Context Acquisition


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

Chen & Kotz: context awareness1\survey of
CAMobileC.pdf
Albrecht_Schmidt:G:\context
awareness1\Albrecht_Schmidt_PhDThesis_Ubiquitous-Computing_ebook1.pdf
Schmidt:G:\context awareness1\Schmidt-how
to build smart appliances.pdf
Chen:G:\context awareness1\intelligent
broker.pdf
Gellersen:context awareness1\monet.pdf
Sensing the Context (1/3)

Location:
 Outdoors: GPS
 Indoors: IR, RF, ultrasonic, camera
(cellular and non-cellular)
 Hybrid: IEEE 802.11, Mobile-IP
Sensing the Context (1/3)

Issues:
 Heterogeneous sensors with uncertainty
and conflicts (sensor fusion)
 Data networks vs sensor networks
communication and positioning may be
combined or independent. (Active Badge &
ParcTab use the same wireless infrared link for
both purpose; and the RF link of the GUIDE
and RADAR systems has the same role)
 it is necessary to decouple the positioning and
communication channels.

Sensing the Context (1/3)

Making mobile devices location-aware
 the system tracks the location by monitoring
beacons from mobile devices and the mobile
device queries a central database to get the
current location
 the mobile device passively listens to beacons
from the cell basestation and queries a local
database for its current location.
 In the latter case, if the mobile device only
queries a local database for location, it has
complete privacy and it can choose to advertise
its current location to the world or only to
selected third parties.
Sensing the Context (2/3)

Low-level contexts beyond location
Time: time-of-day (with calendar)
 Nearby objects
 Network bandwidth
 Orientation
 Others: photodiode (light), accelerometer
(tilt, vibration), microphone, sensors for
temperature, pressure, gas, etc.


Issue: sensors in mobile devices or
infrastructure => direct vs. indirect
awareness
Sensing the Context (3/3)
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High-level contexts: user’s activity
Camera technology and image processing
 Consult calendar for what user is to do
 Combine low-level sensors, e.g., using
rules
 How about emotional contexts?
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Context changes: subscriptionnotification
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Polling rate?
Quality of Contexts
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What context is important? Always and in
different situations?
 Quality:
 Coverage, resolution, accuracy, confidence,
reliability, frequency, timeliness
 Self-contained vs. infrastructure-supported
 PDA doesn't need location sensors if it can
ask nearby sensors to approximate
 Need standards for sharing components?
Context vs. Situation
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“In a certain situation, specific sensor data is frequently
similar to sensor data of the same situation at different
times.”
Situation: the state of the real world at a certain moment
or during an interval in time at a certain location.
Context: identified by a name and includes a description
of a type of situation by its characteristic features.
Situation S belongs to a Context C: A situation S
belongs to a context C when all conditions in the
description of C evaluate to true in a given situation S.
Requirements on Sensing in a Ubiquitous
Computing Environment

Design and Usability
 Energy Consumption
 Calibration
 Start-up Time
 Robustness and Reliability
 Portability, Size and Weight
 Unobtrusiveness, Social Acceptance and User Concern
 Price and Introduced Cost
 Precision and Openness
Sensing Technologies and Systems for
Data Capture


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Light and Vision
Audio
Movement and Acceleration
 Location and Position
 Magnetic Field and Orientation
 Proximity, Touch and User Interaction
 Temperature, Humidity and Air Pressure
 Weight
 Motion Detection
 Gas-Sensors and Electronic Noses
 Bio-Sensors
 Zero-Power Sensors
Composition of Sensing Systems
All sensors at
same position
Homogeneous e.g. orientation
sensing
aware PDA,
system
[Schmidt,98]
Heterogeneou
s sensing
system
Sensors distributed
e.g. load sensing
system,
[Schmidt,02]
e.g. context-aware e.g. distributed
mobile phone,
sensing boards,
[Schmidt,99c]
[SMART,02]
Homogeneous sensing system
Microphone array
 light sensors in a handheld device to
avoid user’s finger put on top of the
sensor resulting in a false reading.
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
multiple sensors of the same type placed
at different physical positions. Especially
when there are little restrictions in the way
a device is held or carried
Placement of sensors
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Placement of sensors is of major importance and has
a great influence on the quality of the data that is
gathered.
putting all sensors together in one place, perception
of contexts becomes much harder than for a case
where sensors are physically distributed and placed
at an optimal point; especially true for applications in
wearable computing.
Finding and selecting the ‘right’ position for a sensor
is very much dependent on the contexts that should
be recognised.
In most case, there is no prior knowledge about
sensor placement  try and error 
simulation/emulation tools
Perception Methods

Basic Statistical Functions: average, median,
standard deviation, max-min range, interquartile
range, the amount of change
 Time Domain Analysis: data from accelerometers,
light sensors and audio
 Derivatives: of interest to find information about the
change rather than about the absolute values
 Neural Networks: to provide abstract or symbolic
information (cues)
 Rule Based Systems:particularly simple when
sensors map well to contexts of interest and the
number of contexts is small
A Perception Architecture

Albrecht_Schmidt:G:\context
awareness1\Albrecht_Schmidt_PhDThesis_Ubiquitous-Computing_ebook1.pdf
Sensor layer
 Cue layer
 Context layer

Context Acquisition Design Method
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Step 1. Identifying contexts that matter

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Is the application or artefact used in changing
situations?
Vary the expectations of the user towards the
application or artefact with the situation?
Is the human computer interaction pattern different in
various situations?
Does the user’s interaction with the real world
environment offer information that is valuable to the
application?
Context Acquisition Design Method

Step 2. Determine variables that distinguish
contexts selected.
 Such variables may be of informational,
physical and social nature (e.g. location,
temperature, relationship with people near by,
interaction with the device)
 For the minimal set of variables that make it
possible to discriminate the selected context
the values (e.g. ranges, sets) for variables
are specified.
Context Acquisition Design Method
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Step 3. Finding appropriate sensors to
cover all variables at minimum cost.
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accuracy of the sensor in relation to the variable
the cost to provide the information
feasibility and appropriateness
The resulting selection of sensors should be
done in a way that the sensors cover all
variables with sufficient accuracy at a minimal
cost.
Context Acquisition Design Method

Step 3a. Building and assessing a
prototypical sensing device. (optional)

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
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when there is little knowledge about the sensors in
question or the contexts to recognise.
can experiment with the positions of the sensors
on the device.
the recorded data is analyzed to identify whether
the raw data differs significantly for the different
situations or not.
If the data differs not significantly different sensors
have to be selected or even different contexts
have to be identified or in some case it may turn
out that it is not feasible to recognise the contexts
at all.
Context Acquisition Design Method

Step 4. Selecting recognition and abstraction
technologies.
 Step 5. Specification of a context acquisition
system
 After all components, the physical design and
the algorithms are assessed the overall
architecture of the system is determined.
 Centralized vs. distributed
 Build applications.
Context Acquisition Design Method

Context Acquisition Library: G:\context
awareness1\Albrecht_Schmidt_PhDThesis_Ubiquitous-Computing_ebook1.pdf

Rapid Prototyping Platform for Context
Acquisition: Smart-Its
 Cost function

Power Consumption、Size and Weight、Price
of Components、Robustness and Reliability
Context Acquisition method—
direct access to hardware sensors
Chen:G:\context awareness1\intelligent
broker.pdf
 A key benefit of this approach is that the
high-level applications can have great
controls over the operations of the lowlevel sensors, and can have better
knowledge about how different data is
collected and computed.

Context Acquisition method—
direct access to hardware sensors

Shortcomings: To communicate with different
sensors means an application must maintain
the implementation to communicate with
different sensors. As the number of context
used by the application increases, the
amount of implementation for sensor
communications also increases. For this
reason, the application’s overall
implementation becomes difficult to maintain.
Facilitated by Middleware
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Using middleware, context-aware applications’
implementations can focus on how to use context but not
on how to acquire context.
middleware is typically built into the hosting devices or
platform on which the context-aware applications operate.
Odyssey project: context aware agents are built on a
middleware to acquire status about the communication
network; demonstrating three different context-aware
agents that can adapt their behaviors according to the
network bandwidth changes.
Context Toolkit: aimed to provide a general solution for
building scalable and reusable context acquisition
modules; built on the widget concept in the graphical user
interface design.
Facilitated by Middleware
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
Problem: imposes additional computation burden on the
hosting devices. A middleware design trades computation
resources for development convenience.
In order to maintain a generic programming interface
between the high-level applications and low-level sensors,
certain amount of computation resources (e.g., CPU
power, memory, network bandwidths) must be allocated
for the middleware operations. While this might not create
a problem for devices that have rich computing resources,
however, it will lead to resource contention problem in
devices that have less resources (e.g., cellphones and
embedded devices).
Acquiring Context from a Context Server
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For the case that the hosting device has
limited computing resource
 context server: a computing entity that
provides contextual information to different
context-aware applications in a distributed
environment.
 to shift the context acquisition procedures into
the implementation of a server entity that runs
on a resource-rich device.
 applications that do not have built-in sensing
capability can acquire context and become
context-aware.
Acquiring Context from a Context Server
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Me-Centric Domain Server [Perich]:
 the physical world is divided into a set of microworlds. Each micro-world represents a particular
domain in the physical world. A domain might be
an office room, a meeting room, etc. Each microworld has context. The role of a Domain Server is
to maintain the context of the individual microworlds and share this information with the
computing entities of a Me-Centric application.
CoBrA
Similarity: a server entity is responsible to share
contextual information with other agents in the space;
use knowledge representation languages to express
contextual information (i.e., CoBrA uses OWL, and
Me-Centric Domain Server uses RDF).
Acquiring Context from a Context Server
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Differences:
 the CoBrA is not only to share contextual
information but also to maintain a consistent
model of the context to detect and resolve
inconsistent information that may have been
acquired from unreliable sensors and agents.
 Using OWL to represent context as ontologies,
CoBrA allows independently developed agents to
share knowledge and provides a means for
context reasoning.
 CoBrA addresses the privacy issue by providing
users with a policy language for controlling the
sharing of their contextual information. Privacy
was not addressed in the Me-Centric Domain
Server.
Multi-Sensor Context-Awareness in
Mobile Devices and Smart Artefacts


Gellersen:context awareness1\monet.pdf
Position Sensing and Location-based Context
 Auditory and Visual Context
 Other Sensors: bio-sensors, tilt sensors
 Integration of Diverse Sensors
Multi-Sensor Context-Awareness in
Mobile Devices and Smart Artefacts

TEA – Technology Enabling Awareness:
investigated the realization of multi-sensor
context-awareness in a self-contained device that
would be available as peripheral or plug-in for
mobile host devices. The general application
perspective was to supply situational context to a
mobile host device to improve the device’s
service to its user. We explored this perspective
in the application domain of mobile telephony.
Multi-Sensor Context-Awareness in
Mobile Devices and Smart Artefacts
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Mediacup: looked at how non-computational artifacts can
be augmented with awareness technology. The
application perspective is entirely different from that
underlying TEA. Awareness is not employed to improve
the immediate function of the augmented device, but to
create a digital presence for it. New functionality is not
expected to emerge in the device itself but in the
surrounding system environment.
Smart-Its: toward platforms for aware mobile devices.
With this project we also shift our attention from individual
devices to ad hoc networking of aware devices, and
scenarios of collective awareness.
Manipulating Multiple Contexts

Source:
“Multi-Sensor Context-Awareness in Mobile
Devices and Smart Artefacts”
H.W. Gellersen, A. Schmidt, M. Beigl
Lancaster University and University of
Karlsruhe
Situation
Context
perceived
sensor(s)
Direct/Indirect Context-Awareness

Indirect context awareness:
device A
Situation
Context

Infrastructure
perceived
sensor(s)
device B
communicate
device C
Direct context awareness:
Situation
Context
perceived
S(s)
device A
S(s)
device B
S(s)
device C
Built-in sensors,
context
processing
Single Sensor vs. Multiple Sensors
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Single but powerful
sensor:
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

Position sensor, video
sensor (camera)
Useful information is
inferred from what is
perceived
Prior knowledge is
needed for information
useful
• Simple but cheap sensors:
•Each sensor captures one facet of the context
Take Multiple-Sensor Approach

Need to combine multiple simple sensors
vs. one camera with powerful recognition
capability
Gain rich data to infer useful context with little
computation
 Real world situations: situations and sensors

Example: TEA

Technology Enabling
Awareness
 Motivation: make personal
mobile devices smarter

host
Specs:




CPU: PIC16F877
Storage: 8K EEPROM
RAM: 200 Byte
Use serial line to
communicate with the host
TEA
TEA Architecture
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
Cue: abstraction of raw data
 For example, an acceleration sensor can infer
cues like pattern of movement and current
speed
Rules from cue to context: can be pre-defined or
use supervised/unsupervised learning
Initial Exploration

Tried on both PDA and mobile phone, and
found it more useful on mobile telephony
 Two analysis strategies:
 Analyze how well a sensor contributes to a
given context
 Analyze which sensors relate to which
context
 Finding: audio, motion and light are useful
globally, and other sensors are only useful in
specific contexts
Implementation
Some data are directly analyzed and
not stored (audio)
 Some data are stored and processed
(acceleration, light)
 Some data are cues itself; no need to
process (temperature, skin conductance)
 Rules from cue to context are extracted
offline and hardwired

