Hey guys. It's been years since I've been really active in programming, and even longer since I posted here, but I need advice and you guys are the only ones I'm certain will have the experience to give it, so here it goes.

I plan on going for a masters in applied math with a minor in CS, while I'm studying, I'm going to start preliminary steps to creating a new web application. Now I'm not going to go too much into detail about what it does, but I need some help on the back end, so I'll probably end up telling you enough for a clever man to figure it out.

First, The database has to be massive. I can't even tell you how many users and distinct profiles need to be maintained. If it goes where I think it's going, the user load will be astronomical. Second, the amount of data required for each user will be pretty large too. Basically, imagine a more sophisticated version of the algorithms that pertain to character traits in a very sophisticated Role Playing Game. Each user will have "traits", until I start coding I won't have any idea how many of them each user will even need, and after the experiment starts, I may need to add new ones. They will need to be stored in such a way that my code can do math with them. there will also be dynamic fields that store the output of algorithms done on other fields in the db. (like an average of fields 1 through 200 or something) I'm trying to replicate the addictive property of MMOs by giving the user a visible character metric, that summarizes their progress on screen, to drive them to increase it. I'll probably have multiple tiers, meaning when a player's experience increases to the point they've demonstrated a working ability in one set of traits, I move them up to the next step, where they start at the bottom, and have to work their way back up to the top.

I'll have to do pretty sophisticated math with the numbers, and lots of it. This entire application is basically just a machine to collect information from users, and use it to track their progress, how quickly their progress accelerates, and even use data to modify UI elements.

The front end will need to play video, audio, accept input in the form of text, touch, and even touch screen input. I'd like to start it as a web app, then cross-platform it to as wide a device base as possible.

Here are my questions,

1. What languages should I start brushing up on right now?
2. what is the absolute, go-to best book for learning about sophisticated game engine coding for MMORPGs?
3. what is the best DB/language combo to pull this off? I appreciate that it will start on the web, but keep in mind, it will be ported to virtually every mobile platform.
4. does anyone wanna do this and give me all the credit, cause this sounds like a lot of work.