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Saturday, 07 December 2002

Smart mobbed

I can't do much more than nod my head vigorously in emphatic agreement (along with a side order of petulantly stamping my foot and screaming I want it now) at this article that hits all the right buttons--wearable computers, ad hoc wireless networks, smart mobs, reputation management, trust, spontaneously generated communities on mayfly timescales:

Kortuem and Jay Schneider, another graduate student, began assembling hardware/software packages capable of automatic wireless interactions. In 1999 the team completed its first ad hoc community application called Walid, a program that negotiates chore sharing among parties with complementary tasks on their to-do lists. The software agents representing each party might determine, for instance, that one person could pick up some blank CDs at the store if the other would return a book to the library. The playlist-sharing application, known as Piraté, came next, followed by mBazaar, which mediates swaps of CDs, books, bikes, furniture, and electronics.
It soon became apparent that ad hoc community applications relied on a common set of functions, having to do mostly with detecting nearby parties, querying and comparing information, and keeping track of contacts. Kortuem realized that putting these functions in a common code library would speed up development. Completed in mid-2001, the Proem peer-to-peer platform consists of 135 Java commands optimized for spontaneous social organization. "You can have a message that's sitting in your buffer delivered whenever you meet someone," Kortuem explains. "You can say, 'This message is only for people nearby,' or you can send it to nearby devices and have them route the message further." [more (MIT Tech Review)]

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