Application

Profile activation:
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
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A user can have many profiles
Activate profiles according to the situation (in-hand,
on-table, in-pocket, outdoors)
87% certainty, 30 sec to calculate (not yet
optimized)
Context sharing (and privacy invasion):
Ask to call B
A
Request B’s context
Provide context
Inform A
Make decision
(Voice or short message)
A’s phone
B’s phone
Mediacup: An Active Artifact
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Spec:

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1Mhz CPU, 15K storage,
384 byte RAM
Digital temperature sensor
3-ball switch
 Detect movement
A switch
 Detect whether placed
on surface
Infrared diode for comm.
Capacitors charged wirelessly
3mm high
Identified Contexts
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Movement context:
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Temperature context:
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Cup is stationary, drinking out of the cup, cup
is played with, cup is carried around
Computed by rule based heuristics with a
short history of movements
Filled up, cooled off, current temperature
Updated every 2 seconds
The cups broadcast their context to an
overhead transceiver using the infrared
diode
Design Issues

Power management




System kept very low-end
Motion detection uses interrupt instead of polling to
enable sleep mode in 99% of the time
Put the cup on the saucer to recharge wirelessly (15
minute for 12 hour)
Transparency
 Hiding the technology does not suffice
 In the battery-charged prototype, users
forget to replace the battery because the
effect of technology is invisible!
Design Issues (Cont’d)

Region of impact
No context-aware application in the
environment
 Context as a common resource

Inside
MEETING
available
Outside
Context-aware System Design
Matthias Baldauf: context
awareness1\ijahuc2007.pdf
 Dey:context awareness1\dey-thesis.pdf

Design principles

context acquisition method:
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predefines the CAS’s architecture to some extent.
direct sensor access、middleware infrastructure、context
server (Chen)
Context management method for coordinating
multiple processes and components (Winograd):

Widgets. a widget is a software component that provides a
public interface for a hardware sensor. Widgets hide lowlevel details of sensing and ease application development
due to their reusability. Because of the encapsulation in
widgets it is possible to exchange widgets which provide the
same kind of context data (e.g., exchange a radio frequency
widget by a camera widget to collect location data). Widgets
are usually controlled by some kind of a widget manager.
Design principles


Networked services. This more flexible approach
resembles the context server architecture. Instead of a
global widget manager discovery techniques are used
to find networked services. This service based
approach is not as efficient as a widget architecture
due to complex network based components but
provides robustness.
Blackboard model. a data-centric view (vs. processcentric); processes post messages to the blackboard,
and subscribe to it to be notified when some specified
event occurs. Advantages: the simplicity of adding new
context sources and the easy configuration. Drawback:
needs a centralized server to host the blackboard and
the lack in communication efficiency as two hops per
communication are needed.
Layered conceptual framework
application
storage/management
preprocessing
raw data retrieval
sensors
Layered conceptual framework

Sensor layer:
 physical sensors
 virtual sensors: source context data from software
applications or services. E.g., determine an
employee’s location not only by tracking, but also
by browsing an electronic calendar
 logical sensors: combine physical and virtual
sensors with additional information from various
other sources in order to solve higher tasks. E.g.,
a logical sensor can be constructed to detect an
employee’s current position by analyzing logins at
desktop PCs and a database mapping of devices
to location information.
Layered conceptual framework

Raw data retrieval layer:
 makes use of appropriate drivers for
physical sensors and APIs for virtual and
logical sensors.
 often implemented in reusable software
components which make low-level details
of hardware access transparent
 For instance, it is possible to replace a
RFID system by a GPS system without any
major modification in the current and upper
layers.
Layered conceptual framework

Preprocessing layer:



is not implemented in every context-aware system
but may offer useful information if the raw data are
too coarse grained.
responsible for reasoning and interpreting
contextual information
raises the results of layer two to a higher
abstraction level to meet the use of applications;
E.g., the exact GPS position of a person might not
be of value for an application but the name of the
room the person is in, may be.
Layered conceptual framework



aggregation/composition of context data for
several different context data sources
this abstraction functionality could be implemented
directly by the application. This task should better
be encapsulated and moved to the context server.
And by making such aggregators remotely
accessible the network performance increases (as
clients have to send only one request to gain highlevel data instead of connecting to various sensors)
and limited client resources are saved.
sensing conflicts that might occur when using
several data sources. E.g., when a system is
notified about a person’s location by the
coordinates of her mobile phone and by a camera
spotting this person.
Layered conceptual framework

storage and management layer:
 Organizes the gathered data and offers them via a
public interface to the client
 synchronous: the client is polling the server for
changes via remote method calls.
 Asynchronous: works via subscriptions; the client
is either simply notified or a client’s method is
directly involved using a call back
 Asynchronous approach is more suitable due to
rapid changes in the underlying context. The
polling technique is more resource intensive
Layered conceptual framework

Application layer:
 actual reaction on different events and
context-instances is implemented here.
 Sometimes information retrieval and
application specific context management
and reasoning is encapsulated in form of
agents, which communicate with the
context server and act as an additional
layer between the preprocessing and the
application layer
Design principles

Context model:
 Key-Value、Markup scheme、Graphical、Object
oriented、Logic based、Ontology based
 requirements for designing a context ontology:




simplicity: as simple as possible to simplify the work
of applications developers
flexibility and extensibility: support the simple
addition of new context elements and relations
genericity: not be limited to special kind of context
atoms but rather support different types of context
Expressiveness. allow to describe as much context
states as possible in arbitrary detail.
Design principles

Context attributes





Context type
Context value
Time stamp: a date/time-value describing when
the context was sensed. It is needed to create a
context history and deal with sensing conflicts.
Source: about how the information was gathered.
Confidence: describes the uncertainty of this
context type.
Context-aware frameworks

architecture, resource discovery, sensing, context model,
context processing historical context data, security and privacy

Architectures: context awareness1\ijahuc2007.pdf
 Context Managing Framework: Korpipää (2003)
 Service-Oriented Context-Aware Middleware (SOCAM): Gu
et al. (2004a, 2004b)
 Context-Awareness Sub-Structure (CASS): Fahy and Clarke
(2004)
 Context Broker Architecture (CoBrA): Chen (2003)
 The Context Toolkit : Salber & Dey (1999 ~2001)



Hydrogen project: (Hofer et al., 2002) : context sharing
CORTEX: Sentient Object Model (Biegel and Cahill, 2004)
Gaia (Roman et al., 2002; Gaia Project,2005)
Context-aware frameworks

Resource discovery: context awareness1\ijahuc2007.pdf




Context Toolkit: offers discoverer which works as registry
component which interpreters, aggregators and widgets
have to notify about their presence and their contact
possibilities. After registration the components are pinged to
ensure that they are operating. If a component does not
respond to a specified number of consecutive pings, the
discoverer determines that the component is unavailable and
removes it from its registry list. Customers may find
appropriate components querying the discoverer either via a
white page lookup (a search for the components name) or a
yellow page lookup (a search for specific attributes). In case
the lookup was successful the discoverer returns a handle to
contact the context component.
SOCAM: Service Locating Service.
Gaia: context providers are stored in a registry component.
Hydrogen (pure peer-to-peer) only uses local built-in sensors;
no discovery mechanism is involved.
Context-aware frameworks

sensing: context awareness1\ijahuc2007.pdf
 Context Toolkit: context widgets to separate
applications from context acquisition concerns;
permits a simple exchange of widgets since.
 This manner of building reusable sensor units that
make the action of sensing transparent to the
customer became widely accepted in distributed
context-aware systems:




CASS: sensor nodes
SOCAM: context providers
Context Managing Framework: resource servers
CoBrA: context acquisition components.
Context-aware frameworks

Context processing: context awareness1\ijahuc2007.pdf
 Context Toolkit: offers facilities for both context
aggregation and context interpretation.
 Context Managing Framework: The resource
servers’ tasks are complex. First they gather raw
context information from various data sources.
After the preprocessing and feature abstraction,
the data are delivered by posting it to the context
manager’s blackboard. The context recognition
services are used by the context manager to
create higher-level context object out of context
atoms. In this vein new recognition services are
easy to add.
Context-aware frameworks


SOCAM: Context Reasoning Engine reasons over
the knowledge base; its tasks include inferring
deduced contexts, resolving context conflicts and
maintaining the consistency of the context
knowledge base. Different inference rules can be
specified. The interpreter is implemented by using
Jena2, a semantic web toolkit.
CoBrA: Inference Engine processes context data.
The engine contains the Context Reasoning
Module responsible for aggregating context
information. It reasons over the Context
Knowledge Base and deduces additional
knowledge from information acquired from
external sources.
Context-aware frameworks


CASS: based on an inference engine and a knowledge base.
The knowledge base contains rules queried by the inference
engine to find goals using the so-called forward chaining
technique. As these rules are stored in a database
separated from the interpreter neither recompiling nor
restarting of components is necessary when rules change.
CORTEX: the whole context processing is encapsulated in
Sentient Objects. The sensory capture unit performs sensor
fusion to manage uncertainty of sensor data (sensing
conflicts) and to build higher-level context objects. Different
contexts are represented in a so-called context hierarchy
together with specific actions to be undertaken in each
context. Since only one context is active at any point in time
(concept of the active context) the number of rules that have
to be evaluated are limited. Thus efficiency of the inference
process is increased. The inference engine component is
based on C Language Integrated Production System
(CLIPS).
Context-aware frameworks
Gaia: hidden in the Context Service
Module allowing the creation of high-level
context objects by performing first order
logic operations such as quantification,
implication, conjunction, disjunction, and
negation of context predicates.
 Hydrogen: higher-level abstractions are
handled by the application layer.

Context-aware frameworks

historical context data: context awareness1\ijahuc2007.pdf
 Context Toolkit, CoBrA, CASS, SOCAM and CORTEX
save context data persistently in a database. A further
advantage of using a database is the use of SQL which
enables to read and to manipulate operations at a high
abstraction level.
 CoBrA and CASS: the persistent storage is called
Context Knowledge Base. Additionally a set of APIs is
offered to assert, delete, modify and query the stored
knowledge. CASS uses its database not only to save
context data but also to store domain knowledge and
inference rules needed for creating high-level context.
 Due to limited memory resources a peer-to-peer network
of mobile devices like Hydrogen is not able to offer
persistent storage possibilities.
Context-aware frameworks

Security and privacy: context
awareness1\ijahuc2007.pdf


Context Toolkit: introduces the concept of context
ownership. Users are assigned to sensed context
data as their respective owners. They are allowed to
control the other users’ access.
CoBrA includes an own flexible policy language to
control context access, called Rei (Kagal et al.,
2003). This policy language is modeled on deontic
concepts of rights, prohibitions, obligations and
dispensations and controls data access through
dynamically modifiable domain dependent policy
rules.
Context-aware frameworks

Summary: context
awareness1\ijahuc2007.pdf
Design Process of Context-aware Applications

The designer does not want to worry about the
middle three steps, but instead would like to
concentrate on the specifying and performing the
actual context-aware behaviors.

1. Specification: Specify the problem being
addressed and a high-level solution.


1.1. Specify the context-aware behaviors to
implement.
1.2. Determine what collection of context is
required for these behaviors to be executed, using
any context-acquisition mechanisms that already
exist.
Context Specification
Need to express context about and
relationships between People, Places,
Things
 Predicates

Identity (Who is…? What is…? Is with…?)
 Location (Near? Nearest? Distance? Path?)
 Activity (Is busy? Is in meeting? Current task?)
 Time (In past? In present? In future? On date?)

Context Specification


Common parameters
 Max number of results wanted
 Return name
 Return data type (e.g. String, List, Table)
 Minimal probability of correctness desired
 Relevant sensor input requestor has
Event parameters
 Event rate (e.g. at most 1 event per second)
 Event callback (e.g. RPC, socket port)
 Max number of events desired
 Granularity of change (e.g. 1 meter)
Design Process of Context-aware Applications

2. Acquisition: Determine what new hardware or
sensors is needed to provide that context.







2.1. Install the sensor on the platform it requires.
2.2. Understand exactly what kind of data the sensor
provides.
2.3. If no application programming interface (API) is
available, write software that speaks the protocol used by
the sensor.
2.4. If there is an API, learn to use the API to communicate
with the sensor.
2.5. Determine how to query the sensor and how to be
notified when changes occur.
2.6. Store the context.
2.7. Interpret the context, if applicable.
Design Process of Context-aware Applications


3. Delivery: Provide methods to support the delivery
of context to one or more, possibly remote,
applications.
4. Reception: Acquire and work with the context.





4.1. Determine where the relevant sensors are and how to
communicate with each other
4.2. Request and receive the context.
4.3. Convert it to a useable form through interpretation.
4.4. Analyze the information to determine usefulness.
5. Action: If context is useful, perform context-aware
behavior.


