Thematic Group 1: Pervasive Computing and Communications

by Alois Ferscha

The vision impacting the evolution of Pervasive Computing and Communications is that of an intuitive, unobtrusive and distraction-free interaction with technology-rich environments. In an attempt to bring interaction 'back to the real world' after an era of keyboard and screen interaction, computers are being understood as secondary artefacts, embedded and operating in the background, whereas the set of all physical objects present in the environment are understood as the primary artefacts, the 'interface'. Instead of interacting with digital information via traditional computing means, Pervasive Computing aims at physical interaction with digital information, ie, interaction by manipulating physical artefacts via 'graspable' interfaces. It links the 'atoms of the physical world' with the 'bits of the digital world' in such a way, that every physical artefact is considered as being both representation of and control for digital information.

The challenges of Pervasive Computing are dominated by the ubiquity of a vast manifold of heterogeneous, small, embedded and possibly mobile artefacts, the evolvability of their population, functionalities and interoperation, the ability of perceiving and interpreting their situation, the autonomicity of their goal-oriented behaviour, the dynamicity and context-adaptation of services offered, the ad-hoc interoperability of services and the different modes of interaction of people with these devices and the services they offer (see Figure).

Pervasive Computing - state of the art.
Pervasive Computing - state of the art.

Proposed Research Themes
In order to address the above, experts participating in TG1 agreed to structure the final research agenda along the following three visionary challenges: 'Networked Societies of Artefacts', 'Evolve-able Systems', and 'Human Computer Confluence'.

The key technical problems and milestones that must be solved towards achieving this vision are summarised as follows:

1. Networked Societies of Artefacts

2. Evolve-able Systems

3. Human Computer Confluence

Participate in the online consultation of this report from 1 February to 31 March 2006 at

TG1 Coordinator:
Alois Ferscha, University of Linz, Austria