Adaptive and Trusted Ambient Ecologies

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 216837.

Project summary

The aim of ATRACO project is to contribute to the realization of trusted ambient ecologies. Interactive appliances, collaborative devices, and context aware artefacts, as well as models, services, software components are parts of ambient ecologies. A context-aware artefact, appliance or device uses sensors to perceive its context of operation and applies an ontology to interpret this context. It also uses internal trust models and fuzzy decision making mechanisms to adapt its operation to changing context. Finally, it employs adaptive dialogue models to communicate its state and interact with people.

Ambient ecologies form the infrastructure that supports user activities. In ATRACO project, each activity is modelled as a “bubble” using finite resources to achieve the goals of its owner and having clearly marked borders, which realize the privacy requirements. The user tasks that compose an activity are supported by an ad-hoc orchestration of ubiquitous computing services, which are manifested via an ecology of smart artefacts. The bubble adapts to different contexts by re-negotiating its borders, adopting suitable interaction modes and employing resource management models. In ATRACO project, adaptation will be researched in terms of artefact operation, ecology composition, network election and man-machine interaction with respect to user context and behavior.

The overall objective of ATRACO project is to lay the foundations for the evelopment of a new range of components, architectures and guidelines that underpins the development of ambient ecologies. More specifically, the project will:

  1. Develop a conceptual framework for ambient ecologies of devices and services. This framework will consist of a set of concepts implemented as a core ontology, a description of capabilities implemented as a hierarchy of basic and higher level behaviors and a novel interaction metaphor.

  2. Research on adaptation mechanisms aimed at understanding how the properties of self-configuration, self-optimization, self-maintenance and robustness arise from or depend on the behaviors, goals, and adaptivity of individual artefacts, the interactions among them and the context of application.

  3. Research on heterogeneity by developing and testing theories of ontology alignment to achieve task based semantic integration of heterogeneous devices and services.

  4. Design a service-oriented ambient ecology architecture and develop or adapt the necessary components to realize its services. Also, where necessary, the project will develop APIs to interface with existing hardware modules and communication protocols, ontology modules, decision making mechanisms, negotiation and learning mechanisms, trust policies and privacy enforcement mechanisms and compose-able interaction components.

  5. Develop a testbed application, which will be deployed in the iDorm-2 and the campus at the University of Essex and use simulated conditions to research the scalability of the ambient ecologies approach.

The ATRACO project will constitute a decisive step towards the full realisation of ambient intelligent pervasive environments which are occupied by multiple users and support multiple activities over changing context. The expected impact of the project is:

  • To provide an integrated approach in modelling the adaptation requirements of user activities taking place in Ambient Intelligence spaces;

  • To deliver open source software components that support semantic alignment, service composition, dialogue specification and trust and privacy management;

  • To evaluate user acceptance of technology by deploying system prototypes in real world settings.