5.1. Analyze the context treating it as an independent
variable or by combining it with other information collected in
the past or present.
5.2. Choose context-aware behavior to perform.
Design Process:
Delivery/Distribution

Contexts typically captured remotely from
applications at different time
 Context captured in sensor-rich environment or
device may need to serve multiple applications
=> Need to deliver and distribute context to multiple,
remote applications
 Infrastructure or middleware support
 App/network-level delivery/routing models and
transport mechanism
Design Process: Reception

Application locates relevant sensors/contexts
 Service discovery
 Requests contexts via queries, polls,
notifications
 Query language, event-notification
mechanism
 How often to request?
 Additional interpretation/abstraction/processing
 Collection, aggregation, filtering, correlation,
fusion,...
Context Interpretation


Sophisticated applications require higher level forms
of context
 Fusion
Ambiguity:
 Sensors not 100% reliable, e.g. confidence value
 Precision / Accuracy / Granularity
 Different ways to deal:
 Improve inference
 Probability/fuzzy model
 Bring the user into the loop
Design Process: Action
Combine received contexts with
previous contexts and
system/application states for further
analysis
 Perform actions based on the analysis
results
 May treat context collection/processing
as a separate service

Using the Design Process: In/Out Board

1.1: Specify the context-aware behaviors to implement.
 to display whether occupants of a building are in or out of the
building and when they were last seen

1.2: Determine what collection of context is required and if any
context-acquisition mechanisms that already exist.
 the relevant context types are location, identity and time;
there is no existing support in the building to provide this
context, so a new sensor has to be used.
2.1: Install the sensor on the platform it requires.
 Java iButtons® are chosen to provide the location and
identity context. An iButton is a microprocessor that contains
a unique identity. This identity can be read when the iButton
is docked with a reader. A reader is installed on a computer,
at the entrance to the research lab.

Using the Design Process: In/Out Board



2.2: Understand exactly what kind of data the sensor provides.
 The reader combined with the iButton provides an abstract
identity – rather than providing a name, which is what the
developer wants, the iButton provides a 16 character
hexadecimal value.
2.3/2.4: If no API is available, write software that speaks the
protocol used by the sensor; If there is an API, learn to use the
API to communicate with the sensor.
 The location context is simply the location of the installed
reader, and time context is determined from the computer
being used.The iButton and reader come with an API, so the
developer writes supporting code that reads the abstract
identity when an iButton is docked with a reader.
2.5: Determine how to query the sensor and how to be notified
when changes occur.
 This code must support both querying and notification of
events, where, informally, an event is a timely difference that
makes a difference.
Using the Design Process: In/Out Board



2.6: Store the context.
 The context information acquired from the sensor must be
stored so additional code is required.
2.7: Interpret the context, if applicable.
 While the abstract identity does need interpretation into an
actual user name, the interpretation is usually left to the
application.
3: Provide methods to support the delivery of context to one or
more, possibly remote, applications.
 design and implement a communications protocol for
allowing applications to access the acquired context,
including both querying and notification schemes; must be
able to interact with the code that actually acquires the
context. Finally, a communications mechanism must be
developed to support the protocol, allowing the application to
actually communicate with the sensor.
Using the Design Process: In/Out Board


4.1: Determine where the relevant sensors are and how to
communicate with each other
 The developer begins to work on the application side of the
problem, determining where the sensors are and how to
communicate with them. The In/Out Board needs to acquire
current state information for who is in and who is out of the
building, so it first locates the sensor and then queries it. It
also subscribes to the iButton asking to be notified of
relevant changes.
4.2: Request and receive the context.
 The communications is written to specifically deal with the
iButton and accompanying code. Once the application
receives context information (location of the reader, abstract
identity and time of docking), it must convert the abstract
identity to a usable form.
Using the Design Process: In/Out Board



4.3/4.4: Convert it to a useable form through interpretation.
 It can use a simple hash table that has an associated user
name for each abstract identity. After this interpretation, it
analyzes the information to see if the context is useful. In this
case, it means whether the iButton user was a registered
user of the In/Out Board.
5.1: Analyze the context treating it as an independent variable or
by combining it with other information collected in the past or
present.
 The application must determine if the context it received was
for a user arriving or leaving the building. When new useful
context arrives for a given user, that user’s state is toggled
from in to out, or vice-versa.
5.2: Choose context-aware behavior to perform.
 The developer can act on the context, and display the user’s
new state on the In/Out Board.
Essential and Accidental Activities


Specification: essential; for without it, there can be no
use of context. This step is the focal point of
modeling and designing CASs, and typically impacts
the rest of the application design.
Acquisition: essential or accidental, depending on the
sensor chosen. If the sensor has been used before
accidental, reusable by the application designer.


If the sensor has not been used before, then all of the
difficult sub-steps must be completed. Installation of a
sensor can be particularly troublesome when the
platform required by the sensor does not match the
platforms available or being used by the application.
Storage: accidental; it is common across all sensors
and is not strictly dependent on the sensor being used.
Essential and Accidental Activities



Delivery: The delivery of context is an accidental step.
The designer merely wants to acquire the context
and should not be concerned about these types of
low-level details.
Reception: accidental; the designer most likely does
not care about the details of context reception and
determining usefulness, and is concerned only with
receiving useful context.
Action: The analysis from analyzing the types and
values of context received is accidental and should
be automatically provided by the supporting
infrastructure. The determination of actions is
application-specific and is essential.
Revised Design Process

Specification: Specify the problem being
addressed and a high-level solution.



1.1. Specify the context-aware behaviors to
implement.
1.2. Determine what context is required for these
behaviors (with a knowledge of what is available
from the environment) and request it.
Acquisition: Determine what hardware or
sensors are available to provide that context
and install them.
 3. Action: Choose and perform context-aware
behavior.
Revised Design Process

If all necessary context acquisition
components are already available for use by
applications, then step 2 is not required.
 To use this reduced design process. we must
provide infrastructure level support.
 Connecting application design too tightly to
sensors used has resulted from the use of the
longer, more complex design process.
 3 basic problems emerged due to this trend:
the lack of variety in sensors used, the lack of
variety in the types of context used and the
inability to evolve context-aware applications.
required features for a supporting framework


library programmers, toolkit programmers (may add
something new to the architecture)
context specification: need a mechanism (&
specification language) that allows application
builders to specify what context an application
requires along a number of dimensions:
 single piece of context vs. multiple pieces of
context.
 if multiple, related context vs. unrelated context.
 unfiltered context vs. filtered context.
 uninterpreted context vs. interpreted context.
required features for a supporting framework


the mechanism must support multiple specifications
from multiple applications that may be requesting the
same or different set of context.
This mechanism makes it easier for application
designers to specify what context their applications
require. It helps remove the accidental design
process steps of reception (receiving the context,
interpretation and analysis) and the first step of action
(further analysis with additional context to determine
usefulness).
required features for a supporting framework

Separation of Concerns and Context
Handling



there is no common way to acquire and
handle context.
Application developers choose whichever
technique is easiest to implement, at the
expense of generality and reuse.
common ways in which context is handled:
connecting sensor drivers directly into
applications and using servers to hide sensor
details  applications are difficult to build and
evolve.
required features for a supporting framework


handle context in the same manner as we
handle user input. User interface toolkits
provide an important abstraction to enable
designers to use input without worrying about
how the input was collected. This abstraction
is called a widget, or an interactor.
By separating how context is acquired from
how it is used, the acquisition step is able to
greatly reduced. Applications can now use
contextual information without worrying
about the details of a sensor and how to
acquire context from it.
required features for a supporting framework

Context Interpretation



There may be multiple layers that context data go
through before reaching an application, due to the
need for additional abstraction.
The use of these multiple layers should be transparent.
In order to support this transparency, context must
often be interpreted before it can be used by an
application.
E.g., an application wants to be notified when meetings
occur. At the lowest level, location information can be
interpreted to determine where various users are and
identity information is used to check co-location. At the
next level, this information could be combined with
sound level information to determine if a meeting is
taking place.
required features for a supporting framework


In order for the interpretation to be easily reusable
by multiple applications, it needs to be provided by
the framework. Otherwise, each application would
have to re-implement the necessary
implementation.
The interpretation mechanism removes the
interpretation sub-steps found in both the
acquisition and reception steps of the design
process. Combined with the specification
mechanism, it allows applications to simply
request the context they want, regardless of
whether interpretation is required or not, and for
the applications to receive the requested context.
required features for a supporting framework

Transparent Distributed Communications
 As environments and computers are becoming
more instrumented, more context can be sensed,
but this context will be coming from multiple,
distributed machines connected via a computer
network. The fact that communication is
distributed should be transparent to both sensors
and applications. This simplifies the design and
building of both sensors and applications, relieving
the designer of having to build a communications
framework. Without it, the designer would have to
design and implement a communications protocol
and design and implement an encoding scheme
(and accompanying decoder) for passing context
information.
required features for a supporting framework
A related requirement is the need for a
global timeclock mechanism.
 Transparent communication allows the
delivery step of the design process to be
removed completely along with the first
step of the reception step, and is an
integral part of the context specification
mechanism. The provision of a global
timeclock makes complex analysis of
context possible by allowing context data
to be compared on a temporal basis.

required features for a supporting framework

Constant Availability of Context Acquisition
 CASs should not instantiate individual sensor
components, but must be able to access existing
ones. Furthermore, multiple applications may
need to access the same piece of context.
requirement that the components that acquire
context must be executing independently from the
applications that use them.
 This eases the programming burden on the
application designer by not requiring her to
instantiate, maintain or keep track of components
that acquire context, while allowing her to easily
communicate with them, as needed.
required features for a supporting framework


Because these components run independently of
applications, there is a need for them to be
persistent, available all the time.
Constant availability of context acquisition
components facilitates the ability to locate existing
context sensing components found in the
specification step. Because these components are
persistent and are independent from applications,
they can be found and used by any application. If
existing components can be found, the need for
the acquisition step is removed.
required features for a supporting framework

Context Storage



A requirement linked to the need for constant
availability is the desire to maintain historical
information.
A component that acquires context information,
should maintain a history of all the context it
obtains.
this feature removes the substep dealing with the
storing of context in the acquisition step of the
design process. It also allows complex analysis to
be performed by providing a source of
historical/past context.
required features for a supporting framework

Resource Discovery


With a resource discovery mechanism, when an
application is started, it could specify the type of
context information required. The mechanism
would be responsible for finding any applicable
components and for providing the application with
ways to access them.
For example, in the In/Out Board, rather than
hard-coding the location of the iButton reader
being used, the developer can indicate that the
application is to be notified whenever any user of
the In/Out Board enters or leaves the building.
required features for a supporting framework

This resource discovery feature would not only be
useful at runtime, but also at design-time. An
application designer could use the resource
discovery mechanism to determine whether the
context she requires is already available in the
environment or in combination with the
specification mechanism and the constant
availability of context components to determine
what situations can be sensed and whether a
given context request can be fulfilled by the
currently executing infrastructure. If the current
infrastructure does not provide the needed context,
the designer will know what components need to
be added.
required features for a supporting framework


A resource discovery feature allows us to remove
the first part of the reception step in the design
process. With this feature, applications do not
need to explicitly or a priori know where specific
sensors are. Instead, in combination with the
specification mechanism, they can request a
certain type of context and be automatically
connected to the sensor or interpreter that can
satisfy the request.
at design time, a developer can locate what
components already exist in the environment,
allowing her to determine what components, if any,
need to be added, simplifying the specification
step.
System Issues (1/2)



Programming model
 Programming the physical world
 Unreliable sensors, recognition algorithms, plus
standard distributed computing issues
Interoperability
 Sensors, services, and devices
 Useless if everyone has proprietary / custom systems
 Need standard data formats, protocols, and
frameworks
 Varying capabilities of sensors, services, and devices
Evaluation
System Issues (2/2)

May need a middleware layer to
decouple applications and context
sensing

Collect raw context, translate to
application-understandable format,
disseminate it
Centralized context server
 Distributed architecture

Intelligence
Who is smart? User or system or both
 Who makes the decisions on what
actions to take?
 Tradeoff between user cognitive load
and effort to make system “smart”

People Issues



Avoiding embarrassing situations
 Active Badges + bathrooms
 Inconvenient phone forwarding
Avoiding dangerous situations
 Need to take into consideration cost of mistake
 Smoke alarms when cooking
 Lights that turn off when you're still there
 Woman locked in "smart toilet stall"
Will adding more context really help here?
People Issues

Making it predictable and understandable
 Setting preferences
 "I want my cell phone to ring except in theaters
and when I'm in a meeting unless…"
 Why the heck did it do that?
 Privacy
 What does the computer know about me? What
do others know about me?


Capturing/collecting lots of information about
people, places and devices
People uncomfortable when don’t know what is
being collected and how it’s used
Killer Applications?
Need something to focus and drive the
research
 Need something to put in the hands of
real people
 Business model: how to make money
from it?

