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An Architecture for Personal Cognitive Assistance

David Garlan and Bradley Schmerl.

In 18th International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, San Francisco Bay, USA, 5-7 July 2006.

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Current desktop environments provide weak support for carrying out complex user-oriented tasks. Although individual applications are becoming increasingly sophisticated and featurerich, users must map their high-level goals to the low-level operational vocabulary of applications, and deal with a myriad of routine tasks (such as keeping up with email, keeping calendars and web sites up-to-date, etc.). An alternative vision is that of a personal cognitive assistant. Like a good secretary, such an assistant would help users accomplish their high-level goals, coordinating the use of multiple applications, automatically handling routine tasks, and, most importantly, adapting to the individual needs of a user over time. In this paper we describe the architecture and its implementation for a personal cognitive assistant called RADAR. Key features include (a) extensibility through the use of a plug-in agent architecture (b) transparent integration with legacy applications and data of today?s desktop environments, and (c) extensive use of learning so that the environment adapts to the individual user over time.

Keywords: Personal Assistance, RADAR, Software Architecture.  
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