Vijai Karthigesu

Vijai Karthigesu

Ubique Networks Inc., a Sydney- and Toronto-based startup that reduces lag time in online gaming, has partnered with Thorold, Ont.-based Caribou Contests Inc. to promote problem-solving skills among students through global Minecraft and math competitions.

Ubique — pronounced U-bi-quay, it’s the Latin word for “everywhere” — has developed technology that significantly reduces the lag time in online communications, especially in multi-player online games. It will now use this technology to improve the performance of Caribou’s global math competitions, which are held six times a year.

“Using Minecraft games based on Caribou’s own math puzzles is an exciting way for many students to look at creatively solving problems,” said Ubique CEO Vijai Karthigesu in a statement. “This is part of Ubique’s strategy to promote the game-based education through Minecraft and other games.”

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Ubique, which received $1 million in equity funding last year, aims to solve a huge problem with multi-player online games. When players in different parts of the world are playing one another, the system is much faster for the player closest to the server, giving that player an unfair advantage.

Ubique’s solution is to develop a network of remote servers, so the players are always playing on a server based roughly equal distances from each of them. As of last spring, it had servers in Toronto, Seattle and Chicago and was growing the network.

It is now working with Caribou Contests, which holds worldwide online math contests for students in Grades 3 to 12. Tens of thousands of students from more than two dozen countries participate in the contests to test their problem-solving skills by resolving math puzzles. The Caribou Cup is awarded once per year to the top performing student within these competitions.

Ubique will reconstruct selected Caribou puzzles within the world of Minecraft. These puzzles include Floodfill, Nim, Sudoku and Chomp. Ubique will also introduce the Caribou Contests to new territories and hold global Minecraft-based tournaments.

“Caribou has shown a cost-effective way for students in many countries to improve their problem solving skills through math puzzles,” said Thomas Wolf, founder and CEO of Caribou. “Our partnership with Ubique will promote math skills around the world even further.”

Karthigesu is based in Toronto, and Ubique has a major development team in Sydney and some sales staff in Nova Scotia.

The gaming industry is now worth $15 billion, and more than 700 million people around the world play multiplayer online games or are engaged in e-sports. Ubique said the numbers are growing.