Middleware and Services for Mobile Social Computing
  Research Directions
  Related Projects
Mobile social computing leverages the success of Internet-based social networking and the features of newly-developed programmable smart phones to provide a large spectrum of geo-socially aware applications that will fundamentally change the way we interact with each other in the near future. Such applications can help people stay in touch anytime, anywhere, provide real-time recommendations about people, places, and events, or deliver customized mobile content function of the user's geo-social context. As part of the broader SmartCampus initiative, this research focuses on system and networking support for programming mobile social computing applications. Specifically, we design and implement middleware and services that simplify the efficient development of these applications. Our prototypes are evaluated on top of the SmartCampus test-bed, which consists of several hundred users carrying smart phones.
Research Directions

::: Middleware Platforms
With research showing that people are increasingly willing to share their social information and location in return for services, the time is ripe to start developing mobile social computing applications (MSCAs). What is still missing, however, is a software platform to provide development and deployment support for coping with large mobile user communities. To address this issue, we built MobiSoC, a middleware that enables MSCA development and provides a common platform for capturing, managing, and sharing the social state of mobile user communities. This state is composed of people profiles, place profiles, people-to-people affinities, and people-to-places affinities. The social state evolves continuously over time as new user profiles, social ties, place-related information, or events are created. Additionally, the consistent view of the social state provided by MobiSoC enables algorithms that discover previously unknown emergent geo-social patterns, which can further augment this state. To improve the responsiveness and energy efficiency on mobile devices, each MSCA is split into an MSCA service that runs on top of MobiSoC on regular servers and a thin mobile client that interacts with the service and MobiSoC over the Internet. We developed several prototype applications on top of this middleware. MobiSoC's software distribution is publicly available here.

::: Geo-Social Services and Algorithms
The ability to capture both social and location information of large user communities open the path toward geo-social recommendation services. We designed and evaluated GPI, an algorithm for automatic identification of previously unknown social groups and group-place associations using community mobility traces. GPI is based on repeated co-location patterns. This algorithm can be incorporated in services that recommend newly identified social groups or places to enhance the social experience of the users. For example, new students can learn about popular hangouts on campus. We also built a mobile, location-enhanced, social matching service. This service computes geo-social scores based on users' profiles and their mobility traces. Matches are delivered according to user preferences and privacy constraints. This service can be accessed from a mobile application running on smart phones as well as from a Facebook application available here.

::: Ubiquitous Social Computing Infrastructure for Education
We are conducting an interdisciplinary design studio to foster problem seeking and problem solving for computing sciences students (i.e., students majoring in computing science, information systems, and information technologies). Students enrolled in this studio design ubiquitous social computing applications that facilitate interactions between colleagues, friends, and even the entire campus community. We chose ubiquitous social computing as the topic of our studio because ubiquitous technologies blend the digital, physical, and social spaces into a single socio-computing learning space, which can fundamentally improve students' creativity. A key characteristic of our studio is the use of interactive plasma displays and mobile technologies. The displays are installed across the campus to continuously exchange information between students enrolled in the studio and the rest of the university community. So far, we have developed a system to post student projects on these displays and receive community feedback. Future work plans to leverage our mobile social computing technologies to enable casual interactions between students enrolled in this studio. Furthermore, mobile technologies can be used to identify the users in front of the public displays and show personalized content, thus enhancing the chances of receiving feedback from community members.





Graduated Students:


» Using GeoTemporal Social Matching to Support Community. NSF, 2005-2009.

» SmartCampus: A Wireless Mobile Community System with People-To-People-To-Places Services. NSF, 2005-2009.

» Fostering Creativity in Ubiquitous Social Computing through Casual and Formal Interactions in Interdisciplinary Design Studios. NSF, 2007-2008.


» MobiSoC: A Middleware for Mobile Social Computing Applications
Ankur Gupta, Achir Kalra, Daniel Boston, and Cristian Borcea
ACM/Springer Mobile Networks and Applications (MONET) Journal, Spring 2009.

» The MobiSoC Middleware for Mobile Social Computing: Challenges, Design, and Early Experiences
Cristian Borcea, Ankur Gupta, Achir Kalra, Quentin Jones, and Liviu Iftode
Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Mobile Wireless Middleware, Operating Systems, and Applications (Mobilware 2008), February 2008.

» Automatic Identification of Informal Social Groups and Places for Geo-Social Recommendations
Ankur Gupta, Sanil Paul, Quentin Jones, and Cristian Borcea
International Journal of Mobile Network Design and Innovation, December 2007.

» A Quantitative Analysis of Power Consumption for Location-Aware Applications on Smart Phones
Arjun Anand, Constantine Manikopoulos, Quentin Jones, and Cristian Borcea
Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE International Symposium on Industrial Electronics (ISIE 2007), June 2007.

» An Interactive Poster System to Solicit Casual Design Feedback
Theodore Hall, Wassim Jabi, Katia Passerini, Cristian Borcea, and Quentin Jones
Proceedings of the ACADIA 2008 Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, October 2008.

» Exporting the Studio Model of Learning: Teaming Architecture with Computer Science
Wassim Jabi, Theodore Hall, Katia Passerini, Cristian Borcea, and Quentin Jones
Proceedings of the eCAADe 2008 Conference on Education and Research in Computing Aided Architectural Design in Europe, September 2008.

» Early Experiences with Interdisciplinary Design Studios
Wassim Jabi, Cristian Borcea, Theodore Hall, and Katia Passerini
Proceedings of the NSF Creative IT Workshop, January 2008.

» Ubiquitous Social Computing Technologies to Foster Design Thinking and Creativity
Wassim Jabi, Cristian Borcea, Quentin Jones, and Katia Passerini
Proceedings of the Creation and Cognition 2007 Workshop on Tools in Support of Creative Collaboration, June 2007.

» SmartCampus-Studio: Fostering Creativity and Design Thinking with Ubiquitous Social Computing Technologies
Wassim Jabi, Cristian Borcea, Quentin Jones, and Katia Passerini
Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2007 Workshop on Supporting Design Studio Culture in HCI, April 2007.

Related Projects
»Urban Sensing
»Reality Mining
»Active Campus

2008 - UbiNetS Lab - New Jersey Institute of Technology