IBM/UCB Pervasive Computing Meeting 1-9-99
The single overriding message from the meeting was that the collaboration
between UCB and IBM around pervasive computing is proving to be extremely
effective. It is important. It is in the direction in which
new research activities are emerging. It is capturing the imagination
of many of the participants and opening up new opens. And, the seed
activities started last June have proved very valuable for stimulating
The organization of the meeting was structured to build from direct
hands-on interations with students and their initial research projects,
followed by more focused faculty and graduate student presentations, followed
by discussion on how to continue further advance the collaboration.
The collaboration initiated last June has proved to be very successful
- far beyond expectations. At that meeting we asserted that it we
wanted to change the culture at Berkeley, not just start a new research
project. Although we desired to put small, connected devices in the
hands of all researchers in the department, we recognized that the infrastructure
would not yet exist to support that successfully. Instead, we elected
to seed 150 workpads (along with the 50 or so PalmPilots) into selected
subsets of the the research community to start creating that infrastructure.
This included the researchers involved in the Ninja and Iceberg projects,
which are building a new platform architecture for services that provide
intelligence in the infrastructure to support small devices, as well as
Millennium, which provides the testbed. James Landay ran an experimental
version of the User Interface design class (cs 160) with 60 students all
working directly with new interfaces for small devices. This also
seeded a number of talented undergraduate. In October, we held a
kick off seminar to initiate the discussion of what the Post-PC era might
bring and what the core research challenges might be. At that we
provided workpads to all of the first year CS graduate students.
About 20 additional students joined in with their own ideas. Research
was conducted as term projects in at least four graduate courses, including
operating systems, computer architecture, and network security. Many
of these were excellent - and several of these were featured in the meeting.
In addition, the effort has created common ground for several important
research projects, including NINJA, IRAM, and MASH. It also altered
the strategic plan for the department, with most of the critical areas
of hiring taking on a pervasive computing flavor. This activity culminated
in a major proposal to DARPA, comprising 14 faculty members and a 21M$
budget, to lay out the direction of experimental systems into the 21st
century. (A draft of this was provided at the meeting.)
The presentations and projects are available at the agenda
Several action items emerged, listed here from concrete to broad.
As one of the first steps in implementing these ideas, a group of Berkeley
faculty/students will come visit IBM Research
David Culler will work with Paul Gray and Jean-Paul Jacob to map out how
to utilize next year's SUR support to further advance this activity.
(Immediately following the IBM meeting the ISRG retreat established several
of the requirements, which included using at least two devices - one more
powerful than the workpad - connectivity options.) Landay's research
is posed to harness new crosspads directly. We both need to utilize
current, cost-effective devices to build community and assemble prototype
of future devices. Both will need connectivity and infrastructure.
A collaboration will be established between the Ninja project and the T-spaces
effort at Almaden. We will transfer technology both directions and
determine how we might collaborate on further research (including Toby
Lehman and Michelle Munson from IBM )
A berkeley team will do the reverse visit to Hawthorn to learn what IBMs
directions, accomplishments, and potential devices and interconnect might
be. This is hope to yield a broader, higher-level framework for collaboration.
Berkeley will continue building out its pervasive computing infrastructure,
with at least one service moving into production use by end of semester
and a working connectivty open in key areas of the building.
Futhermore, we to build a simulation environment and debugging environment
to greatly enhance productivity in building applications.
Make Berkeley a beta-test site of new and emerging IBM technology - HW
and SW. ( Paul Gray liked specially the idea of testing replacements or
place-holders for Bluetooth-type technology.)
Making Berkeley a "customer" in a FOAK-type study, ie, creating a large
experimental Pervasive Computing space in Soda Hall and test technologies,
conduct experiments, etc.
Having Berkeley join one of IBM's First of a kind (FOAK) studies with customers
(making it a multi-way FOAK) as in, for example, a current study with a
supermarket chain in the UK. This will probably hit strong walls
of resistance from lawyers and the customer who wants to protect the data
and traces of systems usage
Farm out development projects to Berkeley, taking advantage of Berkeley's
unique set of skills and environment.
IBM to create a small research facility near Berkeley to jointly do R&D
with Berkeley. This idea was labeled "get people closer to Berkeley"
facilities: Almaden and Hawthorne. Jean Paul will host/organize the
Almaden visit. Brent Hailpern will organize and host the Hawthorne
David Culler and Eric Brewer are to run a more formal design seminar
in post-PC systems, providing a catalyst and source of vision for the post-PC
bazaar emerging at Berkeley. Dave Patterson is organizing a faculty
friday "great thoughts" meeting.