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Aura: an Architectural Framework for User Mobility in Ubiquitous Computing Environments

João Sousa and David Garlan.

In Jan Bosch, Morven Gentleman, Christine Hofmeister and Juha Kuusela editors, Software Architecture: System Design, Development, and Maintenance (Proceedings of the 3rd Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture), Pages 29-43, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 25-31 August 2002.

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Ubiquitous computing poses a number of challenges for software architecture. One of the most important is the ability to design software systems that accommodate dynamically-changing resources. Resource variability arises naturally in a ubiquitous computing setting through user mobility (a user moves from one computing environment to another), and through the need to exploit time-varying resources in a given environment (such as wireless bandwidth). Traditional approaches to handling resource variability in applications attempt to address the problem by imposing uniformity on the environment. We argue that those approaches are inadequate, and describe an alternative architectural framework that is better matched to the needs of ubiquitous computing. A key feature of the architecture is that user tasks become first class entities. User proxies, or Auras, use models of user tasks to set up, monitor and adapt computing environments proactively. The architectural framework has been implemented and currently being used as a central component of Project Aura, a campus-wide ubiquitous computing effort.

Keywords: Aura, Software Architecture, Ubiquitous Computing.  
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