Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Providing Contextual Information to
Pervasive Computing Applications

Glenn Judd, Peter Steenkiste

January 2003

Abridged version published in the
Proceedings of the First IEEEE International Conference
on Pervasive Computing and Communications,

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, March 2003.

Keywords: Pervasive computing, context-aware

Pervasive computing applications are increasingly leveraging contextual information from several sources to provide users with behavior appropriate to the environment in which they reside. If these sources of contextual information are used and deployed in an ad hoc manner, however, they may provide overlapping functionality, fail to provide needed functionality, and require the use of inconsistent interfaces by applications. To overcome these problems, we introduce a Contextual Information Service that provides applications with contextual information via a virtual database. Unlike previous efforts, our service provides applications a consistent, lightweight, and powerful mechanism for obtaining contextual information, and includes explicit support for the on demand computation of contextual information. We show, via example applications and a Contextual In-formation Service prototype that we have implemented, how this approach can be used to allow proactive applications to adapt their behavior to match a user s current environment.

25 pages

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