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Overall Objectives

Given the prevalence of global networking and computing infrastructures (such as the Internet and the Cloud), mobile networking environments, powerful hand-held user devices, and physical-world sensing and actuation devices, the possibilities of new mobile distributed systems have reached unprecedented levels. Such systems are dynamically composed of networked resources in the environment, which may span from the immediate neighborhood of the users – as advocated by pervasive computing – up to the entire globe – as envisioned by the Future Internet and one of its major constituents, the Internet of Things. Hence, we can now talk about truly ubiquitous computing.

The resulting ubiquitous systems have a number of unique – individually or in their combination – features, such as dynamicity due to volatile resources and user mobility, heterogeneity due to constituent resources developed and run independently, and context-dependence due to the highly changing characteristics of the execution environment, whether technical, physical or social. The latter two aspects are particularly manifested through the physical but also social sensing and actuation capabilities of mobile devices and their users. More specifically, leveraging the massive adoption of smart phones and other user-controlled mobile devices, besides physical sensing – where a device's sensor passively reports the sensed phenomena – social sensing/crowd sensing comes into play, where the user is aware of and indeed aids in the sensing of the environment.

Mobile systems with the above specifics further push certain problems related to the Internet and user experience to their extreme: (i) Technology is too complex. Most Internet users are not tech-savvy and hence cannot fix performance problems and anomalous network behavior by themselves. The complexity of most Internet applications makes it hard even for networking experts to fully diagnose and fix problems. Users can't even know whether they are getting the Internet performance that they are paying their providers for. (ii) There is too much content. The proliferation of user-generated content (produced anywhere with mobile devices and immediately published in social media) along with the vast amount of information produced by traditional media (e.g., newspapers, television, radio) poses new challenges in achieving an effective, near real-time information awareness and personalization. For instance, users need novel filtering and recommendation tools for helping them to decide which articles to read or which movie to watch.

This challenging context raises key research questions:

How to deal with heterogeneity and dynamicity, which create runtime uncertainty, when developing and running mobile systems in the open and constantly evolving Internet and IoT environment?

How to enable automated diagnosis and optimization of networks and systems in the Internet and IoT environment for improving the QoE of their users?

How to raise human centric crowd-sensing to a reliable means of sensing world phenomena?

How to deal with combination, analysis and privacy aspects of Web/social media and IoT crowd-sensing data streams?

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