Gary Minden and Joe Evans, KU professors of electrical engineering and computer
science, are the principal investigators for the project, called Architecture and
Prototype of an Ambient Computational Environment. Funded through the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency, this 2 1/2-year effort complements the technology center's
work in the field of ambient computational environments, also known as ACEs.
ACE uses the idea that computation resources - in the broadest sense - are readily
available in our offices, conference rooms,
auditoriums and even hallways. Any authorized person can
access those computer resources in a variety of ways.
Imagine that the computer you've been
working at for 497 days is going to be swapped out for a newer model. The very
thought, would panic most people. Will all the files transfer? Will the
software work right? Will the changeover cost valuable time?
If your computer is linked to an ACE network, a technician
arrives with your new equipment and unplugs your display, keyboard and computer. He
ignores the fact that your desk computer is running, because that computer simply
is a port to the larger network. When the installer leaves and you identify yourself
to your new machine, you continue on with your work. Tomorrow your computer will
show 498 working days. The ACE network, not a piece of hardware, becomes the
computational heart of an office.
In an ambient computational environment, access to equipment such as
computers, cameras, video players, projectors or cell phones is embedded into a
room through a network that links them to one another and to other rooms or
buildings on the network. These tools can then be controlled or accessed from anywhere
along the network. So, instead of carrying a laptop, cell phone and pager to a
meeting, a person can access files and phone messages from equipment on the
As part of their project, Minden and Evans will also study the effect
ACEs will have on high-performance networking systems. ACEs will create a different
type of traffic along the networks. It will also studies what must be done to
secure the transmission of ACE content over widely distributed next generation