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Renuka Warriar erenuka at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 02:32:52 EDT 2010

The Hindu: Home » S & T »
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Soon, software systems that can sense user's activity
Washington, June 24, 2010
Caption:A computer user at work. File Photo: H. Vibhu

A Pakistani computer science researcher at the University of
Leicester, UK, has looked at the prospects of a technique which could
sense the activity of the user with the help of computer software

Kamran Taj Pathan’s doctoral study aims to deliver the systems which
change according to the situation of the user by using Software
Sensors that scan the context of the user.

Pathan said: “To facilitate the user with the change of environment
computer systems need to be aware of the user’s profile, location,
time and activity, to fulfil the user’s own needs in the current

“Ubiquitous computing refers to the invisible integration of devices
into everyday life (Weiser, 1988). One of the fields of ubiquitous
computing is context-aware systems which promises to capture the
user’s needs and hence the requirements they have on systems. With the
mobility of devices this field is becoming more popular”.

Currently, activity -- i.e. what a user is doing -- is relevant
information traditionally gathered by use of hardware sensors (e.g.
tracking devices).

The research aims to lessen the burden from the hardware sensors which
may be more expensive and will take time to install.

Pathan said: “Consider a scenario where a student wants to meet with
his supervisor according to a scheduled meeting at 9am in the office.
On the day he has come to know, through the system, that the
supervisor could not attend due to adverse weather.

“With the use of software, the system can obtain the information
virtually by a user’s own profile and surrounding systems and can
infer the activity by applying rules onto it”.

Pathan added: “This will not only help an individual to get the system
to behave according to his current needs but will also be useful for
Private and Public Organizations (such as Law Enforcement Agencies,
Education, Travel, Shopping Centers and Banks etc.) who depend on
Collaborative Working Environments to support their users with system
that make the computer more ubiquitous”.

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