Coordination in cooltown: a content-oriented approach to nomadic computing
In a "pervasive" or "ubiquitous" computing environment, microprocessors and
thus software components are embedded in many everyday objects. Users
carrying portable devices such as personal digital assistants are able to
access those objects: the users' devices and the resources in the
environment are networked, typically wirelessly. Moreover, even simple,
non-electronic objects such as books and supermarket products are
increasingly being augmented with virtual resources such as web pages,
resources that can be accessed by physically identifying the objects. In
short, the average number of networked resources per cubic metre is rising,
and those resources are becoming accessible in hitherto unexploited places
A fundamental problem is that of how to manage interactions between these
myriad handheld and environmental resources so that they fall under a scope
that is appropriate for applications. That scope should also be of
reasonable size so as not to overload our systems. In particular, those are
issues for nomadic users, who want to set up associations between their
portable devices and the resources in their environment.
In my talk, I shall discuss the challenges and opportunities of being able
to associate and coordinate resources. I shall describe HP's cooltown
project, which is tackling those problems. In particular, I shall describe
a 'content-oriented' -- as opposed to object-oriented -- approach to this
type of computing. The content-oriented approach is embodied in the Web and
I shall deal with the question of how the Web's success can be translated
into the design of systems for nomadic users.
Tim Kindberg is a senior researcher at HP labs in Palo Alto, where he is a
member of the cooltown project. He was formerly a senior lecturer in
Computer Science at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.
He has a long-standing interest in distributed systems (he is co-author of
'Distributed Systems -- concepts and design') and, more recently, systems
for supporting nomadic and collaborating users. He holds a PhD in Computer
Science from the University of Westminster and a B.A. in Mathematics from
the University of Cambridge.