In one field of computer research, however, the quest is on to create just such an intermediary to connect a flood of computerized devices with vast networks of data.
Dr. Ali Hurson is among those researchers searching for a “middleware” solution that will make current and future gadgets more useful by connecting them with larger networks.
“Pervasive computing means making computing more involved in the daily life of humans, but in a graceful rather than disruptive fashion,” says Hurson, professor and chair of computer science at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Middleware is the software glue that could connect a wide array of personal devices – from mobile devices to the on-board navigation systems of automobiles – to various networks. Middleware operating with a vehicle’s navigation system could interact with other data systems to let drivers know of nearby filling stations when their cars are low on gas, or communicate with a traffic-control network to suggest alternative routes around traffic jams.
One of Hurson’s latest projects involves designing a more secure system of computers and sensors to improve airport security. His idea of a “pervasively secure infrastructure” for airports – a network of mobile and stationary sensors, cameras and other wired and wireless gadgets that can detect everything from chemical residue on clothing to unusual movements of individuals in the concourses – is one example of how pervasive computing could potentially reduce the risk of terrorist attacks.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, Hurson’s research on airport security envisions an environment in which various sensors – cameras, chemical-sniffing devices, motion sensors – connect into a middleware application that in turn connects to the databases and information networks of law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, the National Security Administration and local police. Much like a middleware agent connecting a driver’s navigation system with traffic-control networks can inform drivers of road construction ahead, Hurson’s airport middleware agent would notify law enforcement of any suspicious behavior in or around an airport.
The middleware would be “running the show” for airport security, helping airport security and police better determine “what is going to help them fulfill their tasks better,” Hurson says.
The middleware concept is still mainly theoretical, but Hurson sees a great future ahead for pervasive computing. For the airport problem, developing a middleware that can act as a go-between for myriad computer networks – and do so securely – is the trick.
Many types of sensors are now designed with the flexibility to adapt them to different uses, Hurson says. Existing sensors that were designed for one specific purpose – to tell you when it’s time for an oil change, to use the car example – could be reprogrammed to perform another task, such as detecting excess heat in the engine. Computer scientists could even create software agents – a sort of benign computer virus – to spread throughout a network and remotely reprogram nodes in one fell swoop.
“These networks have been created in isolation,” Hurson says. “Now we want to establish interoperability to serve future applications.”
Hurson is also interested in creating networks of sensors, each designed for a specific application, to handle a sophisticated network such as an airport security system.
Hurson, who joined Missouri S&T as chair of computer science in January 2008, wants to establish a pervasive computing laboratory at S&T to further this research emphasis.
Andrew Careaga | Newswise Science News
The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau
Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences