A Middleware for Context-Aware Agents in Ubiquitous Computing Environments

  • Anand Ranganathan
  • Roy H. Campbell
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2672)


Ubiquitous Computing advocates the construction of massively distributed systems that help transform physical spaces into computationally active and intelligent environments. The design of systems and applications in these environments needs to take account of heterogeneous devices, mobile users and rapidly changing contexts. Most importantly, agents in ubiquitous and mobile environments need to be context-aware so that they can adapt themselves to different situations. In this paper, we argue that ubiquitous computing environments must provide middleware support for context-awareness. We also propose a middleware that facilitates the development of context-aware agents. The middleware allows agents to acquire contextual information easily, reason about it using different logics and then adapt themselves to changing contexts. Another key issue in these environments is allowing autonomous, heterogeneous agents to have a common semantic understanding of contextual information. Our middleware tackles this problem by using ontologies to define different types of contextual information. This middleware is part of Gaia, our infrastructure for enabling Smart Spaces.


  1. 1.
    Dey, A.K., et al. “A Conceptual Framework and a Toolkit for Supporting the Rapid Prototyping of Context-Aware Applications”, anchor article of a special issue on Context-Aware Computing, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Journal, Vol. 16, 2001.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hong, J. I., et al. “An Infrastructure Approach to Context-Aware Computing”. HCI Journal,’ 01, Vol. 16Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Shafer, S.A.N., et al. “Interaction Issues in Context-Aware Interactive Environments.” Special issue on Context-Aware Computing, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Journal, Vol. 16, 2001.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bouquet, P., et al. “Context-Aware Distributed Applications” IRST Technical Report 0101-04, Instituto Trentino di Cultura, January 2001Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Castro, P., et al. “Managing Context for Internet Video Conferences: The Multimedia Internet Recorder and Archive”. Multimedia and Computer Networks 2000, San Jose, CA, January 2000Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Winograd T. “Architectures for Context” In Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Journal,’01, Vol. 16.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Johanson, B., et al. “The Event Heap: An Enabling Infrastructure for Interactive Workspaces”
  8. 8.
    Pascoe, J., et al. “Issues in Developing Context-Aware Computing” Proceedings of the International Symposium on Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing, Sept. 1999, Springer-Verlag, pp. 208–221.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Korkea-aho, M. “Context-Aware Applications Survey”,∼ mkorkeaa/doc/context-aware.html
  10. 10.
    Shmueli O., “Decidability and expressiveness aspects of logic queries”, Proceedings of the sixth ACM SIGACT-SIGMOD-SIGART Symposium on Principles of database systems, March 23–25, 1987, San Diego, CA US, pp 237–24Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chandra, A.K., et al. “Horn Clauses Queries and Generalization”, J Logic Programming 1985Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jarke, M., et al. “An Optimizing PROLOG Front-End to a Relational Query System”, in Proceedings of ACM SIGMOD’ 84 Conference, pp296–306, Boston, MA, June 1984Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schilit, W. N., “A Context-Aware System Architecture for Mobile Distributed Computing”, PhD Thesis, Columbia University, May 1995.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Berners-Lee T., et al. “A new form of Web content that is meaningful to computers will unleash a revolution of new possibilities”
  15. 15.
    Guarino N. “Formal Ontology in Information Systems” Proc. of FOIS’98, Trento, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Román, M., et al, “Gaia: A Middleware Infrastructure to Enable Active Spaces”. In IEEE Pervasive Computing, pp. 74–83, Oct-Dec 2002..Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hess, C.K., et al, “Building Applications for Ubiquitous Computing Environments” In International Conference on Pervasive Computing (Pervasive 2002), pp. 16–29, Zurich, Switzerland, August 26–28, 2002.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ranganathan, A., et al, “ConChat: A Context-Aware Chat Program”. In IEEE Pervasive Computing, pp. 52–58, July-Sept 2002.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
  20. 20.
    Harmelon, F., et al “Reference Description of the DAML+OIL ontology markup language”,
  21. 21.
    Horrocks, I., “The FaCT System”, Automated Reasoning with Analytic Tableaux and Related Methods, 1998Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Yau, S., et al, “Reconfigurable Context-Sensitive Middleware for Pervasive Computing”. In IEEE Pervasive Computing, pp. 33–40, July-Sept 2002.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Abadi, M. et al. “Temporal Logic Programming” Journal of Symbolic Computation, 8: 277–295, 1989zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dayal, U., et al. “The Architecture of an Active Database Management System”. ACM SIGMOD Conference 1989, pp 215–224Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anand Ranganathan
    • 1
  • Roy H. Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUSA

Personalised recommendations