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Context-driven methodologies for context-aware and adaptive systems

Sama, M.; (2011) Context-driven methodologies for context-aware and adaptive systems. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Applications which are both context-aware and adapting, enhance users’ experience by anticipating their need in relation with their environment and adapt their behavior according to environmental changes. Being by definition both context-aware and adaptive these applications suffer both from faults related to their context-awareness and to their adaptive nature plus from a novel variety of faults originated by the combination of the two. This research work analyzes, classifies, detects, and reports faults belonging to this novel class aiming to improve the robustness of these Context-Aware Adaptive Applications (CAAAs). To better understand the peculiar dynamics driving the CAAAs adaptation mechanism a general high-level architectural model has been designed. This architectural model clearly depicts the stream of information coming from sensors and being computed all the way to the adaptation mechanism. The model identifies a stack of common components representing increasing abstractions of the context and their general interconnections. Known faults involving context data can be re-examined according to this architecture and can be classified in terms of the component in which they are happening and in terms of their abstraction from the environment. Resulting from this classification is a CAAA-oriented fault taxonomy. Our architectural model also underlines that there is a common evolutionary path for CAAAs and shows the importance of the adaptation logic. Indeed most of the adaptation failures are caused by invalid interpretations of the context by the adaptation logic. To prevent such faults we defined a model, the Adaptation Finite-State Machine (A-FSM), describing how the application adapts in response to changes in the context. The A-FSM model is a powerful instrument which allows developers to focus in those context-aware and adaptive aspects in which faults reside. In this model we have identified a set of patterns of faults representing the most common faults in this application domain. Such faults are represented as violation of given properties in the A-FSM. We have created four techniques to detect such faults. Our proposed algorithms are based on three different technologies: enumerative, symbolic and goal planning. Such techniques compensate each other. We have evaluated them by comparing them to each other using both crafted models and models extracted from existing commercial and free applications. In the evaluation we observe the validity, the readability of the reported faults, the scalability and their behavior in limited memory environments. We conclude this Thesis by suggesting possible extensions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Context-driven methodologies for context-aware and adaptive systems
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1322993
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