ITTC Project

Ambient Computational Environments (ACE) [National Science Foundation]

Project Award Date: 09-03-1999


The first of ITTC's Ambient Computational Environment (ACE) projects, this four-year contract with the National Science Foundation supports the equipment needed to create futuristic rooms, or "smart rooms," both in Nichols Hall and elsewhere on KU's campus.

The ACE vision includes computational resources, sensors, and actuatorsin their widest sensebeing embedded into offices, conference rooms, hallways, and someday even airplanes and taxi cabs. Users will interact with ACE through small personal interaction devices (PIDs), spoken commands, and eventually through gestures.

ACE will put an end to having to lug pounds of computer and communication equipmentlaptops, cell phones, and pagers. Through a PID and proper identification by voice or thumbprint, users will access their entire workspaceincluding computer filesby co-opting the computational resources that exist in the environment.

During its first year, the ACE team reviewed, purchased, and installed the first of the equipmentsuch as computation/storage servers, projectors, pan-tilt-zoom cameras, PIDs, speech processing software, desktop units, an audio-visual system, and network interconnectionin ITTC meeting and conference rooms. By the time the project concludes, an ACE will be available not only in rooms in Nichols Hall, but also in other buildings on the University campus.

"This technology could eventually change the way people use computer resources," says Gary Minden, ITTC's chief technologist and the project's lead investigator. "It will replace individual computers, wireless phones, disc players, and other devices with one information appliance that could perform numerous tasks."

The ACE project reflects the researchers' vision that low-cost and high-performance future computational devices will be embedded in our everyday environment and will be as invisible and as easy to use as electricity.

Faculty on the ACE Team: Arvin Agah, robotic systems; Perry Alexander, modeling and verification; Allen Ambler, programming languages and systems; Frank Brown, artificial intelligence systems; Joe Evans, networking and computing systems; John Gauch, video information systems; Susan Gauch, information retrieval; Jerzy Grzymala-Busse, learning systems; Jerry James, distributed computing; James Miller, graphics; Gary Minden, Principal Investigator; Doug Niehaus, distributed systems and real-time; Thomas Schreiber, human information retrieval; Shari Speer, psycholinguistics; and Costas Tsatsoulis, expert systems, agent systems, and case-based reasoning.


Faculty Investigator(s): Gary Minden (PI), Arvin Agah, Susan Gauch, Costas Tsatsoulis, Chris Brown

Project Sponsors

Primary Sponsor(s): National Science Foundation (NSF)

Partner with ITTC

The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas has developed several assistance policies that enhance interactions between the Center and local, Kansas, or national companies. 

ITTC assistance includes initial free consulting (normally one to five hours). If additional support is needed, ITTC will offer one of the following approaches: 

Sponsored Research Agreement

Individuals and organizations can enter into agreements with KUCR/ITTC and provide funds for sponsored research to be performed at ITTC with the assistance of faculty, staff and students.

Licensing and Royalty/Equity Agreement

An ITTC goal is the development of investment-grade technologies for transfer to, and marketing by, local, Kansas, and national businesses. To enhance this process, the Center has developed flexible policies that allow for licensing, royalty, and equity arrangements to meet both the needs of ITTC and the company.

Commercialization Development

Companies with a technology need that can be satisfied with ITTC's resources can look to us for assistance. We can develop a relationship with interested partners that will provide for the development of a technology suited for commercialization.

ITTC Resource Access

ITTC resources, including computers and software systems, may be made available to Kansas companies in accordance with the Center's mission and applicable Regents and University policies.

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