Middleware for Distributed Context-aware
Applications
Henricksen:context
awareness1\middleware distributed
context-aware systems.pdf
 Dey:context awareness1\chi99.pdf
 Dey:context awareness1\Toolkit.pdf
 Dey:context awareness1\dey-thesis.pdf

CAS structure and middleware requirements


Figure 2: Henricksen:context awareness1\middleware
distributed context-aware systems.pdf
Requirements for middleware for context-aware systems


Support for heterogeneity: Hardware components ranging
from resource-poor sensors, actuators and mobile client
devices to high-performance servers must be supported, as
must a variety of networking interfaces and programming
languages. Legacy components may be present.
Support for mobility: All components (especially sensors
and applications) can be mobile, and the communication
protocols that underpin the system must therefore support
appropriately flexible forms of routing. Context information
may need to migrate with context-aware components.
Flexible component discovery mechanisms are required.
CAS structure and middleware requirements
Scalability: Context processing components
and communication protocols must perform
adequately in systems ranging from few to
many sensors, actuators and application
components. Similarly, they must scale to
many administrative domains.
 Support for privacy: Flows of context
information between the distributed
components of a context-aware system must
be controlled according to users’ privacy
needs and expectations.

CAS structure and middleware requirements



Traceability and control: The state of the system
components and information flows between components
should be open to inspection - and, where relevant,
manipulation - in order to provide adequate understanding
and control of the system to users, and to facilitate
debugging.
Tolerance for component failures: Sensors and other
components are likely to fail in the ordinary operation of a
context-aware system. Disconnections may also occur. The
system must continue operation, without requiring
excessive resources to detect and handle failures.
Ease of deployment & configuration: The distributed
hardware and software components of a context-aware
system must be easily deployed and configured to meet
userand environmental requirements, potentially by nonexperts (for example, in “smart home” environments).
PACE middleware

design principles:



The context model used in a CAS should be explicitly represented
within the system. This representation should be separate from
the application components (layer 4) and the parts of the system
concerned with sensing and actuation (layers 0 and 1), so that the
context model can evolve independently, without requiring any
components to be re-implemented.
The context-aware behavior of CAAs should be determined, at
least in part, by external specifications that can be customized by
users and evolved along with the context model (again, without
forcing re-implementation of any components).
The communication between application components, and
between the components and middleware services, should not be
tightly bound to the application logic, so that a significant reimplementation effort is required when the underlying transport
protocols or service interfaces change.
Structure of PACE

a context management system (layer 2);
 a preference management system that
provides customisable decision-support for
context-aware applications (layer 3);
 a programming toolkit that facilitates
interaction between application components
and the context and preference management
systems (layer 4);
 tools that assist with generating components
that can be used by all layers, including a
flexible messaging framework.
Context Management System

fulfils the requirements of layer 2: provides aggregation
and storage of CI, in addition to performing query
evaluation.
 uses a two-layered context modelling approach: context
can be expressed both in terms of fine-grained facts and
higher-level situations which capture logical conditions
that can be true, false or unknown in a certain context.
 All information is stored in the fact representation, but can
be queried by either retrieving specific facts based on
template matching, or evaluating situation definitions over
a set of facts.
 consists of a distributed set of context repositories. Each
repository manages a catalog, which is a collection of
context models consisting of fact type and situation
definitions.
Context Management System




Applications may define their own context models or
share them with other applications.
Context-aware components are not statically linked to
a single repository, but can discover repositories
dynamically by catalog name (and potentially also
other attributes).
Several methods of interacting with a context
repository are currently permitted, in order to support
a range of client programming languages and
platforms
A variety of discovery mechanisms can be used,
including context-based discovery, which allows for
matching based on context attributes.
Context Management System

Each repository is capable of performing
access control, although this feature can be
switched off if it is not required.
 The access control mechanism allows users
to define privacy preferences that dictate the
circumstances (i.e.,situations) in which
context information can be queried and
updated.
 The privacy preferences are stored and
evaluated by the preference management
system.
Context Management System


running on top of a relational database management system.
written in Java using JDBC to query and manipulate a set of
context databases. It provides clients with the following
interfaces:
 query: supports situation evaluation and retrieval of facts
matching supplied templates
 update: allows insertion, deletion and modification of facts,
as well as insertion of new situation definitions
 transaction: allows clients to create read-only transactions
within which a sequence of queries can be executed against
a consistent set of context information, regardless of
concurrent updates;
 subscription: allows monitoring of situations and fact types,
using callbacks to notification interfaces implemented by
clients; and
 metadata: allows clients to discover the fact types and
situations that are defined by models in the catalog.
Context Management System

In addition to invoking methods on
repositories using Java RMI, clients can use a
Web interface (based on XML and HTTP) or
programming language stubs generated from
a context model specification. The latter
method can potentially accommodate
arbitrary programming languages and
communication protocols; currently, we
generate stubs for Java and Python, using
Elvin, a content-based message routing
scheme, as the underlying communication
paradigm.
Context Management System

One of the benefits of Elvin is that it allows for
complex interactions (including 1:N and N:M
communication, not only 1:1 as supported by
RMI and HTTP), which allows (for example)
queries and updates to be simultaneously
routed to multiple context repositories
 a model is being developed for replicating
context information across several
repositories and allowing clients to cache
their own context information for use during
disconnections.
Preference Management System

provides layer 3 functionality that builds on
functionality of the context management system.
 assists context-aware applications with making
context-based decisions on behalf of users.
 Its main roles are to provide storage of user
preference information and evaluation of preferences
- with respect to application state variables and
context information stored by the context
management system - to determine which application
actions are preferred by the user in the current
context.
 Applications can connect to, and store their
preference information in, one or more preference
repositories.
Preference Management System

The preferences are defined in terms of a novel
preference model, which allows the description of contextdependent requirements in a form that enables them to be
combined on-the-fly to support decisions about users’
preferred choice(s) from a set of available candidates.
 E. g., the preference model can be used to decide which
mode of input or output should be employed for particular
users according to their requirements and current contexts.
 benefits to decision-making:



customisation and evolution of context-aware behaviour can
be supported in a straightforward manner;
preferences can be shared and exchanged between
applications;
new types of context information can be incorporated into
decision-making processes simply by adding new
preferences, without the need to modify the application
components.
Preference Management System



Its implementation bears strong resembles to that of the context
management system
It provides the following interfaces:
 update: allows new preferences to be defined and grouped
appropriately into sets (for instance, by owner and purpose);
 query: provides preference evaluation based on the
information stored in the context management system;
 transaction: allows a set of preference evaluations to occur
over a consistent set of context information, regardless of
concurrent updates occurring within the context
management layer;
 metadata: allows retrieval of preference and preference set
definitions.
similar to the context repositories, the preference repositories
respond to requests from clients over a variety of
communication protocols. However, Java clients need not
interact directly with repositories; instead, they are provided with
a Java programming toolkit that assists with discovery of, and
interaction with, repositories.
Programming Toolkit

complements the functionality of the
preference management layer by
implementing a simple conceptual model for
formulating and carrying out context-based
choices.
 The model provides a mechanism for linking
application actions with candidate choices.

also allows one or more of the actions to be
automatically invoked on the basis of the results of
evaluating the choices with respect to preference
and context information, using the services of the
preference and context management systems.
Programming Toolkit

benefit:




makes the process of discovering and communicating with
the preference and context management systems
transparent to applications.
helps to produce applications that are cleanly structured and
decoupled from their context models, and thus better able to
support changes in the available context information.
These changes can result from evolution of the sensing
infrastructure over time, or problems such as disconnection
or migration from a sensor-rich environment to a sensor-poor
one.
implemented in Java, using RMI for communication
with remote components; however, it could be ported
to other programming languages and communication
protocols in the future.
Messaging Framework


To facilitate remote communication between
components of context-aware systems
In the tradition of middleware such as CORBA, the
framework aims to provide various forms of
transparency, such as location and migration
transparency. It maps interface definitions to
communication stubs that are appropriate for the
deployment environment. These stubs are
considerably simpler for the programmer to work with
than the APIs of the underlying transport layers, and
can also be automatically re-generated at a later date,
allowing for substitution of transport layers without
modifying the application.
Messaging Framework

Stubs can be generated for a variety of
programming languages and communication
protocols (including message-based and
RPC-based protocols).
 To date, focused on producing Java and
Python stubs for the Elvin publish/subscribe
content-based message routing scheme.
 Elvin is particularly appropriate for building
context-aware systems because it decouples
communication from cooperation.
Messaging Framework

Because it delivers messages based on
matches between message content and the
subscriptions of listeners, rather than based
on explicit addressing, it is able to tolerate
mobility, support complex interactions (not
only 1:1 interactions as in the case of
RPC/RMI), and allow for spontaneous
interactions between components without the
need for an explicit discovery/configuration
step.
 The ability to add new listeners into the
system on-the-fly is also useful for debugging
and generating traces.
Schema Compiler Toolset


produce custom components to assist with
developing and deploying context-aware systems.
The tools take input in the form of a textual
representation of a context model (a context schema),
perform checks to verify the integrity of the model,
and produce the following outputs:



SQL scripts to load and remove context model definitions
from the relational databases used by our context
repositories;
model-specific helper classes to simplify source code
concerned with carrying out context queries and updates;
context model interface definitions compatible with the
messaging framework.
Schema Compiler Toolset




The first output simplifies the deployment and
evolution of context models.
By automating the mapping of context models into
the database structures stored by the context
repositories, errors that might arise during the handcoding of SQL scripts or JDBC code to manipulate
the repositories can be avoided.
updates to context models can be supported simply
by re-generating and re-executing the scripts.
In the future, we envision extending the tools to
produce alternative scripts for context repositories
that are not SQL-based.
Schema Compiler Toolset

The second output is designed to simplify the
programming of components that query or
update a context model, and includes classes
that represent basic value types, fact types
and situations defined by the model.
 By programming with these classes, rather
than the generic APIs provided by the context
management layer, type checking becomes
possible at compile time and standard IDE
features such as code completion can better
be exploited.
Schema Compiler Toolset

The final output is used to produce stubs for
transmitting/receiving context information
over communications infrastructure such as
Elvin.
 The context transmitters can be used by layer
0 and layer 1 components (sensors, actuators
and processing components) to transmit
context information to one or more context
repositories. Similarly, the context receivers
can be used at layer 2 to listen
 for context updates that require mapping to
operations on context repositories.
Case Study: Vertical Handover



adapting the streaming of media to a mobile user
according to the context. The adaptation occurs at
the application layer rather than the network layer
(e.g., using Mobile IP) because of stringent Quality of
Service (QoS) requirements.
Handover occurs in response to any context change:
e.g., the user moving into range of a network that
offers higher bandwidth than the current network, or
the signal strength of the current network dropping.
The handover process is managed by adaptation
managers and proxies.
Case Study: Vertical Handover



The adaptation managers use the context
management system to monitor significant context
changes, in order to determine when a vertical
handover should occur, and to which network
interface.
The proxies perform the handover process. One
proxy is co-located with the transmitter, while other
proxies are located within the same networks as the
receivers.
The transmitter’s local proxy (proxy-transmitter) is
responsible for redirecting the stream when it
receives a handover instruction from an adaptation
manager.
Case Study: Vertical Handover

During the handover process, the proxy-transmitter
transmits the stream to both the original and the new
proxy; referred to as doublecasting.
 The proxies within the receivers’ networks are
responsible for forwarding the streams to the
receiver(s) executing on the client device(s).
 When the handover is complete, the proxytransmitter stops transmitting to the original receiver
proxy. he application adapts by handing
Implementation of Case Study

Architecture (Fig. 2), context model (Fig. 3): context
awareness1\middleware distributed context-aware
systems.pdf.
 Model:


main objects: computing devices, networks, network
interfaces, streams and proxies.
captures associations between computing devices and
network interfaces, proximity between devices,
mappings of streams to proxies and network interfaces,
basic QoS information related to network interfaces
(current signal strength and bandwidth), and other type
and configuration information.
Implementation of Case Study



Much of the information is user-or application-supplied (i.e.,
static or profiled in the terminology of our context modelling
approach); however, proximity between devices is sensed
using wireless beacons, and current network connectivity,
signal strength and bandwidth are all sensed by monitors
running in the network.
The context model, and its instantiation at run-time
with concrete facts, is managed by a set of context
repositories as shown in Fig. 2. Each local network
may contain one or more repositories.
The schema compiler toolset was used to map the
context model to appropriate database structures
when the context repositories were deployed.
Implementation of Case Study


The toolset was also used to generate context
transmitter and receiver stubs, which are used by the
wireless beacons (not shown in the diagram),
network monitors and adaptation managers (shown
for networks 1 and 3) to report context information to
the context repositories over Elvin, via context
listeners that map the Elvin notifications to RMI
context repository updates.
Adaptation managers: The context-aware
functionality is concentrated within the adaptation
managers.
Implementation of Case Study

They are the components that are responsible for
determining when handover is required, according to
the current context and user preferences.


the adaptation managers are the components that interact
with the context and preference repositories.
the adaptation managers are not tightly coupled to
the context model.

