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GLOSS Project


GLOSS was a 3 year project funded by the EC Fifth Framework Programme, with partners at Strathclyde University, Université Joseph Fourier, Trinity College Dublin and Starlab (which closed early in the project).

GLOSS took the view that movement in real space is a source of opportunities. By exploiting the features of spaces - their uses, interconnections etc - we sought to use peoples’ locations and movements (context) as both a source of task-level cues and a guide to appropriate information provision. Essentially this means that both space and information system must be considered as a whole, since actions in one have an immediate impact in the other and vice versa in a feedback loop.

GLOSS addressed the neglected issue of combining technologies and their interactions on a large scale. GLOSS was based on a simple premise. While commercial off-the-shelf technologies were providing the building blocks of pervasive computing, they did little to address the gap between users with their high-level tasks and the low-level details of the interactions needed to accomplish these tasks.

Consequently, our research focus was on devising new software infrastructures to facilitate the low-level interactions in a manner that was driven by both the explicit and implicit high-level context of the user. Our aim was to provide general solutions to this problem both at the site of the user interaction and in the supporting network.


Our investigation was into underlying computational models for Ambient Systems on a global scale, which allow appropriate information to pass freely around the underlying infrastructure, allowing devices to be modular and communicative with other devices, in networks that keep recollection of use and user’s characteristics whilst respecting privacy. Our models took explicit descriptions of context (physical and computational) and used these to drive the underlying infrastructures. Our objectives were:

  • the precise understanding of how services (physical and information) are used and how users interleave various contexts (home life, work life, etc.) during usage;
  • novel programming and systems support for the narrative representations and execution;
  • the development of essential middleware infrastructures for hybrid mobile ad hoc, peer-to-peer and hierarchical systems;
  • the development of abstract machines for plastic user interfaces.

Project Members


Funding Body EC 5th Framework Programme
Grant Number IST-2000-26070
Value €285,600
Duration January 2001 - December 2003


Publications and Documents

  • Active Architecture for Pervasive Contextual Services. Kirby, GNC, Dearle, A, Morrison, R, Dunlop, M, Connor, RCH, Nixon, P. In: Proc. International Workshop on Middleware for Pervasive and Ad-hoc Computing (MPAC 2003), ACM/IFIP/USENIX International Middleware Conference (Middleware 2003), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ururahy, C, Sztajnberg, A, Cerqueira, R (eds), pp 21-28. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro. 2003. [details]
  • Architectural Support for Global Smart Spaces. Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, Morrison, R, McCarthy, A, Mullen, K, Yang, Y, Connor, RCH, Welen, P, Wilson, A. In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science 2574, Chen, M-S, Chrysanthis, PK, Sloman, M, Zaslavsky, AB (eds), Proc. 4th International Conference on Mobile Data Management (MDM 2003), Melbourne, Australia, pp 153-164. Springer, ISBN 3-540-00393-2. 2003. [details]
  • An Information Flow Architecture for Global Smart Spaces. Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, McCarthy, A, Diaz y Carballo, JC. Global Smart Spaces Project IST-2000-26070 Report D15. 2003. [details]
  • Second Set of Spaces. Zirintsis, E, Kirby, GNC, Dearle, A, Allen, R, MacInnis, R, McCarthy, A, Morrison, R, Nixon, P, Jamieson, A, Nicholson, C, Harris, S. Global Smart Spaces Project IST-2000-26070 Report D11. 2003. [details]
  • Working Document on Gloss Ontology. Coutaz, J, Dearle, A, Dupuy-Chessa, S, Kirby, GNC, Lachenal, C, Morrison, R, Rey, G, Zirintsis, E. Global Smart Spaces Project IST-2000-26070 Report D9.2. 2003. [details]
  • First Smart Spaces. Kirby, GNC, Dearle, A, McCarthy, A, Morrison, R, Mullen, K, Yang, Y, Connor, RCH, Welen, P, Wilson, A. Global Smart Spaces Project IST-2000-26070 Report D8. 2002. [details]
  • A Recursive Software Architecture for Location-Aware Services. Dearle, A, Kirby, GNC, Morrison, R, Mullen, K, Yang, Y, Connor, RCH, Welen, P, Wilson, A. University of St Andrews Report CS/02/1. 2002. [details]

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