15.267 request for comments: Ubiquitous Computing...

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Sat Sep 29 2001 - 05:55:36 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 267.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001 10:33:35 +0100
             From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
             Subject: Ubiquitous Computing and Telecooperation Research

    [The following is a first draft toward an essay, to which the contributor
    would appreciate reactions. --WM]

                Challenges to Invisible Computing (Computing as a
                     performance Art in the Invisible Context)
                             Arun Kumar Tripathi
                              Research Assistant
                    Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany

    ...We all know that computers are complex beasts. But for all of their internal complexity, computers are just as complicated in their embedding in the outside world. Yet the complexity of this embedding is largely invisible to the people who design computers, and to people who make a living promoting their use.. (Philip Agre, First-World Myopia[1])

    ...And it is possible that computers might have the power to change us even when we engage with them unconsciously, as when we relate to a tool through the performance of a skill like driving or typing.. (Peter Lyman, Computing As Performance Art, Educom Review: Volume 30, No.4 [2])

    Abstract --------- Recently, I read an article on the Challenges to Invisible Computing in the November 2000 issue of COMPUTER. In this essay, we will try to elaborate the challenges and simplify them, that can be visible in the research of invisible computing. First of all, we will discuss the issue of what invisible computing is and what not? We will try to refine the issues of invisible computing. What are the impacts of this kind of computing in our society? What are the embedded computers and how they are closely affected with human beings?

    v.Making Computers ubiquitous is not enough; we should also strive to make them invisible. But, in doing so, we will face many research challenges. (Gaetano Borriello, The Challenges to Invisible Computing in COMPUTER, Nov. 2000)

    What is Ubiquitous Computing (UC)? Computers are everywhere. Information is everywhere, nowhere, immaterial, abstract and ubiquitous. In her forthcoming book, The God in the Machine: Why We Need Computers to Become Human Janet Murray (leading information design specialist) discussed the question of How do we design for digital media so that we can turn an increase in information into an advance in human knowledge?

    Ubiquitous computing, in the words of inventor, late Mark Weiser (father of Ubiquitous Computing), names the third wave in computing, just now beginning. First, were shared mainframe computers, and now in the personal computing era, person and machine starting uneasily at each other across the desktop. Next comes the era of ubiquitous computing or the age of calm technology (better say, it has already arrived) calm technology meant to be working in the background of a human beings and try to help and support their lives, is also called as Invisible Computing or Invisible Computer at work. Alan C. Kay, Vice President for research and development at the Walt Disney Company calls this as Third Paradigm computing. The first wave of computing from 1940 to about 1980, was dominated by many people serving one computer. The second wave still peaking has one person and one computer in an uneasy symbiosis, staring at each other across the desktop without really inhabiting each others worlds. And, the third wave, just beginning, just coming up, has many computers serving each person everywhere in the world. This is called as Invisible Computing.

    Some main points related to UC: Not just laptops? 24-hour access to Computer and Internet Infrastructure Mobility: any place/any time Personal Student/Computer relationship Comprehensive e-services Access to quality support

    UC can also be defined as an art of technology transparency or tangible computing.

    As, in the words of Bill Buxton (1998)..Rather than turning inward to an artificial world, ubiquitous media encourages us to look outward. It expands our perception and interaction in the physical world..

    What Ubiquitous Computing Isnt? Ubiquitous Computing is roughly the opposite of virtual reality, Where virtual reality puts people inside a computer-generated three dimensional world, Ubiquitous computing forces the computer to live out here in the world, make connections with people. VR is primarily a horse power problem: whereas ubiquitous computing is a difficult integration of human factors, components of computer science, engineering, and social sciences.

    Early work in UC (How comes it?) The initial incarnation of ubiquitous computing was in the form of tabs, pads, and boards, built at Xerox PARC, 1988-1994. Recently, ubiquitous computing kick off the recent boom in the areas of mobile computing research, although it is not the same thing as mobile computing, neither a superset nor a subset. UC has roots in many aspects of computing. The current mode of computing, was articulated by Mark Weiser in 1988 at the Computer Science Lab at Xerox PARC.

    Mark Weiser described the UC in two forms:

    a. The social scientists, philosophers, and anthropologists at PARC, have envisioned the computing and networking. Activate the world.

    b. For past nearly 30 years interface design and computer design has gone through some dramatic development. The only highest ideal of the development is to make computer so interesting, so wonderful, that we have never want to be without it.

    In b. form, Mark Weiser had seen a less-traveled path he called the invisible, and he called the computers embedded in the background of humans as Ubiquitous Computing. So, he was the first computer scientist to vision the era of UC.

    Gradually, the people at PARC evolved to action for Ubiquitous Computing research. Weiser also thought and realized that working on technologies that evoke the suspicion of people therefore he defined the Principles of Inventing Socially Dangerous Technology as

    I. Build it as safe as you can, and build into it all the safeguards to personal values that you can imagine.

    II. Tell the world at large that you are doing something dangerous.

    Mobile Computing is a new term which is obtaining a growing Importance in the field of computer science. When someone hear the term, then it is not easy to recall its meaning, because is not obvious. Literally, Mobile Computing combines the two parts, Mobility and Computing. Mobility alone does neither specify who or what is mobile nor what kind of mobility is supplied. Analogously, computing can express different activities involving computers with different levels of complexity ranging from arithmetic calculations to word processing or information retrieval.

    Telecooperation Research Group ---------------------------------

    Information are everywhere and nowhere. Computers are the language machines and everywhere.

    Telecooperation is the new wave of technology an application of information and communication technologies used by individuals and organizations to enhance communications and access to the ubiquitous information. Perceiving the several components of Telecooperation, it needs new computing skills because there is a shortage of computing skills in systemic thinking, problem-solving, communicating, teaming with and assessing schedule, cost, risk, and potential impediments. Telecooperation enhances the works in the organizations, universities and corporate firms. It uses the skills and techniques of Third Wave computing, known as Ubiquitous Computing (UC)the other form of UC could be known as The Invisible Computing, which includes several challenges.

    Individuals who learn and apply the skills of telecooperation gain new leverage, both by having a wider network of "useful connections" and by having better access to timely information. Organizations that successfully apply telecooperation methodologies can enhance customer requirements and supplier communications, dramatically reduce costs, and increase the standing in the community and their influence with policy makers.

    Telecooperation is an outstanding example for the power of enabling technologies. It stands for the fusion of computer science, telecommunication and multimedia to carry out a cooperative process among organizations and individuals by having better access to timely information over a distance between two or more locations. This can be achieved by means of information, communication and new-media technologies. It comprises procedural and collaborative modes of task and its focus lies on the cooperation in the broader sense. It is concerned with a series of issues ranging from particular application domains such as the global office, innovative services, telework, telemedicine, telelearning and education, to the tools for communication and cooperation.

    During the recent times, Electronic Commerce become the main beneficiary of telecooperation methodologies with an exponential progress prompted by the fast spreading of the Web.

    A book on Telecooperation -------------------------- Reichwald, R.; Mslein, K.; Sachenbacher, H.; Englberger, H.; Oldenburg, S., Telekooperation: Verteilte Arbeits- und Organisationsformen, ISBN 3-540-62013-3, Springer-Verlag, Berlin et al. 1998, 331 Seiten, DM 78,00 Telekooperation bezeichnet nach Aussage der Autoren "die mediengesttzte arbeitsteilige Leistungserstellung zwischen verteilten Aufgabentrgern, Organisationseinheiten und/oder Organisationen." --

    Comments are appreciated..

    Thank you With kind regards Arun

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