The only direct interaction that occurs between the
adaptation managers and the context repositories is in the
form of subscriptions/notifications, which allow the managers
to learn about significant context changes and report new
streaming configurations.
Implementation of Case Study


The subscriptions monitor the state of the sensed fact
types. When an adaptation manager is notified of a
change (for example, a drop in signal strength, as
shown in Fig. 2), it uses the programming toolkit to
connect to a preference repository, re-evaluate the
user’s preferences, and determine whether the
current network interface is still the preferred one
(step 4 in the figure).
The bulk of the context evaluation occurs during this
step, as a side-effect of the preference evaluation
(step 4.1).
Implementation of Case Study



New context information can be easily incorporated
into the evaluation simply by extending the user
preferences (i.e., the implementation of the
adaptation manager does not need to change).
When an adaptation manager determines that a
handover is required, it communicates with the
proxies (step 5) and the context listeners (step 6)
using Elvin.
The manager first transmits a handover instruction to
the proxies using Elvin stubs produced by the PACE
messaging framework.
Implementation of Case Study

After instructing the proxies to perform the handover,
the adaptation manager updates the stream state
information stored in the context repositories (i.e., the
“streaming...to” fact type shown in Fig. 3), using a
context transmitter stub to transmit the information to
the context listeners.
Analysis of Case Study

Heterogeneity:



PACE messaging framework can generate stubs for a
variety of programming languages (and, in the future,
transport layers).
capable of accommodating legacy components, such as the
transmitters and receivers in the vertical handover system.
Mobility:


The use of Elvin within the messaging framework facilitates
component mobility, and often removes the need for
component discovery.
Local context and preference repositories can be
dynamically discovered by mobile context-aware
components using a variety of service discovery protocols.
Analysis of Case Study
In the future, PACE will be extended to support for
mobility by introducing aching/hoarding models for
context and preference information, to allow
mobile components to store local copies of
information that is relevant to users.
Scalability:





current version does not address scalability or
performance
the same can be said of almost all of existing solutions
As future work, we intend to develop models for
federating context and preference managers across
large scale systems and a large number of
administrative domains.
Analysis of Case Study

Privacy: (few solutions address this issue)



provide access control for sensitive context information.
intend to add access control to our preference management
system and combine this access control with context-based
authentication.
Traceability and Control: (few address this issue)



The use of Elvin facilitates the generation of traces, as event
listeners can be added on-the-fly and event traces can be
tailored by adjusting the Elvin subscriptions.
the preference model also provides a basic mechanism for
user control and customization.
In the future, we envisage opening up the service layers to
clients to allow inspection (and manipulation) of context and
preference evaluations. Traces of these evaluations can be
selectively revealed to users to explain system behaviors.
Analysis of Case Study


In the future, we envisage opening up the service layers to
clients to allow inspection (and manipulation) of context and
preference evaluations. Traces of these evaluations can be
selectively revealed to users to explain system behaviors.
Tolerance for failures:



ranks behind that of Solar but ahead of the remaining
solutions surveyed.
Although our middleware does not yet detect or repair failed
components, its use of Elvin allows a loose coupling of
components, minimizing the impact of disconnections and
failures.
our context and preference models were both designed with
the assumption that context information will generally be
imperfect. This introduces some tolerance for failed sensors,
sensing errors, and so on.
Analysis of Case Study

Deployment and Configuration:
 PACE provides more advanced support for
component deployment and configuration than
previous solutions.
 the messaging framework simplifies the
deployment of components on top of a variety of
platforms, while the schema compiler toolset
facilitates the deployment of new context models.
 further extensions to the middleware are needed
to facilitate the scalable deployment and
configuration of infrastructural components such
as sensors.
Context Toolkit
“The Context Toolkit: Aiding the Development
of Context-Enabled Applications” D. Salber,
A.K. Dey, G.D. Abowd; Georgia Institute of
Technology, Proc. Of CHI’99
Dey:context awareness1\chi99.pdf
 Dey:context awareness1\Toolkit.pdf
 Dey:context awareness1\dey-thesis.pdf

Difficulties in Using Context


It is acquired from unconventional sensors. Mobile
devices for instance may acquire location information
from outdoor GPS receivers or indoor positioning
systems. Tracking the location of people or detecting their
presence may require Active Badge devices, floorembedded presence sensors or video image processing.
It must be abstracted to make sense for the application.
GPS receivers for instance provide geographical
coordinates. But tour guide applications would make
better use of higher-level information such as street or
building names. Similarly, Active Badges provide IDs,
which must be abstracted into user names and Locations.
Difficulties in Using Context

It may be acquired from multiple distributed and
heterogeneous sources. Tracking the location of users in
an office requires gathering information from multiple
sensors throughout the office. Furthermore, context
sensing technologies such as video image processing
may introduce uncertainty: they usually provide a ranked
list of candidate results. Detecting the presence of people
in a room reliably may require combining the results of
several techniques such as image processing, audio
processing, floor-embedded pressure sensors, etc.
Difficulties in Using Context

It is dynamic. Changes in the environment must be
detected in real time and applications must adapt to
constant changes. For instance, when a user equipped
with a handheld moves away from the electronic
whiteboard, the user loses the benefit of the wide display
surface and the application must modify its behavior
accordingly. Also, context information history is valuable,
as shown by context-based retrieval applications. A
dynamic and historical model allows applications to fully
exploit the richness of context information.
=> Lack conceptual model and tools to solve
=> Learning from GUI => context widgets
Difficulties in Using Context

It is dynamic. Changes in the environment must be
detected in real time and applications must adapt to
constant changes. For instance, when a user equipped
with a handheld moves away from the electronic
whiteboard, the user loses the benefit of the wide display
surface and the application must modify its behavior
accordingly. Also, context information history is valuable,
as shown by context-based retrieval applications. A
dynamic and historical model allows applications to fully
exploit the richness of context information.
=> Lack conceptual model and tools to solve
=> Learning from GUI => context widgets
GUI Toolkits


GUI widgets (also called interactors) span a large
range of interaction solutions: selecting a file;
triggering an action; choosing options; or even direct
manipulation of graphical objects.
Benefits
 They hide specifics of physical interaction devices
from the applications programmer so that those
devices can change with minimal impact on
applications. Whether the user points and clicks
with a mouse or fingers and taps on a touchpad or
uses keyboard shortcuts doesn’t require any
changes to the application.
GUI Toolkits


They manage the details of the interaction to
provide applications with relevant results of user
actions. Widget-specific dialogue is handled by the
widget itself, and the application often only needs
to implement a single callback to be notified of the
result of an interaction sequence.
They provide reusable building blocks of
presentation to be defined once and reused,
combined, and/or tailored for use in many
applications. Widgets provide encapsulation of
appearance and behavior. The programmer
doesn’t need to know the inner workings of a
widget to use it.
GUI Toolkits


Limitations: too low-level or lacking flexibility
provide stepping stones for designing and building
user interfaces and developing tools such as User
Interface Management Systems (UIMS).
Context Toolkit

Toolkit for distributed context-aware applications



makes the distributed nature of context transparent to
context-aware applications.


Framework for acquiring and handling context
Standard components
Applications do not need to know whether these context
components are being executed remotely or locally.
All components share a common communications
mechanism (XML over HTTP) that supports the
transparent distribution.

These components run independently of any single
application, allowing them to be used by multiple
applications.
Context Toolkit

Dey:context awareness1\Toolkit.pdf
 Dey:context awareness1\dey-thesis.pdf

BaseObject: a basic communications component
 It facilitates the peer-to-peer communications used
in the toolkit, being able to send, receive, initiate
and respond to communications. Applications use
BaseObject instances to communicate with the
context-sensing infrastructure and components
within the infrastructure sub-class from
BaseObject to allow them to communicate with
other infrastructure components.
Context Toolkit

key abstractions (Fig. 7, Fig. 8)

Widgets (Services)



Aggregators
Interpreters
Discoverer
Context Interpreters

Convert or interpret context to higher
level information
App
Location
to Room
Interpreter
Location
Widget
Location
to Street
Interpreter
Context Aggregators

Collect contexts relevant to particular entities
 Further separation, simplifies design
App
App
Location
to Room
Interpreter
Person
Aggregator
Location
Widget
Activity
Widget
Affect
Widget
Context Services

Perform behaviors that act on the
environment
In/out
board
Context Services


A context service is an analog to the context widget.
Whereas the context widget is responsible for
retrieving state information about the environment
from a sensor (i.e. input), the context service is
responsible for controlling or changing state
information in the environment using an actuator (i.e.
output).
Context services can be synchronous or
asynchronous.


Ex. of Synchronous: send an e-mail to a user.
Ex. of asynchronous: send a message to a user on a twoway pager containing a number of possible message
responses. The service is complete when the user chooses
a response and returns it. The service probably does not
want to wait indefinitely for a response.
Context Services

To build a context service, a developer does not need
to worry about providing a mechanism for calling and
executing the service, dealing with transparent
distributed communications, separation from
applications, and allowing applications to discover it,
but instead receives this functionality automatically.
Instead, the developer must provide a description of
the service’s functionality, the set of parameters, if
any, that the service requires to be executed (e.g. the
message and potential responses to page a user
with, the user’s pager number), and code that
interacts with an actuator to perform the service.
Context Discoverer

Registry for context components
In/out
board
Context Widget

A software component that




provides applications with access to context
information from their operating environment
insulates applications from context acquisition
Analogy to GUI widget

Separation, callbacks, attributes, encapsulation,
abstraction

e.g. GUI button
Why: Responsible for acquiring and
abstracting data from particular sensor,
separation of concerns, storage
Context Widget

benefits:


They hide the complexity of the actual sensors used
from the application. Whether the presence of people
is sensed using Active Badges, floor sensors, video
image processing or a combination of these should not
impact the application.
They abstract context information to suit the expected
needs of applications. A widget that tracks the location
of a user within a building or a city notifies the
application only when the user moves from one room
to another, or from one street corner to another, and
doesn’t report less significant moves to the application.
Widgets provide abstracted information that we expect
applications to need the most frequently.
Context Widget
They provide reusable and customizable building
blocks of context sensing. A widget that tracks the
location of a user can be used by a variety of
applications, from tour guides to office awareness
systems. Furthermore, context widgets can be tailored
and combined in ways similar to GUI widgets. For
example, a Presence widget senses the presence of
people in a room. A Meeting widget may rely on a
Presence widget and assume a meeting is beginning
when two or more people are present.
 These benefits address issues 1 and 2
 due to the characteristics of context and issues 3 and 4,
distribution and dynamicity, the context toolkit has some
unique features.

Context Widgets

Widgets abstract out sensors
App
App
Location
Widget
Active
Badge
Active
Badge
GPS
Cell Phone
Location
Context Widgets

Context widgets have a state and a behavior




State: a set of attributes that can be queries or
subscribed (via widget triggers) by applications
E.g., an IdentityPresence widget has attributes for its
location, the last time a presence was detected, and
the identity of the last user detected.
Applications can also register to be notified of context
changes detected by the widget. The widget triggers
callbacks to the application when changes in the
environment are detected.
The IdentityPresence widget for instance, provides
callbacks to notify the application when a new person
arrives, or when a person leaves.
Context Widgets

basic building blocks that manage sensing of context.
 widget toolkit provides means of composing widgets: to
take advantage of multiple types of context information.
 For example, a widget designed to detect the kind of
activity people in a classroom are engaged in could
combine the information provided by presence widgets
and activity sensing widgets using, for instance, audio and
video analysis. Based on information provided by widgets
such as the number of people in the room, their location in
the room, the speakers, activity in the front of the
classroom, the composite widget would detect activities
such as lecture, group study, exam, etc.
Context Widgets

Differences from GIU widgets:


live in a distributed architecture: rely on three kinds of
distributed components: generators that acquire
context information, interpreters that abstract it and
servers that aggregate information. Applications,
widgets and the components they rely upon may be
distributed. (address issue 3)
monitor environmental information that may be needed
at any time by an application. Thus a context widget is
active all the time, and its activation is not, as with GUI
widgets, driven by applications. (address issue 4)
Example Context Widgets (I)


IdentityPresence:
senses the presence of
people and their identity
Generators
 Acquires raw
information from the
sensor(s)
 Could be voice
recognition, Active
Badges, video/image
recognition, keyboard
and login information
 Attributes and callbacks
are independent of
generators
Context Widgets



All widgets acquire context information through
generators.
Generators are components that encapsulate a
single sensor or a set of closely related sensors and
the software that acquires raw information from the
sensor(s).
The IdentityPresence widget could be implemented
using any number of generators, including voice
recognition, Active Badges, video/image recognition,
keyboard and login information, or even a
combination of these.
Context Widgets



The generator that is chosen affects neither the
definition of the widget nor any application that uses
the widget.
The attributes and callbacks provided by the widget
are independent from the actual implementation, thus
sheltering the application from the specifics of the
sensors used.
Our current implementation of the IdentityPresence
widget uses Dallas Semiconductor’s i Buttons,
passive tags with unique identifiers and storage and
computing capabilities or alternatively passive TIRIS
RF tags.
Example Context Widgets (II)

Activity:
senses the current
activity level at a
location
 Generators:

Microphone,
infrared sensor,
video image
analysis
Other Context Widgets

NamePresence:


PhoneUse:


Whether a phone is being used and the length of
use
MachineUse:


Provides the user’s actual name
When a user logs onto or off of a computer, his
identity, and length of her computing session
GroupURLPresence:

Provides a URL relevant to the research group a
user belongs to when her presence is detected
Example of Using Context Widgets
Dey:context awareness1\chi99.pdf
 In/out board:


One IdentityPresence at entrance to
building
Example of Using Context Widgets

Information Display:




Displays information relevant to the user’s location
and identity on a display adjacent to the user
Activates itself as someone approaches it, and the
information it displays changes to match the user,
her research group, and location.
Context : location of the display, the identity of the
user, the research group the user belongs to and
information that is interesting to that research
group
GroupURLPresence or IdentityPresence
Example of Using Context Widgets

DUMMBO (Dynamic Ubiquitous Mobile Meeting
Board)





Digitizing whiteboard to capture and access informal
and spontaneous meetings
Capture ink written to and erased from whiteboard as
well as the recorded audio discussion
Activated when two or more people gathered around
Context: participants’ identities, time of arrival at or
depart whiteboard, location of whiteboard
Multiple NamePresence, one for each location where
DUMMBO could be moved to, one on DUMMBO itself
Context Implementation Details

Dey:context awareness1\chi99.pdf
 Distribution:



The context infrastructure must accommodate
distribution of applications, widgets and the
components they rely upon, across a network.
Applications may require the services of several
widgets distributed across different machines, as
described in the DUMMBO application.
widgets themselves may be distributed. A widget
may consist of any number of three types of
components: generators, interpreters, and servers
(see figure 2).
Context Implementation Details





An interpreter abstracts raw or low-level context
information into higher level information.
An example of this was seen in the DUMMBO
application where the basic NamePresence widget
used a generator to obtain a user ID for the user
whose presence was detected.
An interpreter is used to abstract the raw ID
information into an actual user name.
Interpreters can be used for more than simply
converting between types of data.
They play an important role in widget composition.
Context Implementation Details

Handle composition:context
awareness1\chi99.pdf
e.g., IdentityPresence + Activity  Meeting
 Interpreters can be used to assess validity of
uncertain information provided by multiple
generators
 Server: a widget that collects, stores and
interprets information from other widgets

Often used to model context of real world entities,
e.g., users or places, from elementary widgets
 May include privacy handling

Context Implementation Details

Handle communicating across
heterogeneous components:
Assume that the underlying system
supports TCP/IP
 Communication model uses the HTTP
protocol
 Language model uses the ASCII-based
Extensible Markup Language (XML)

Context Implementation Details

Handle dynamism:



Environment changes  application adapt
 Need: to access information and to access only
desired information, also need to access
context history
Use a subscription mechanism to notify an
application of context changes and a polling
mechanism to allow an application to inquire
 Allow conditions to be specified before the
widgets will be notified  filtering unwanted
info at infrastructure
All widgets store historical data in a database for
applications or interpreters to retrieve
Implementation Details (BaseObject)




the basic communications infrastructure of the Context
Toolkit
Contains methods for communicating with widgets,
aggregators, interpreters, services and discoverers.
For the outgoing communications, where BaseObject
behaves as a client, data is first encoded using
XMLand then wrapped with HTTP
To communicate with any context component, three
parameters must be provided: hostname (or I.P.
address) of the machine the component is executing
on, the port number the component is listening for
communications on and the unique identity of the
component.
Implementation Details (BaseObject)


These parameters do not have to be known a priori by
the object using a BaseObject instance, but can be
determined at runtime using a Discoverer.
There are some methods that BaseObject supports for
communicating with all types of components in the
infrastructure. This includes a method that “pings”
another component to ensure that it is still operating
and one that queries for the version of a remote
component.

Client: pingComponent: ping a component
queryVersion: request a component’s version

Server: pingComponentReply: response to a ping
queryVersionReply: response containing version number
Implementation Details (BaseObject)



When any component receives a communications
message, it behaves like a server
To handle simultaneous incoming communications,
BaseObject uses a multithreaded server.
BaseObject is responsible for maintaining a global
timeclock. Each instance automatically connects to a
Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) server in order
to synchronize its local time with a standard global
time. Synchronization occurs at regular intervals to
ensure that all components and applications have a
common time with which to compare data.
Implementation Details (Widgets)



A basic Widget object handling all the features that are
common across widgets. It is responsible for
maintaining a list of subscribers to each callback in the
widget, storing all data that is sensed, mediating
access to the widget’s services and allowing inspection
of the widget’s internal information.
able to act as a client or a server. Most commonly,
widgets behave as servers that deliver requested
information to clients.
When an incoming message is received by a widget,
BaseObject tries to handle it. If BaseObject is unable to
handle it, the widget handles the message and
responds.
Implementation Details (Widgets)


Widgets can handle the following types of messages or
requests:context awareness1\dey-thesis.pdf
Widget inspection
 queryAttributes: Request for a list of the context attributes
the widget can provide
 queryCallbacks: Request for a list of the callbacks the
widget can provide notification about
 queryServices: Request for a list of the services a widget
can perform
 Widget subscriptions: (Fig. 14, 16)
 addSubscriber: Request to subscribe to a widget callback
 removeSubscriber: Request to unsubscribe to a widget
callback
Implementation Details (Widgets)

Widget storage
 query: Query the widget for its last acquired value
 updateAndQuery: Request that the widget acquire new
data and return it
 retrieveData: Request to retrieve data from the widget’s
persistent storage
 Widgets have two mechanisms for storing data. The
simplest is a local cache in memory that stores only
recently sensed context. Context data is flushed from the
local cache to the second, and more persistent, store
according to a specified flush policy. An application can
acquire this historical context from the persistent store
using a retrieveData request.
Implementation Details (Widgets)


Widget services (Fig. 17,19)
 serviceRequest: Request to execute a widget’s
asynchronous or synchronous service
context awareness1\dey-thesis.pdf
Implementation Details (Discoverer)




the application uses the Discoverer to locate any
context that can provide information it is responsible for
It specifies the attributes it is interested in, The
Discoverer uses this information to locate any widgets
and aggregators that can return this information, if any.
It returns all the information it has about each relevant
component, including the hostname or I.P. address of
the computer the component is executing on, the port
number the component receives communications on
and the component’s unique identity.
The application also subscribes to the Discoverer to be
notified about any changes to the components it is
using or the appearance of a new component that can
meet the specified conditions.
Implementation Details (Discoverer)



If no component is available, an application-specific
decision must be made as to what to do.
programmers can use a Discoverer to determine what
context can be currently sensed from the environment.
The Context Toolkit allows for multiple Discoverers.



Each Discoverer is typically responsible for all the components
in a physical environment.
Components are not limited to registering with a single
Discoverer and can register with multiple Discoverers, if
desired.
To connect the information held by multiple distributed
Discoverers, each of these Discoverers can register with a
higher-level Discoverer, forming a scalable hierarchy or
federation of Discoverer objects.
Implementation Details (Discoverer)

Discoverers can handle the following types of
messages or requests:

Discoverer registration



Discoverer subscriptions



addDiscoveredObject: Register a component with the
Discoverer
removeDiscoveredObject: Unregister or remove a component
from the Discoverer
subscribeToDiscoveredObjects: Subscribe to the Discoverer for
discovered objects
removeDiscovererSubscriber: Unsubscribe from the Discoverer
Discoverer queries

retrieveKnownDiscoveredObjects: Query the Discoverer for its
discovered objects
Implementation Details (Discoverer)

Fig. 21: context awareness1\dey-thesis.pdf
Implementation Details (Interpreters)


A basic Interpreter object that sub-classes from
BaseObject is provided in the Context Toolkit.
It allows other components, via their instance of
BaseObject, to:




queryInAttributes: inspect the context types that an
interpreter instance can interpret;
queryOutAttributes: inspect the context types that an
interpreter instance can output; and,
interpret: request interpretation.
Fig. 23.
Implementation Details (Aggregators)





When an aggregator is started, it can either locate
appropriate widgets via the Discoverer or it can use a
list of widgets provided to it at runtime.
The aggregator acts as a mediator between other
components and these widgets.
When another component wants to communicate with
any of these widgets, it can do so via the aggregator.
When inspected, the aggregator’s attributes, callbacks
and services are a union of these widgets’ attributes,
callbacks and services, respectively.
At runtime, the entity for which the aggregator is
responsible is specified.
Implementation Details (Aggregators)
For example, this could be “username = Anind Dey” or
“location = Atlanta” or “device name = munch.cc.gatech.edu”.
 This specification is used as a condition when subscribing to
relevant widgets, allowing the aggregator to only receive
information about its entity.
 A final difference between aggregators and widgets is in the
way that they locally cache context data.
 A context widget caches the last data that its sensor
provided it.
 An aggregator’s local cache contains an entry for each
type of context that the aggregator is receiving, which
potentially comes from many callbacks. Rather than
overwriting the cache when a new callback is received,
only the relevant entries are overwritten.
 Fig. 25.

BUILDING APPLICATIONS WITH THE
CONTEXT TOOLKIT





In/Out Board and Context-Aware Mailing List:
demonstrates use of simple widget that is reusable by
multiple applications and demonstrates how
applications can evolve to use different sensors;
DUMMBO: demonstrates evolution of an application
from being non-context-aware to being context-aware;
Intercom: demonstrates a complex application that uses
a variety of context and components;
Conference Assistant: demonstrates a complex
application that uses a large variety of context and
sensors.
context awareness1\dey-thesis.pdf
Context Broker


Chen:G:\context awareness1\intelligent broker.pdf
a context broker has the following responsibilities:





provide a centralized model of context that all devices,
services, and agents in the space can share,
acquire contextual information from sources that are
unreachable by the resource-constrained devices,
reason about contextual information that cannot be directly
acquired from the sensors,
detect and resolve inconsistent knowledge stored in the
shared context model, and
protect privacy by enforcing policies that users have defined
to control the sharing and use of their contextual information.
Context Broker


consists of four modular components. Each component
provides distinctive functions for supporting persistent
data storage, context reasoning, context acquisition,
and privacy protection.
Context knowledge base. This component manages the
storage of the context broker’s knowledge. This
knowledge includes the ontologies for describing
various types of contexts, the ontology instance data of
the acquired contextual information, and the meta-data
for describing the storage structure of the represented
knowledge.
Context Broker


Context-reasoning engine. A logical inference engine
for reasoning over the acquired contextual information.
The function of this engine includes interpreting context
based on the acquired sensing data, aggregating the
contextual information from multiple sources using
ontologies and domain heuristics, detecting and
resolving inconsistent information.
Context-acquisition module. This component is a set of
library procedures for acquiring contextual information
from sensors, agents, and the Web. It hides the lowlevel context sensing implementations from the highlevel functional components. This middle-ware system
design is aimed to improve the reusability of the context
sensing procedures.
Context Broker


Privacy-management module. This component
manages the users’ privacy policies and controls the
sharing of their private information. It is responsible for
enforcing the appropriate privacy policies when the
context broker attempts to share certain user
information. When sharing information, if it is forbidden
by some user’s policy, this components also helps to
guide the logical reasoning to adjust information
granularity.
Chen:G:\context awareness1\intelligent broker.pdf
Implementation Blueprints

It addresses the following engineering issues:





the development of ontologies for building a context
broker,
the service discovery and communication between a
context broker and computing entities with
heterogenous network interfaces,
the deployment and administration of a context
broker,
the single-point-of-failure scenario in a distributed
system.
Chen:G:\context awareness1\intelligent
broker.pdf
Applications of CoBrA

Intelligent Personal Agent
 Projector Tracking Service
 Visitor Assistant Service
 Chen:G:\context awareness1\intelligent broker.pdf
ONTOLOGIES


Chen:G:\context awareness1\intelligent broker.pdf
the SOUPA ontology and the CoBrA ontology



The CoBrA ontology (COBRA-ONT) is a smart meeting
ontology for prototyping CoBrA applications. In particular, the
ontology defines the vocabularies for describing the meeting
events of the eBiquity Research Group at UMBC. It was first
released in March 2003. After the first release, there were five
other incremental releases of the revised ontology.
The SOUPA ontology, on the other hand, is a standard
ontology for supporting pervasive and ubiquitous computing
applications. This SOUPA ontology project was initiated by
myself and an international group of researchers who are part
of the SemanticWeb in UbiComp Special Interest Group
(http://pervasive.semanticweb.org).
The Web Ontology Language OWL
ONTOLOGIES



SOUPA Ontology: Fig. 4;
CoBrA Ontology
Chen:G:\context awareness1\intelligent broker.pdf
CONTEXT REASONING

CoBrA supports two kinds of context reasoning:





reasoning for building a shared model of context,
reasoning for maintaining a consistent model of context.
The first kind of reasoning involves the use of inference
to interpret sensing information,
the other kind of reasoning involves the use of inference
to detect and resolve inconsistent information.
CoBrA’s context reasoning with a rule-based logical
inference approach: G:\context awareness1\intelligent
broker.pdf
PRIVACY PROTECTION

G:\context awareness1\intelligent broker.pdf
IMPLEMENTATIONS

G:\context awareness1\intelligent broker.pdf
Functional Architecture of Service Life Cycle

Service life cycle: the procedures and
steps intended for the design,
implementation, activation, operation,
and withdrawal of a service.
Divided into service creation & service
management functional areas
 Boundary: when the service is to ready to
be deployed.
 Operational phase: activities of
deactivation, reactivation, removal,
migration, replication, and updates

Functional Architecture of Service Life Cycle

Service management




Install and remove services in distribution points
A list of currently installed services must be
accessible (required data identifying the code:
service name, vendor, version, interface)
Decide in which execution environment the code
will be service activated. (the service itself may
decide on when to carry out a deactivation,
suspension, and resumption)
Need to maintain a mean of handling configuration
data in a location-independent way.
Context-Aware Services Life Cycle Model (Fig.3.1)
Service Requirement
Definition Epoch
Service Definition
Configuration of necessary
System components
Incoming Subscription
Customization Epoch
Customized Service Code
Configuration of
necessary system
components
Code Installation
Invocation request
Invocation Epoch
Service Code Execution
Operation Epoch
Service Code
Operation
Service
Assurance
Functional Architecture of Service Life Cycle

Service definition: all the functionality fulfilling
the requirements + the system configurations
necessary to provision the service.


