Funding (2007): NSF "Web on Demand – Bridging the Gap Between Social Networks and Ad Hoc Networking"

Award#0834545 – CSR-DMSS, SM: Web on Demand – Bridging the Gap Between Social Networks and Ad Hoc Networking
Investigator(s): Umakishore Ramachandran, (Principal Investigator), Irfan Essa (Co-Principal Investigator)
Dates: September 1, 2008 – August 31, 2009 (Estimated)


From the western world to the third world, the use of handheld devices (cellphones, PDAs) has proliferated. The world of users is becoming both wireless and mobile. Web 2.0 has ushered in an age wherein the web is viewed as a provider of services and not just a repository of documents and/or information. Despite this advance, the web remains just that, a single web with an inherent assumption that a powerful computing and communication infrastructure supports it. Couldn’t mobile wireless devices in close proximity form a web of their own? This is the vision behind this project, the Web on Demand (WoD). WoD aims at bridging the gap between social networks and ad hoc networking. In other words, it aims to rethink the system software stack all the way from application to networking that would allow the creation and management of social networks without any assumption of infrastructure support. The core of the research is to develop software technologies for mobile devices that would allow the dynamic creation of thematic ad hoc overlay networks empowering (a) mobile people with similar interests (e.g., weather forecast), (b) friends and family (e.g., in a theme park), and (c) participants in mission critical applications (e.g., search and rescue), stay connected. WoD complements the World Wide Web (WWW) and leverages it when it is available, such as exploiting the ambient computing infrastructure to enhance user experience, and managing the dynamic creation of User Generated Content (UGC) by mobile users. The vision behind this project is to democratize access to services that are currently offered through WWW. In this sense, the results from this research can have far-reaching technological and societal consequences. Most importantly, the research will help breed a new class of computer scientists who are connected with societal causes in addition to advancing technology.

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