Phoenix research group

A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Orchestrating Networked Entities

A host of networked entities (devices and services) are populating smart spaces that become prevalent (e.g., building management, personal assistance, avionics) and large scale (e.g., train station, city, highway network). These smart spaces are becoming intimately intertwined with our daily life and professional activities, raising scientific challenges that go beyond the boundaries of single field of expertise.

To address these challenges, the Phoenix group conducts multi-disciplinary research that combines

  1. Cognitive Science to study user needs and make a rigorous assessment of the services provided by a smart space;
  2. Sensing and actuating expertise to support the user based on accurate and rich interactions with the environment;
  3. Computer Science to support and guide all the development process of the services provided by a smart space.

The activities of the Phoenix group revolve around two main avenues of research.

First, a design-driven software development approach that leverages programming languages principles and techniques to guide and support the development of applications orchestrating networked entities. Second, cognitive digital assistance that exploits the capabilities of smart spaces to provide services that compensate or remediate cognitive difficulties.

In practice, Phoenix has developed DiaSuite, a tool-supported methodology for both the development and verification of applications orchestrating networked entities. DiaSuite is used to propose an assisted living platform named HomeAssist. This platform is deployed in our research apartment where a variety of scenarios are explored using a range of sensing/actuating capabilities and assistive applications. Beyond the home, Phoenix studies mobile cognitive support based on tablet. In particular, we have developed cognitive assistive technology for the inclusion of children with Autism in mainstreamed environment.