"Saving the World through Ubiquitous Computing" by Dr. William G. Griswold

Date: October 30, 2009
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Where: SB 4.01.20 (CS conference room)

"Saving the World through Ubiquitous Computing"
by Dr. William G. Griswold (Univ. of California, San Diego)


Ubiquitous computing promises to bring the power of computing into every aspect of our lives, no matter where we go. The applications imagined for ubiquitous computing range from social computing to smart homes to personal health. With emerging crises like the prospect of world upheaval due to global warming, we are led to think beyond "nice to have" applications of ubiquitous computing to "must have" applications that could save our way of life.

Behind virtually every crisis today is invisibility -- an inability to see what is happening right before our eyes and what is causing it. From carbon monoxide in the air to over leveraged investments, our inability to see now what will be obvious a few years hence could destroy our world as we know it. What I propose is a world-wide citizen-observing and notification network that puts the power of deep situational knowledge in the hands of virtually everyone on the planet. With low-cost sensor arrays on our phones to capture local physical data, along with the web's massive global databases of information about the virtual and physical worlds (e.g., historical data, land ownership, financial transactions), it will be possible to connect the dots between the physical world and the virtual world, thereby lifting the veil of obscurity and enabling us to hold those responsible to account.

In this talk I will develop this vision for how ubiquitous computing can rise to meet this challenge, lay out a research program for overcoming the many problems that must be solved, and review where we stand today. Along the way I will draw on results from the research of my colleagues at UCSD.