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Implementing a Sentient Computing System
August 2001 (vol. 34 no. 8)
pp. 50-56

Sentient computing systems, which can change their behavior based on a model of the environment they construct using sensor data, may hold the key to managing tomorrow's device-rich mobile networks.

As computer users become increasingly mobile and the diversity of devices with which they interact increases, the authors note that the overhead of configuring and personalizing these systems must also increase. A natural solution to this problem involves creating devices and applications that appear to cooperate with users, reacting as though they are aware of the context and manner in which they are being used, and recon-figuring themselves appropriately.

At AT&T Laboratories Cambridge, the authors built a system that uses sensors to update a model of the real world. The model describes the world much as users themselves would, and they can use it to write programs that react to changes in the environment according to their preferences. The authors call their approach sentient computing because the applications appear to share the user's perception of the environment. Sentient computing systems create applications that appear to perceive the world, making it easy to configure and personalize networked devices in ways that users can easily understand.

But sentient computing offers more than a solution to the problems of con-figuration and personalization. When people interact with computer systems in this way, the environment itself becomes the user interface--a natural goal for human-computer interaction.

Citation:
Mike Addlesee, Rupert Curwen, Steve Hodges, Joe Newman, Pete Steggles, Andy Ward, Andy Hopper, "Implementing a Sentient Computing System," Computer, vol. 34, no. 8, pp. 50-56, Aug. 2001, doi:10.1109/2.940013
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