest profit in the simulation at the end of the four-hour competition, which simulated several years of business.

Sun is pleased to have participated in the development and introduction of this cutting- edge game, said Cahba Kingwood, a regional executive for Southern Education and Research with Sun Microsystems. Creating international communities of learning is important to a greater understanding and appreciation of a global economy, and we applaud the University of Maryland for leading the way with this innovative learning tool. The Global Supply Chain Game is an excellent example of how Java is used to create a real-time interactive learning tool that is both engaging and educational to appeal to the new generation of students.

Not only is this a leading-edge tool for students in the classroom, but its potential is great for industry, too, said Alexander Verbraeck, co-developer of the game from Delft University of Technology. This summer, well be taking the next steps to make the game available to other top universities and we will be working with industry to use and adapt the game to specific client needs.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.