Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Computer Science

First Advisor's Name

Peter J. Clarke

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Zhenyu Yang

Third Advisor's Name

S. Masoud Sadjadi

Fourth Advisor's Name

Ming Zhao

Fifth Advisor's Name

Kaushik Dutta

Keywords

Self-Configuration, User-centric Communication Policy, User-centric Communication Middleware, Software Abstaction, Autonomic Computing

Date of Defense

3-29-2011

Abstract

The convergence of data, audio and video on IP networks is changing the way individuals, groups and organizations communicate. This diversity of communication media presents opportunities for creating synergistic collaborative communications. This form of collaborative communication is however not without its challenges. The increasing number of communication service providers coupled with a combinatorial mix of offered services, varying Quality-of-Service and oscillating pricing of services increases the complexity for the user to manage and maintain `always best' priced or performance services. Consumers have to manually manage and adapt their communication in line with differences in services across devices, networks and media while ensuring that the usage remain consistent with their intended goals. This dissertation proposes a novel user-centric approach to address this problem. The proposed approach aims to reduce the aforementioned complexity to the user by (1) providing high-level abstractions and a policy based methodology for automated selection of the communication services guided by high-level user policies and (2) providing services through the seamless integration of multiple communication service providers and providing an extensible framework to support the integration of multiple communication service providers. The approach was implemented in the Communication Virtual Machine (CVM), a model-driven technology for realizing communication applications. The CVM includes the Network Communication Broker, the layer responsible for providing a network-independent API to the upper layers of CVM. The initial prototype for the NCB supported only a single communication framework which limited the number, quality and types of services available. Experimental evaluation of the approach show the additional overhead of the approach is minimal compared to the individual communication services frameworks. Additionally the automated approach proposed out performed the individual communication services frameworks for cross framework switching.

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