Overview

CoSCA is the nickname for the research project "Digital Avatars: A Framework for Collaborative Social Computing Applications", funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities under contract PGC2018-094905-B-I00. The duration of the project is three years (2019-2021). The project PIs are Antonio Vallecillo and Carlos Canal.

Project Summary

Social computing (SC) is the area of Information Technology (IT) that deals with the interrelationships between social behavior and computer systems. Originally focused on the processing and analysis of social information, the term has progressively evolved towards a wider meaning that includes the use of computer systems to support any type of social behavior, and where humans become the main protagonists, i.e., not only as beneficiaries but also as active players.

To support Social Computing, current systems are mostly based on server-centric applications whereby contents created by distributed users are transferred to cloud servers. This is, for instance, the model commonly used in the majority of applications for smart cities, a domain where Social Computing is rapidly gaining relevance. This project explores alternative models for SC, different from client-server systems. In particular, we advocate the adoption of collaborative peer-to-peer models based on mobile devices, e.g., smartphones or tablets, as the main components of the system architecture. Specifically, we will focus on mobile-based collaborative social computing applications (CoSCA). This model of collaborative computing enables the empowerment of users, allowing them to take control of the information and contents they generate, and how all that information is accessed and exploited in a secure manner by third parties.

This project introduces the concept of a Digital Avatar (DA), an entity residing in a persons smartphone or tablet that records information about the owner and interacts with the environment and with the DAs of other users ensuring the levels of privacy and security dictated by its owner i.e., it will serve as a proxy for its owner in the context of collaborative computing applications. Another essential aspect of this project is the incorporation of uncertainty into the information managed by the applications, and into the patterns that define the behavioral rules of the DAs. The representation and management of uncertainty is required because of the inherent lack of precision in the measurement instruments that manage real data (e.g., GPS sensors or local clocks); lack of confidence in the data sources (e.g., defective sensors or unreliable networks), or incomplete or erroneous assumptions about the environment in which these applications operate.

In summary, this project targets both the definition and development of users' DAs, and the specification, modeling, analysis, and implementation of Collaborative Social Computing Applications that can be built with them. To achieve this, we will devise and develop an architectural framework for the development of mobile-based collaborative social computing applications. This framework will provide a common architecture for these kinds of applications, as well as the required infrastructure and appropriate services for their implementation, deployment, analysis, and execution.

Three major application scenarios, which are representative systems of the kinds of applications our framework will support, will serve to illustrate the scope and implications of this project, to validate our proposal, and to prototype our ideas.

More detailed information can be found in the original research project proposal.

Project Resources

All resources developed during the project, including models, datasets, tools and applications, are available on the project's git repository: CoSCA repository