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Middleware for pervasive devices



Overview

We do research and development on a new information system that provides the best performance and usability, that is, "anytime, anywhere," in a wide variety of communication environments.

Research items

Handheld devices, such as a PDA and a smartphone, have been widely used. They are strongly promising as candidates for network terminals.

Handheld devices intrinsically have interesting technical features as follows.

  1. They are not constantly but intermittently connected to the network. Therefore, they cannot run any applications that require the constant network connection. The applications running on such devices have to have database and file systems, which can work independently to the server.
  2. Since they do not have ample data-input capability, they can hardly put up the database by themselves. For example, users will not make an address book only for those handheld devices. Thus, they perform data uploading and downloading while the device is connected to the network, or individually use the data while the device is not connected to the network. This operation obviously needs the database synchronization, which is realized by exchanging the updated part of the data.
  3. They cannot have substantial amount of memory because of the restrictions of the size, cost, and power dissipation. For this reason, the system software must be compact and accommodate the momentary disconnection of the network as well as the packet loss.

Even in such communication environment, we have to provide good performance and usability for the users. Therefore it is essential for the environment to have a compact but highly-functional system software that manages the communication and database. This project is aiming at the highly-functional system software, which realizes an "anytime anywhere" information system.

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Last modified 30 June 1998