Alois Ferscha, Associate Professor
was with the Department of Applied Computer Science at the University of Vienna at the levels of assistant and associate professor (1986-1999). In 2000 he joined the University of Linz as full professor where he heads the Excellence Initiative “Pervasive Computing”, the department of Pervasive Computing, the Research Studio Pervasive Computing Applications and RIPE (Research Institute of Pervasive Computing).
Currently he is focused on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing, Networked Embedded Systems, Embedded Software Systems, Wireless Communication, Multiuser Cooperation, Distributed Interaction and Distributed Interactive Simulation. He has lead international EU funded projects (EU FP7, FET: SAPERE, HC2, PANORAMA, SOCIONICAL, OPPORTUNITY; EU FP6, FET: BeyondTheHorizon, InterLink, CRUISE), but also national projects (DISPLAYS, SPECTACLES, PowerSaver, WirelessCampus, MobiLearn) research, and holds tight cooperation with industrial stakeholders (SIEMENS Project FACT, IBM Project VRIO). SPECTACLES (Autonomous Wearable Display Systems) in cooperation with Silhouette International, INSTAR (Information and Navigation Systems Through Augmented Reality) (2001-2003), Siemens München, AG, CT-SE-1, BISANTE, EU/IST, Broadband Integrated Satellite Network Traffic Evaluation (1999-2001), Peer-to-Peer Coordination (2001– ), Siemens München, AG, CT-SE-2, Context Framework for Mobile User Applications (2001– ), Siemens München, AG, CT-SE-2, WebWall, Communication via Public Community Displays, Connect Austria (2001-2002), VRIO, Virtual Reality I/O, with GUP JKU, IBM Upper Austria (2002-2003), MobiLearn, Computer Science Any-Time Any-Where, (2002-2004), Mobile Sports Community Services, (SMS Real Time Notification at Vienna City Marathon 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002; Berlin Marathon 2000, 2001, 2002), etc. Ferscha has published more than 150 technical papers on topics related to pervasive and distributed computing.
He has served on editorial boards of renowned international scientific journals (e.g. Pervasive and Mobile Computing (Elsevier), Transactions of the Society for Computer Simulation), on steering and programme committees of several conferences like PERVASIVE, UMBICOMP, ISWC, WWW, PADS, DIS-RT, SIGMETRICS, MASCOTS, MSWiM, MobiWac, TOOLS, Euro-Par, PNPM, ICS, etc. to name a few. His activities and recognition in the Pervasive Computing and Wearable Computing research communities is expressed by e.g. his chairing PERVASIVE 2004 (Programme Chair), and ISWC’09 (General Chair). In the parallel and distributed simulation community he e.g. served as the General Chair of the IEEE/ACM/SCS 11th Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Simulation (PADS’97), as Program Committee chair for the PADS’98, Program Chair for the Seventh International Symposium on Modeling, Analysis and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems (MASCOTS’99), and recently the 12-th IEEE International Symposium on Distributed Simulation and Real Time Applications (DS-RT 2008).
Alois Ferscha is an active consultant to the IST FET group within the Commission of the European Communities, Information Society and Media Directorate-General, and to the Austrian bm-wf and bm-vit. He is Austria’s representative in IFIP TC-10 (International Federation for Information Processing, TC10 - Computer Systems Technology).
As an invited researcher or guest professor he was visiting the Dipartimento di Informatica, Universita di Torino, Italy, at the Dipartimento di Informatica, Universita di Genoa, Italy, at the Computer Science Department, University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, Maryland, U.S.A., and at the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.
Alois Ferscha is member of the OCG, GI, ACM, IEEE and holds the Heinz-Zemanek Award for distinguished contributions in computer science, the Cross Border Award 2009 and the “Innovationspreis 2009”.
Pervasive Computing: What Next?
Trends in (i) miniaturizing of technology (modern microelectronics, system-on-chip technologies, ultra compact memory systems, Micromechanics, Nanodevices) and (ii) exponential growth and globalization of communication infrastructures have opened an unexpectedly wide terrain for ICT research in general, and Pervasive Computing in particular.
The first generation of ICT aiming towards autonomic systems and their adaptation was driven by the availability of technology to connect literally everything to everything. Networks of ICT systems emerged, forming communication clouds of miniaturized, cheap, fast, powerful, wirelessly connected, “always on” systems, enabled by the massive availability of miniaturized computing, storage, communication, and embedded systems technologies. Special purpose computing and information appliances, ready to spontaneously communicate with one another, sensor-actuator systems to invert the roles of interaction from human to machine (implicit interaction), and organism like capabilities (self-configuration, self-healing, self-optimizing, self-protecting) characterize the ICT in this generation.
The second generation of autonomic ICT inherited from upcoming context recognition and knowledge processing technologies, e.g. Situation Aware, Self-Aware, Context-Aware, Energy-Aware, etc., reframing autonomy to be based on knowledge, extracted from low level sensor data captured in a particular situation or over long periods of time. One result out of this course of research are autonomic elements, able to capture context, to build up, represent and carry knowledge, to self-describe, -manage, and –organize with respect to the environment, and to exhibit behaviour grounded on “knowledge based” monitoring, analyzing, planning and executing were proposed, shaping ecologies of ICT systems, built from collective autonomic elements interacting in spontaneous spatial/temporal contexts, based on proximity, priority, privileges, capabilities, interests, offerings, environmental conditions, etc.
Finally, a third generation of autonomic ICT is approaching, building upon connectedness and awareness, and attempting to exploit the (ontological) semantics of systems, services and interactions (i.e. giving meaning to situations and actions). Such systems are often referred to as highly complex, orchestrated, cooperative and coordinated “Ensembles of Digital Artefacts” (FP7 FET). Ensembles of digital artefacts as compounds of huge numbers of possibly heterogeneous entities constitute a future generation ICT to which we refer to as Sociotechnical Fabric, since they pose challenges both in the technological as well as in the societal dimension.
The talk, after this retrospective and prospect, will reflect on emerging research challenges in Pervasive Computing.