Now with this renewed interest I begun a search for tools and algorithms, taking into account the nowadays power behind processors and graphical cards, I found some very interesting projects and new developments in the second life community that might open bright possibilities for the future research in the Virtual Environments field.
1) Social Autopoiesis by Adam Brokken
Autonomous agent/character in Second Life, "written in C#, uses libsecondlife and AIMLBot libraries; his current brain is scaled downfor testing purposes... my main goal is to make him a useful addition to Second Life by adding in Torley Linden's marvelously updated Second Life knowledge base, and in general making him Second Life friendly, from teaching building skills, to explaining the many cliques in-world to those users who simply have noclue what they just saw or experienced. As libsecondlife adds more features and becomes more stable, I'd also like to add preprogrammed classes, that will do full step-by-step walk-throughs with new users, teaching them the ways of Second Life."
"I am also working on a method to have the bot remember conversations, adding more animations based on responses, etc. [Whether] he will ever live up to his last name, time will tell." 
Social Autopoiesis (direct teleport here)
2) WindLight Technology
A project that aimed at producing "unparalleled visual fidelity and atmospheric representation... within the realm of realtime simulation. Remarkably fast and easy to integrate. Unlike other methods which require specific per-material shaders, WindLight treats all parts of a scene uniformly. Natural terrain, man-made objects, water, clouds, particle effects, and all other elements...".
WindLight is like a magic project that answers to our most profound desires for developing of Dramatic Visual Virtual Environments. This tools achieves great levels of realism and beauty, very far from the regular render engine of SL. Produced by Windward Mark Interactive the excellence of the system called the attention of Linden Lab which acquired it last week.
3) Interesting laboratories to follow, already in SL
AIAI2 - Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute, University of Edinburgh
Laboratory for Advanced Media Production - Australian Film Television and Radio School
nmc | the new media consortium - American Consortium on New Media
Virtual Human Interaction Lab - Stanford University Group
Institute for Creative Technologies - University of Southern California
Interactive Media Lab - Dartmouth Medical School
ReCVEB - Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior
Human Interface Technology Lab HITLab - Human Interface Technology Lab, University of Washington