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In the 1970s James Livelock formulated and popularized the idea of the Earth - the collective atmosphere, oceans, lithosphere, and biosphere - as a single, cybernetically self-functioning superorganism. This global entity he called "Gaia", after the old Greek Earth-Goddess. The Gaia project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks to bring the same concept to computing. By creating an environment to bridge the gap between virtual and physical objects, we envision bringing physical spaces to life.

By extending the reach of traditional computing systems to encompass the devices and physical space surrounding the machines, entities, both physical and virtual, may be allowed to seamlessly interact.  Physical spaces become interactive systems, or in other terms, Active Spaces.  

Our goal is to design and implement a middleware operating system that manages the resources contained in an Active Space.  An operating system for such a space must be able to locate the most appropriate device, detect when new devices are spontaneously added to the system, and adapt content when data formats are not compatible with output devices.  Traditional operating systems manage the tasks common to all applications; the same management is necessary for physical spaces.  In addition, we are developing a novel application model to support next generation ubiquitous applications.


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Last updated: October 09, 2000.