Classification and Use of Context

  • Dan Chalmers
Part of the Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science book series (UTICS)


In a traditional computer system inputs and outputs are well-defined and have explicit behaviours associated with them. In pervasive computing these inputs may be adapted, but the focus of this chapter is augmenting explicit input with context awareness. This demands an awareness of the environment, changing display preferences if it is dark, changing patterns of interruption in a meeting and so on—ideally with minimal user involvement, in order to achieve the blending into the background we desire from pervasive computing. We discuss input and context, defining context and classifying aspects and uses of context; then go on to present a context stack, where sensor data is transformed into a representation of the world and then to behaviours. This chapter forms the basis for the following chapters on error, location, and time.


Pervasive Computing Context Data Context Awareness Primary Display Contextual Mediation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Abowd, G.D., Mynatt, E.D.: Charting past, present, and future research in ubiquitous computing. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 7(1), 29–58 (2000) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Abowd, G.D., Atkeson, C.G., Hong, J.I., Long, S., Kooper, R., Pinkerton, M.: Cyberguide: a mobile context-aware tour guide. Wirel. Netw. 3(5), 421–433 (1997) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Beigl, M., Krohn, A., Zimmer, T., Decker, C.: Typical sensors needed in ubiquitous and pervasive computing. In: First International Workshop on Networked Sensing Systems (INSS ’04), SICE, Tokyo (2004) Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brown, P.J., Bovey, J.D., Chen, X.: Context-aware applications: from the laboratory to the marketplace. IEEE Pers. Commun. 4(5), 58–64 (1997) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chalmers, D.: Contextual Mediation to Support Ubiquitous Computing. PhD thesis, Imperial College, London, UK (2002) Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chalmers, D., Dulay, N., Sloman, M.: A framework for contextual mediation in mobile and ubiquitous computing. Pers. Ubiquitous Comput. 8(1), 1–18 (2004) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chen, H., Finin, T., Joshi, A.: An ontology for context-aware pervasive computing environments. Knowl. Eng. Rev. 18, 197–207 (2003). Special Issue on Ontologies for Distributed Systems CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dey, A.K., Abowd, G.D.: Towards a better understanding of context and context-awareness. In: Workshop on the What, Who, Where, When, and How of Context-Awareness, Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (CHI2000) (2000) Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dey, A.K., Abowd, G.D., Salber, D.: A conceptual framework and a toolkit for supporting the rapid prototyping of context-aware applications. Hum.-Comput. Interact. 16(2, 3, 4), 97–166 (2001) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dourish, P.: What we talk about when we talk about context. Pers. Ubiquitous Comput. 8(1), 19–30 (2004) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gellersen, H.W., Schmidt, A., Beigl, M.: Multi-sensor context-awareness in mobile devices and smart artifacts. Mob. Netw. Appl. 7(5), 341–351 (2002) MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Harle, R.K., Hopper, A.: Deploying and evaluating a location-aware system. In: Shin, K.G., Kotz, D., Noble, B.D. (eds.) MobiSys, pp. 219–232. ACM, New York (2005) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Harter, A., Hopper, A., Steggles, P., Ward, A., Webster, P.: The anatomy of a context-aware application. Wirel. Netw. 8(2–3), 187–197 (2002) MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Henricksen, K., Indulska, J., Rankotonirainy, A.: Modeling context information in pervasive computing systems. In: Pervasive, Zurich, Switzerland, pp. 167–180 (2002) Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Henricksen, K., Indulska, J.: A software engineering framework for context-aware pervasive computing. In: PerCom, pp. 77–86. IEEE Computer Society, Washington (2004) Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    O’Neill, E., Kostakos, V., Kindberg, T., Fatah den. Schieck, A., Penn, A., Fraser, D.S., Jones, T.: Instrumenting the city: developing methods for observing and understanding the digital cityscape. In: Dourish, P., Friday, A. (eds.) Ubicomp. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 4206, pp. 315–332. Springer, Berlin (2006) Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Petrelli, D., Not, E., Strapparava, C., Stock, O., Zancanaro, M.: Modeling context is like taking pictures. In: Workshop on the What, Who, Where, When, Why and How of Context-Awareness at CHI2000, The Hague, Holland (2000) Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ranganathan, A., Al-Muhtadi, J., Campbell, R.H.: Reasoning about uncertain contexts in pervasive computing environments. IEEE Pervasive Comput. 3(2), 62–70 (2004) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ranganathan, A., Campbell, R.H.: An infrastructure for context-awareness based on first order logic. Pers. Ubiquitous Comput. 7(6), 353–364 (2003) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Salber, D., Dey, A.K., Abowd, G.D.: The context toolkit: aiding the development of context-enabled applications. In: CHI, pp. 434–441 (1999) Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Schilit, B.N., Adams, N., Want, R.: Context-aware computing applications. In: IEEE Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications (1994) Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Schmidt, A.: Ubiquitous Computing—Computing in Context. PhD thesis, Lancaster University, UK (2002) Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Schmidt, A., Aidoo, K.A., Takaluoma, A., Tuomela, U., van Laerhoven, K., van de Velde, W.: Advanced interaction in context. In: 1st Intl. Symposium on Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing (HUC), Karlsruhe, Germany (1999) Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sloman, M., Lupu, E.: Policy specification for programmable networks. In: Covaci, S. (ed.) IWAN. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 1653, pp. 73–84. Springer, Berlin (1999) Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Smith, M.K., Welty, C., McGuinness, D.L.: Owl web ontology language guide. Technical report, W3C (2004) Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Strang, T., Linnhoff-Popien, C.: A context modeling survey. In: Workshop on Advanced Context Modelling, Reasoning and Management at UbiComp (2004) Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Tulloch, S. (ed.): The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1995) Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wood, K.R., Richardson, T., Bennett, F., Harter, A., Hopper, A.: Global teleporting with Java: toward ubiquitous personalized computing. IEEE Comput. 30(2), 53–59 (1997) CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SussexBrightonUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations