UBC Theses and Dissertations
A common model for ubiquitous computing Blackstock, Michael Anthony
Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) is a compelling vision for how people will interact with multiple computer systems in the course of their daily lives. To date, practitioners have created a variety of infrastructures, middleware and toolkits to provide the flexibility, ease of programming and the necessary coordination of distributed software and hardware components in physical spaces. However, to-date no one approach has been adopted as a default or de-facto standard. Consequently the field risks losing momentum as fragmentation occurs. In particular, the goal of ubiquitous deployments may stall as groups deploy and trial incompatible point solutions in specific locations. In their defense, researchers in the field argue that it is too early to standardize and that room is needed to explore specialized domain-specific solutions. In the absence of an agreed upon set of standards, we argue that the community must consider a methodology that allows systems to evolve and specialize, while at the same time allowing the development of portable applications and integrated deployments that work between between sites. To address this we studied the programming models of many commercial and research ubicomp systems. Through this survey we gained an understanding of the shared abstractions required in a core programming model suitable for both application portability and systems integration. Based on this study we designed an extensible core model called the Ubicomp Common Model (UCM) to describe a representative sample of ubiquitous systems to date. The UCM is instantiated in a flexible and extensible platform called the Ubicomp Integration Framework (UIF) to adapt ubicomp systems to this model. Through application development and integration experience with a composite campus environment, we provide strong evidence that this model is adequate for application development and that the complexity of developing adapters to several representative systems is not onerous. The performance overhead introduced by introducing the centralized UIF between applications and an integrated system is reasonable. Through careful analysis and the use of well understood approaches to integration, this thesis demonstrates the value of our methodology that directly leverages the significant contributions of past research in our quest for ubicomp application and systems interoperability.
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