Programming Pervasive Spaces

Dr. Sumi Helal, Ph.D.
Professor and Director

Pervasive and Mobile Computing Laboratory
Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

In principle, the entire world can exploit ubiquitous and pervasive systems to great societal benefits. In practice, however, there is as yet no fundamental basis or widely accepted programming models for such systems. There is also no established curriculum for teaching pervasive and sensor-based computing. In this talk, I will present our ongoing research efforts in defining and supporting programmable pervasive spaces. I will start by presenting our experience and lessons learnt in building "assistive environments" for the elderly, to demonstrate the need for space programmability and to define critical new requirements particular to pervasive spaces. I will then present ATLAS, a middleware architecture and a sensor platform that supports self-integration and enables SODA - a service-oriented programming model. I will show how ATLAS was used as the foundation on which we built and programmed the Gator Tech Smart House, and how it enabled pervasive application development, and scalable data collection and analysis. I will then delineate the limitations of SODA and present programming model extensions that address space and user safety as well as reliability and scalability. Finally, I will present our views of a possible ecosystem within which our programming models and system support can be used to promote the proliferation of programmable and manageable pervasive systems.


Sumi Helal is Professor in the CISE Department at the University of Florida, and Director of its Pervasive and Mobile Computing Laboratory. His active areas of research focus on understanding and enabling cyber-physical computing systems and their human-centric applications. Specifically he and his research team investigate middleware, programming models and methodologies, and scalability issues to define and support the entire lifecycle of pervasive spaces. From 2001-2207, Dr. Helal served as Director of Technology Development of the University of Florida Rehabilitating Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Aging and Independence. He is co-founder and Director of the Gator Tech Smart House, a large ongoing project aiming at creating technological breakthroughs that will allow the Smart Home Concept to be successfully commercialized (creating the "Smart Home in a Box" concept). He is a co-founder and an editorial board member of the IEEE Pervasive Computing magazine. He is also the Editor of the magazine's column on Standards, Tools and Emerging Technologies. He currently serves as Associate Editor in Chief of the IEEE Computer magazine and serves on the editorial board of the IEEE Pervasive Computing magazine. He published extensively and is inventor/co-inventor of 6 issued patents and 10 pending patent applications. He has been a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) since October 2000. Dr. Helal organized over 20 IEEE/ACM conferences as General or Program Chair. In 2009 he was General Chair of the ACM International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing. Dr. Helal earned his B.E. and M.E. degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from Alexandria University, Egypt, in 1982 and 1985 respectively. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Sciences from Purdue University in 1991. Before joining the University of Florida, he held academic and industrial research positions at the University of Texas at Arlington, Purdue University and MCC, in Austin, Texas.