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The rise of the digital information age to the zettabyte-storage and terabit-communication level has made exploring attention scarcity and the relationship between attention and behavior the critical element in designing today's pervasive computing systems. Researchers and practitioners are challenged to build on attention research and the diverse theories and models it has produced to address issues of information and sensory overload. Ultimately, we must create a bridge between the fundamental results from specific attentional processes, created by research work in psychology and neuroscience, and the endeavors to apply these results to HCI in general and pervasive computing in particular. This department is part of a special issue on managing attention.