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Many "ubiquitous computing" applications need a constant flow of information about their environment to be able to adapt to their changing context. To support these "context-aware" applications we propose a graph-based abstraction for collecting, aggregating, and disseminating context information. The abstraction models context information as events, produced by sources and flowing through a directed acyclic graph of event-processing operators, then delivered to subscribing applications. Applications describe their desired event stream as a tree of operators that aggregate low level context information published by existing sources into the high-level context information needed by the application. The operator graph is thus the dynamic combination of all applications' subscription trees. We motivate and describe our graph abstraction, and discuss a variety of critical design issues. We also sketch our Solar system, an implementation that represents one point in the design space for our graph abstraction, and present the specific choices made by Solar and how its future evolution will be guided by the design discussion.
Date of Conference: 2002