Assignment #3: Expanding the Knowledge Web in Deeply Networked Systems

(Assigned 21 February, Due 23 March)

“As captain of the Endeavour, Cook would sight and survey hundreds of landfalls that no Westerner had ever laid eyes on. … Cook's epochal voyage aboard the converted collier was destined to bring under George III's sovereignty more land and wealth than any single naval victory of the powerful British fleet. But the most important prize of this and the two subsequent voyages ... was measured not in territory but in knowledge. Patient and methodical where his predecessors had been hasty and disorganized, he would sweep away myths and illusions on a prodigious scale, and in the end would give to the world a long-sought treasure: a comprehensive map of the Pacific.”
Oliver E. Allen, TIME-LIFE books: The Pacific Navigators © 1980

Deeply networked systems is an emergent area. There really is no coherent curriculum you should learn in order to become knowledgeable about this field. The goal of this assignment is to help remedy that situation for those who will follow in your footsteps.

We ask you to select an aspect of technology, application, or architecture relevant to deeply networked systems. Develop a comprehensive set of web pages, links, and annotations that surveys the state-of-the-art in detail, and assesses the needs for further research.

As an example, consider the Java Car presented in the Thursday Seminar. Mine the World Wide Web to develop a web of information that describes how vehicles will participate as mobile nodes in tomorrow's deeply networked systems. How does the Java Car compare with other projects in Information Technology-enabled vehicles underway at Ford, General Motors, Daimler Chrysler, and other vehicle manufacturers? What kind of user studies have been performed on what people want in a "smart vehicle?" Are these described by news or magazine articles on the Web, or White Papers? Are they marketing trash, or scientifically sound investigations and/or experiments? What is the technology currently found within vehicles, and how easy is it to integrate this with computer-communications? What has been learned, and what is left open for further investigations. Create a catalog of constituent technologies. What kind of operating systems are used, and why? What are the safety/liability issues?

The assignment is purposefully open-ended. You should have your topic approved by the course instructors to insure that the expedition team collects as much relevant information as possible.

Last Updated: 22 January 2000, Randy H. Katz,