Finishes with the dispatch of the service definition
and the configuration specifications to the appropriate
components of the provisioning system.
Customization epoch:



Establish an agreement between the new subscriber
and the service provider.
Establish a subscription, produce & install the
customized code in the system components
New infrastructure configuration.
Functional Architecture of Service Life Cycle


Service offered to a single consumer or a group of
customers without explicit subscription escape this
epoch.
Invocation epoch:


In response to an incoming invocation request (from
user by a signaling protocol, or from the infrastructure
by specific alarms)
Services may be designed such that no invocation
request is required for their use: immediately after
customization/definition epoch; based on service
schedule detailed within the service definition.
Functional Architecture of Service Life Cycle

Operational epoch



Supported by infrastructure mechanisms that
implement the APIs used by the service.
Efficient service delivery is ensured by assurance
mechanisms that monitor performance and change
the configuration of the infrastructure, and of the
service itself, as required.
The cessation of the execution of code at certain
locations at certain points in time and restarting of
code at other locations: support mobility without
flooding the whole network with pieces of
personalized code.
Service Life Cycle Decomposition (Fig.3.2)
• Active for handling service definition &
customization at the corresponding epoches
• Configuration & performance management of
the created services
•Policies are set during Service Definition epoch
•Configuration management is active during the
service operation epoch and decides the terms of
service execution.
•Performance management is at the same epoch
and ensure correct operation of executing services
• Active for executing & supporting service
operation (service operation epoch). It supports
service operation by providing several APIs.
Service creation
Policy-based
service
management
configuration
performance
Service execution
Service Layer Functional Architecture (Fig.3.3)
Service Creation Functions
Service
Customization
Subscription agreement
Code & Policy
Generation
Engine
Set of Policies
Code Execution
Controller
Invocation
Service Listener
Service Definition
Technology-specific
Service code
Service activation requests
Code Distributor
Triggering
message
CAS
Authoring
Triggers
Service
Execution
Monitoring &
config. data
Service
Assurance
Service Management Functions
• execution environment
provide a platform for
service code execution;
APIs that offer services
access to the capabilities
of the infrastructure;
communicates with SA
to exchange monitoring
and configuration data.
• the results of
monitoring are fed to
the Performance
Asserter of SA that will
decide the enforcement
of proactive and
reactive measures
Service Layer Reference Points (Fig.3.4)
CAS Authoring
Consumer
Request
Service
Customization
Agreed
Service
Subscription
Available
Modules
Service Definition
Document
Code and Policies
Generation Engine
Management Policies
Customized service code
Service code
URL
Code Execution
Controller
Code Distributor
Service
Activation
Request
All Pertinent Service
Management components
Code Installation/
Maintenance
Execution
Environment
Monitoring Data
Activation trigger
Reactive Configurations
Invocation Service
Listener
Signaling, Alarms
Proactive policies
Service
Assurance
Service Creation
Service creation process does not need to
follow a waterfall model because
sequential phases is adequate to the
development of such kinds of services.
 CAS authoring


To produce a coherent & complete service
definition & to provide a tool to assist the CAS
creation administrator to compile the service
definition.
CAS Authoring Component Functionality (Fig.3.5)
Authentication
and Authorization
Selection of Action
Selection of Service
/Service Type
Modules Selection
Complex Attributes
Definition
Attribute Value
Association
Service Definition
Document
Production
Service Definition
Document
Validation
CAS Authoring Component Architecture (Fig.3.6)
AA
Policies
Module
Documents
Skeleton
configurations
Modules
Catalogue
GUI
Login and
Navigation
GUI
Complex Attrs
Templates
Service
Definition GUI
Complex Attributes
Definition GUI
Validity Guardian
Service
Definition
Document
Validation
Rules
XML-based
document
Service Customization Component Functionality (Fig.3.7)
Connection
Establishment
Selection of Action
Selection of new Service/
Existing customization
Service Customization
Definition
Negotiations
Between consumer
provider
Establishment of
Agreement
Service Customization Component Architecture
(Fig.3.8)
Consumer Service
Customization GUI
Provider’s
Negotiation Engine
Authentication
Authorization
Accounting
AAA
Policies
Request Validation
Validation
Policies
Resource Based
Admission Logic
Multiple instances of CC
GUI may exist, but connect
to a single PNE
Subscription
Maintenance
PNE should be
multithreaded to support
multiple simultaneous
consumers requests
Agreement
Deployment
Agreed Service
Customizations
Monitoring
date
Subscription
Repository
Code & Policies Generation Engine Component Functionality
(Fig.3.9)
Receive Service
Customizations
Generate
Customized
Code
Generate
Customization
Policies
Technology
independent
Receive Service
Definition Document
Parse SDD to produce
Service Logic
Generate Service
Logic Code
Dispatch Code/ policies
Technology
independent
Parse SDD to produce
management policies
Generate Service
Policies
Code & Policies Generation Engine Component Architecture (Fig.3.10)
One for each
distinct technology
Service Logic
Parser
Service Logic
Date structure
Code
Generator
Code
Dispatcher
technology specific code
Service
Definition
Document
Service
Customizations
Management
Policies Parser
Management
Policies date
structure
Data structures are implementation
technology independent
Policies
Generator
Policies
Dispatcher
Service Management

Starts when the service code is ready to be
deployed in a distributed execution environment.
 The set of functions is heterogeneous: not easy to
have closed solutions applicable to any
environment.  structurized as a service itself.
 Major requirement: autonomy


Need to clarify the dependencies between the highlevel application and its constituent parts and resources.
Abstract service models, tools, and languages are used
to address this issue.
Code Distributor Component Architecture (Fig.3.11)
Service Code and
Customizations
Code
Code & Policies
Generation Engine
Code Installer
Translation
Policies
Code
Storage
Code
Maintenance
URL Selector
Optimum
URL
Code Execution
Controller
Code Distributor

Twofold in output: code installation & maintenance,
service code URL selection
 Criteria for selection of storage points: provided by
management policies acquired during the service
definition epoch, or general policies established by
overall system administration decisions.
 Maintenance function is always active to ensure
that the installed code is stored consistently within
the infrastructure.

Keeping a record of code versions, adding/delete code,
relocating code for optimizing its distribution, an
updated list of the URLs of the available code
Code Distributor

URL selection mechanism



URL requests from CEC ask for the most convenient
URL of a specific customized service given a list of the
intended execution points for this service.
Selection: based on the installed code, the URL list, and
the management policies defined to affect this selection.
Code installer:



A listener for code installation requests
Maintain a catalog of all the available CS points
Catalog + management policies  generate a list of
target storage points for the code in question.
Code Distributor

CM



Notified by the CI for every new installation and keeps
an updated list of the code distribution.
Removal, update, and redistribution requests are also
served.
Implementation:



Centralized component.
A GUI is needed: update available code storage points,
monitoring and human-driven management facilities for
the installed code.
CS could be implemented as a file structure, while the
code installation could be achieved using FTP. An
LDAP-based storage and retrieval system could be an
alternative solution.
Code Execution Controller Component Functionality (Fig.3.12)
Receive
Invocation trigger
Deduce Service
Deduce Subscription
Deduce run time Arguments
Authentication
Admin Authorization
Resource Based
Authorization
Select Execution Node
Retrieve
Optimum URL
Request Execution
Code Execution Controller Component Architecture
Invocation trigger
messages are
uniform
Invocation Triggers
Listener
(Fig.3.13)
Invocation resolver
AA
Policies
AA Engine
Service, Subscription,
Arguments Deduction
Policies
Proactive Assurance
Enforcement
Policies
Execution
Point
Selector
URL
retrieval
Activation Request
Composer/Dispatcher
Activation
Request
message
Distributed
execution
Policies
Code Execution Controller

Centralized scheme vs. multiple instances


The latter is to optimize performance, increase
scalability, and improve resilience of the
system
The IL must be configured in the latter case
with the necessary policies for selecting the
appropriate CEC
Invocation Service Listener Component Functionality (Fig.3.14)
Triggers
Captivation
Triggers
Translation
Composition of Activation
Trigger Message
Selection of appropriate
Code Execution Controller
Activation Trigger
Message Forwarding
Invocation Service Listener Component Architecture (Fig.3.15)
Connected to a signaling
termination server or to an
infrastructure capability
Triggers Listener
Trigger Translator
Invocation information is
formalized within the message
as a set of parameters
Invocation Trigger
Message Forwarder
Activation Trigger
Message
Translation
Policies
Code Execution
Controller Selection
Policies
Invocation service listener

Each ISI is programmed to recognize only a
specific type of trigger (e.g., SIP messages)
 Translation policies are set by the system
administrator and are intended to configure the IS
in a flexible and dynamic manner, thus making their
functionality more generic.
 A trigger type may be served by several ISIs to
reduce trigger transmission delays, network traffic,
and balance server loads.
 Triggers:


Infrastructure alarms can be captured by connecting to
appropriate context brokers
Specific protocol signals: captured by termination servers
Service Assurance

QoS perceived by the end-user




Service accessibility performance
Service retainability performance
Service integrity performance
SA automatically detects and corrects network
and service problems during service life time, in
order to comply with SLA, using policies to
achieve this in an efficient manner.
 Refer Fir. 3.4 for SA’s interaction
 Policy-based features of SA contribute to make
CAS assurance a fully automated process,
allowing high-levels of flexibility and dynamic
configuration of service monitoring and problemsolving actions
SA: service monitoring

Performance monitoring


Threshold data monitoring


Utilization, performance, reliability, congestion
Mechanism to configure thresholds applied to serviceeffecting measurements, and to report the threshold
violations to the interested parties via alarm
mechanisms.
Fault data monitoring

Report the occurrence and clearance of network or
service failures. Failures at the network or service
levels are reported using notifications and alarms.
SA: service control actions

Reactive actions (executed once an SLA is
violated) vs. preventive actions (performed
to prevent SLA violations from occurring)

E.g.: manipulation of link traffic overloading
Different levels of priority in the actions and
therefore different alarm level.
 Management actions


Monitoring state actions: do not explicitly
resolve SLA violations, but help to identify and
avoid them. changing threshold levels,
activating/deactivating alarms,…
SA: service control actions


Distributed components of SA:


Monitoring entity actions: are taken before or
after (proactive vs. reactive) the SLA are
violated, in 1st case to avoid the SLAs violation,
and in 2nd case to restore a normal service
performance.  activating auxiliary links when
bandwidth problems arise.
SQM, PM, NAC (each node has its own
instance)
Centralized components of SA:

AM, SLAM, FM (need information from
different nodes; may have multiple instances)
Service Assurance Component Architecture (Fig.3.16)
Network
Inventory
Repository
Network Action
Component
Assurance
Manager
SLA Manager
SERVICE PERFORMANCE
ASSERTER
Service Quality
Manager
Fault
Monitor
Performance
Monitor
MONITORING
COMPONENT
Service
Policy
Repository
Context-aware Services on the
Network Layer
Network Layer Requirements for
Context-Aware Services

The paradigm of simple network and sophisticated
routing and endpoints cannot support modern
services that require QoS support in a scalable costefficient way.
 Network Context Information: the information that
describes the state of the network from several
aspects like load, availability, best routing, etc.
used by services to allow them to deliver the required
service behavior to users and to improve their
performance
composed of different pieces of information, residing
in different network locations.
Network Layer Requirements for CAS (cont.)

