Thesis of Zied ABID

The thesis will be defended by Zied ABID on Friday 21st of December, 2012.

Subject: Management of the quality of context for ambient intelligence

The thesis will be defended on Friday 21st of December, 2012 at 1.30 PM in Télécom SudParis, 9 rue Charles Fourier, 91000 Evry, room A001 with the board:

Hervé Martin, Professeur, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble 1 ,  Reporter
Philippe Roose, Maître de conférences (HDR), Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour,  Reporter
Antoine Beugnard, Professeur, Télécom Bretagne, Examiner
Guy Bernard, Professeur Émérite, Télécom SudParis, Thesis Director
Sophie Chabridon, Maître de conférences, Télécom SudParis, Supervisor


Context-aware computing aims to reduce the amount of explicit information required from a  user for a system to perform a task. This is particularly true in the recent domain of ambient intelligence where everyday life objects are able to trigger an action or a spontaneous information exchange, without any interaction with the user. Technical advances in wireless communication, personal mobile devices, sensors and embedded software make context-aware services possible, but concrete applications are still very limited. The solutions proposed in the literature decompose context management into four functions : acquisition, interpretation, situation detection and application adaptation. The differentiating element in these proposals is the quality of the high-level context information obtained by inference and characterising the situation of the user. The limits of these solutions are the difficulty for composing context information, scalability in terms of the quantity of context information and of the number of client applications, the absence of guarantee on the consistency of context information and the lack of middleware solutions able to free the designer of context-aware applications from the management of context data.
In this thesis, we are interested in the management of the quality of context information (QoC) in an ambient environment. There are several key issues in QoC management : choosing the adequate method for context management, extracting the quality associated to the context, analysing and interpreting the quality of the context with regard to the requirements of context-aware applications. We propose to answer these questions by integrating QoC management into the COSMOS context management framework developed by the MARGE team of Télécom SudParis. For this purpose, we have designed the necessary components dedicated to QoC management and we have implemented the mechanisms allowing a fine-grain manipulation of the QoC together with a limitation of the associated overhead. We also propose a design process based on model-driven engineering in order to automatically generate the elements responsible of QoC management. We validate our contributions through the development of two prototype applications running on mobile phones : a Flash sale offer application to be used in malls and a location detection application proposed to the students of a campus. The performance tests we have conducted allow to compare the results obtained with and without taking into account the QoC and show the low overhead associated to QoC management with regard to the benefits brought to context-aware applications and services.
KEYWORDS: ambient intelligence, context, quality of context, middleware.