3 critical aspects in the ability to provide the
needed NCI to networked services:



The ability to extract pieces of the needed local
information (get information from network
elements regarding their local state and the state
of the network)
Create a general network layer view from the local
pieces of information.
The delivery of the needed information to the
different services and the different parts of the
service logic, which might be executed in a
distributed way.
 Main obstacles: efficiently collect NCI from
the network and process and deliver it to the
requesting overlay network as required.
Network Layer Requirements for CAS (cont.)
by ‘on request’ basis: only need to monitor
and collect information that is requested by a
client of a CAS. client-dependent
 Need to reduce overhead traffic as it competes
for the same bandwidth with customer traffic
 Besides acquiring NCI, CAS often needs to take
action as to change network configuration in
order to be able to deliver the service, or in order
to make it more efficient.
need for a mechanism to allow the service to take
actual actions with respect to the network.
(reconfiguration of parameters in one or more
NEs, or setting up filters blocking certain packets
in different network locations, etc.
 Done
Current State of Service-aware Networks


The ability to collect, process, and disseminate NIC,
together with the ability to actually change the network
behavior by taking actions, is a key ingredient in the ability
to design and implement complex CASs in a scalable and
efficient way.
Service-aware network (SAN):
 Introducing openness through APIs into networks to
increase: flexibility, programmability, protocol
adaptation, reusability, scalability, reliability, security
and support for services.
 The adaptation process take place in the middleware 
monitor events in the underlying network and adapt
their internal behavior by either changing specific
components’ behavior or dynamically reconfiguring the
network.
Current State of Service-aware Networks

framework of open network: Parlay/OSA:
Consists of a set of APIs that enable third
parties and network operators to create new
applications and services, which have real-time
control of network resources.
 Provides the resource location, authentication,
and authorization functions required for external
applications to gain access to network-based
Parlay services.
 Parlay services (e.g. generic call control service)
offer network capabilities to applications,
enabling them to dynamically route and reroute
media streams.

Current State of Service-aware Networks

Network overlay (towards SAN):




Applications should not have to deal with the underlying
real network infrastructure.
A set of nodes (servers, end-user nodes) and virtual
links are involved in specific applications.
Acts as a specialized middleware.
Two key elements:



Techniques to efficiently map the overlay abstraction to the
underlying resources
The management of the overlay, i.e., the mapping policy,
configuration and reconfig., performance monitoring, etc.
Can be customized or optimized for a single service or
a service family, thus creating a variety of overlays.
Current State of Service-aware Networks

Peer-to-peer overlay networks: CAN, Chord..
Benefit: enable service components
deployment in a flexible, scalable, and
decentralized way.
 Key function: a distributed hash table, which
allows data to be uniformly diffused over all the
participants in the P2P system.


Separation between services and network
infrastructure results in some loss of
interworking between the two layers; the
programmable network technology offers
some remedy to this inefficiency.
Req. for NCI Collection and Dissemination

Collect, process, and disseminate NIC at
different points of the network: (two aspects)
The ability to access local network level
information.
 Process the information in the network level
and the disseminate the information to the
prospective consumers (the services who need
this information)


Access to local network level information
At different network locations
 Varies depending on the specific service and
the specific network device at hand

Req. for NCI Collection and Dissemination


Usually accessible either via a standard SNMP agent or
using a proprietary CLI.
Needs to be abstracted so that upper level applications
or entities will not have to worry about dealing with each
local devices  in the form of an information model and
a set of APIs based on such an information model 
APIs support unified queries regarding network level
data  efficiency could be provided by a mediator or a
set of mediators that have the necessary intelligence to
process information taking into account characteristics
like the location of information, its volatility, the protocol
that understands or is best suited to the specific device,
and the grouping of several atomic requests into a
combined one to reduce the network overheads.
Req. for NCI Collection and Dissemination

Gathering and disseminating global network
information
Provider-consumer approach for the players.
 Context Information Distribution System (CIDS)
 binds consumers and producers, and
distributes the contexts using well-defined APIs.
 A system that has endpoints (mediators) at
each relevant location to provide the means for
efficient information exchange..
 The nodes of the CIDS can communicate using
a variety of delivery options. enhances the
scalability and performance of dissemination

Figure 4.1 Context Information Dissemination
System(CIDS).
Network Node
SLO
Consumer API
Producer API
Context Mediator
Network Node
Network Node
SLO
Consumer API
Producer API
Context Mediator
Context
Dissemination
Scheme
SLO
Consumer API
Producer API
Context Mediator
Req. for NCI Collection and Dissemination

Context Information Sources (CISs)


Producers providing raw context information from
network nodes (local MIB variables), from different
mobile access technology adapters (WLAN, GPRS),
from other wrappers (weather sensors),…
Complex Computation Objects (CCOs)
Provide complex information by aggregating
elementary context.
 Deployed (permanently or on-demand) in the EE of
the network nodes and registered with the CMs
through the Producer APIs

Req. for NCI Collection and Dissemination

Service Logic Objects (SLOs)
Context consumers
 Instances of the server logic
 During the operation epoch, each SLO issues
requests for the acquisition of context information.


Context Mediators (CMs)
Act as the third party players between producers and
consumers.
 Provide two types of API: producer APIs and
consumer APIs
 Producer APIs include the interface that enable
context producers to publish information they provide.

Req. for NCI Collection and Dissemination
The heterogeneity of the different context sources is
hidden
 Only local CM needs to be updated with the new
interfaces when a modification of the context sources
occurs.
 Consumer APIs enable an SLO to access context
information through either pull requests or
notification events.

Req. for Network Level Control

API to reconfigure the network in order to
achieve the service goals.
 Local actions: solely performed at a single
network element.


Changing a configuration parameter in the local
network device, setting up a filter to block certain
traffic, changing QoS priorities,...
Global actions: performed in more than one
network location.

Setting up an IP tunnel or changing an OSPF
characteristic in an entire region.
Req. for Network Level Control


To efficiently deliver CASs, allowing code to perform
such action in the network layer presents a serious
security risk: malicious code, code bugs.
Solution: mediator




Abstract the action from the service logic
Deal with the security and safety issues in a unified way.
Handle network-level actions and their atomicity by monitoring
the status and rolling back the operation
Action Mediator



Provide API to the SLOs to realize the necessary functions.
can be implemented by programmable network techniques
A mediator exists in each relevant network node and perform
global action by cooperating among the mediators, where each
one is in charge of the actions in the local device.
Security Considerations
Authorization: CAS get permission to
access a CI
 Authentication: certify CIS’s identity,
ensuring that the information source is
trustworthy.
 Encryption
 Different levels of security: by combining
different security mechanisms

CAS Creation and Management—
System Architecture and Design
Consideration
Figure 6.1 Overall CONTEXT System Architecture.
Consumer
Scripts/Users
Provider
Scripts/Users
Service Layer
High-Level Service APIs
Policy-based
Service
Management
Service
Subscription/
Customization
Server
Service1
Service N
Active Application Network Platform
Low-Level Medium Specific APIs
Context aware
Service Creation
Server
Active Application Layer
IP Layer
Network Element Abstraction
GPRS
Layers considered in CONTEXT
LAN
WLAN
Context System Architecture

3 domains: service layer (SL), Active
Application Layer (AAL), IP domain
 SL: the modeling of the context of services
and the services themselves, and the
required framework for the service creation
and management.
 AAL: with appropriate APIs to control the IP
domain (configuration of routers, QoS
setting,…) allows the actual delivery and
management of CASs: configuring routers to
intercept-specific packet types or to alter
routing, traffic shaping, and QoS settings.
Context System Architecture

ALAN (Application Layer Active
Networking):
Close to the idea of mobile agents
 Divide functionality into AAL and IP
domains  lion’s share of network-related
services beyond packet delivery can be
deployed without affecting the behavior of
IP-packet processing in routers.
 Promote robustness and efficiency (IP
layer remains simpler and faster)

Figure 6.2 Service Layer Architecture
Service Layer Overview

Service Layer:




Modeling of CASs and context information
Creation and management of such CASs
Besides components in Fig. 3.3: additional
components dictated by policy-based management
approach for service management and the DINA active
platform for service execution
Policy Manager: seeing that



The prerequisites of the enforcement of the policies
are fulfilled
The policies are followed in all locations where they
should
Only up-to-date policies are present in the system
Service Layer Overview

Policy Decision-Making component (PDMC)


Evaluating policy (accessing the system state
changes against the policy rules and initiating
suitable reactions)
Action Consumer (AC):
Undertake specific actions under the
instructions of PM (bases its instructions on
the decision of PDMC)
 Code Distributor, Code Execution Controller,
Service Assurance
 The actions may be proactive or reactive

Service Execution Components

Execution environment of CAS


Code storage components :




distributed and based on DINA platform (the active nodes of an IP
network)
For the maintenance of the code base and for the sake of user
and code mobility.
May be a dedicated server or a DINA node
Decision on the storage location belongs to the policies defined
for each service.
Condition evaluator components (CE)



Provide PDMC with the information for evaluating policies.
Each time a new policy is received by PM the relevant CEs must
be configured/activated
Exist in the form of active DINA nodes (nodes’ internal DINA
brokers offer the interface to receive information)
Figure 6.3 Service Layer Components’ Interfaces.
Consumer
Request
CAS Author
Service
Customization
CAS Authoring
Consumer
Request
Consumer
Request
Code and Policies
Generation Engine
CAS
Customizations
System
Capabilities
Code Installation/
Maintenance
Code Distributor
Management
Policies
Trigger
Action
Code Execution
Controller
Code execution
message
Service
Assurance
Proactive
Policies
Code Storage
Reactive/Proactive
Configurations
Code
SLO
DINA Node
Broker I/F
Policy Manager
Actions
Decision
Policies
Policy Decision
Making
Configuration
Assurance
Monitor
Notification
CE
Service Layer Implementation Considerations

CAS Creation, Service Customization, and
Code & Policies Generation Engine are
implemented as stand-alone applications.
Modeling of CAS: XML and XML schema
 GUIs: Java
 Repositories containing CAS info: database
 Information flow between components: SOAP
 Code generation: Java to produce DINAcompatible code
 Produced code: placed into an Apache server
to make it available to the code distributor

Why Policies
Policy: an administrator-specific directive
that manages and provides guidelines for
how the different network and service
elements should behave when certain
conditions are met
 Benefits: improve scalability & flexibility,
simplicity (centralized configuration,
simplified abstraction)
 Policies are predefined in XML


Predefined policies as templates, personalized
by the user’s preferences and context
Objectives of PBMS
Automate management and do it as high
level as possible
 Tailored to different users
 Encompasses the expression and sequent
creation of portions of the logic of CAS
 Manages various aspects of the created
CAS (deployment, invocation, execution,
maintenance, assurance of services)
 Expressed in XML, and personalized by
user subscriptions

PBMS


Characteristics of PBMS
 Open
 Flexible
 Modular
 Scalable
 Distributed
Main functional blocks: code distribution & maintenance,
code execution, service invocation, service assurance
 Technology & policy specific components: Action
Consumers and Condition Evaluators
 CEs may be a set of different components specialized for
particular tasks installed in different points of network.
(e.g., monitoring different performance or quality
parameters, different kinds of invocation signals,..)
Figure 6.4 First Approximation of the Generic Policy-Based Management
System to the CONTEXT Service Lauer Functional Requirements.
Figure 6.5 IST-CONTEXT Policy-Based Service Management Layer
Architecture
Domain-specific Policies

High-level description of policy:


IF (cond. 1) [AND/ OR (cond. N)] THEN (action1) [AND
(action n)]
Just control the service life cycle, never the logic
of the service
 All actions and conditions must be implemented
in different components playing the role of ACs
and CEs
 4 functional domains: service code distribution,
maintenance, invocation & execution, assurance
Domain-specific Policies

service code distribution :




Will be processed when new customized service code
arrives to distribution component.
Drive the deployment process of needed service.
Specify the specific configuration, required resources,
and criteria for optimum storage point selection for the
service.
service code maintenance:


Will be enforced when maintenance event arise: relate
to new service version, service expiration, storage
points resources under desirable margins, high load of
invocation petitions, etc.
The action enforced will be service code removal,
service code update, service code redistribution.
Domain-specific Policies

service code invocation & execution: monitoring of
variables or events that start the execution of a CAS.




I1 abstraction level: raw info. coming from the system services to
SICE (userId, password, raw data measurement)
I2: info. coming from SICE to DM (filtering or mapping I1 level
information)
I3: the info. identifies (a) which customized service(s) to execute,
(b) the initial conditions (run-time arguments), and (c) where to
execute the customized service code determined for execution.
(corresponds to the input parameters required by the action
undertakers (ACs)
Service assurance:



SA initialization policies
SA execution policies
SA finalization policies
Functional overview of SA

Main principles



SA behavior for a certain CAS is controlled directly by
the CAS author through assurance policies 
efficiency
SA design avoids disturbing the CAS with assurance
issues, making assurance as transparent to the CAS
as possible.  flexibility, and allowing configuration at
both deployment time and run time.
Functional decomposition


Service monitoring:
Service management
Figure6.6 CONTEXT Policy-Based Service Management Layer Architecture.
SLO
AS AC
DMC
SOAP to DMC
ASCE
ServiceMonitMeasure
Service Monit
mng xsit
Srv xslt
Sup xsit
XML to console
SLO specific logic
XML monitored data
Local DINA info
Figure6.7 Flow Diagram.
SLO
startMonitoring
ServiceMonitMeasure
AS AC
new
monitor set-up
DMC
new Assurance Message
ASCE
SOAP to DMC
stopMonitoring
ServiceMonit
setSpecific
mng xslt
srvx slt
getAssurance Data
new monitor set-up
sup xslt
throwAlarm
XML to console
SLO specific logic
XML monitored data
Local DINA info
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