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Embedded Web Services

This project investigates ways to make embedded devices and computers interoperate, new trust models, combining models and prediction with service implementations, interfacing to the physical world and humans, domain specific semantic descriptions, and related software design.

It would be nice if consumer electronics and other computers would easily work together and figure out on their own what and when to do. When the environment changes, the software must adapt to the change. Computation and topology in a consumer setting is a highly dynamic. New devices are bought, devices move and break, wireless networks are unreliable and noisy. The traditional static analysis and real-time paradigms fall apart and cofiguration becomes a nightmare. Traditional onion models of trust and security get into the way of self-organization and social interaction.

This project looks at distributed software as a collection of composable services. While the services send messages to each other, that is not a very pleasant paradigm for the programmer that has to build the services. Instead it is the role of middleware to match the synchronous, fine grain, and object oriented local operations to asynchronous, coarse, message based distributed computation.

The tools for programming and analyzing the distributed processes are not as well developed as software designed for a single computer. New tools and semantic descriptions of the distributed processes are needed. The correct behavior of a system depends on the environment, which thus must be modeled and predicted by the control software. How then do you combine the model and context driven distributed process with the actual implementation of a service on the local machine without losing your hair?

This project investigates ways to make devices and computers interoperate; new trust models; combining models and prediction with service implementations; interfacing to the physical world and humans; domain specific semantic descriptions; and software design.

Beside pie in the sky research ideas we are also trying to be practical. Results include:

  • Embedded WS-Management, used in IT management for out-of-band controllers. Presented and demoed at WinHEC and IT Forum.
  • An Embedded XML Web Services implementation. Used in digital camera, medical electronics, and robot demos. First proved the feasibilty of using SOAP on microcontrollers.
  • The Remote Shell Web Services Protocol and an implementation that allows remote secure scripting over SOAP. The implementation was adapted to Windows and shipped as part of Vista (WinRS).
  • XML middleware source available as part of Microsoft Invisible Computing

Project Members

  • Johannes Helander

Past Project Members

  • J├╝rgo Preden
  • Jong Hee Kang
  • Stefan Sigurdsson
  • Yong Xiong


  1. Helander, J., Preden, J., Adapting the Auto to a New Tune, RTSS 2006 - Workshop on Models and Analysis for Automotive Systems, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, December 2006.
  2. Preden, J. Helander J., Auto-adaptation Driven by Observed Context Histories, Second International Workshop on Exploiting Context Histories in Smart Environments (in conjunction with UbiComp 2006), Newport Beach, CA, September 2006.
  3. Helander J., Deeply Embedded XML Communication: Towards an Interoperable and Seamless World, Proceedings of the 5th ACM international conference on Embedded software, Jersey City, NJ, September 2005.
  4. Helander J., Sigurdsson S., Self-Tuning Planned Actions: Time to Make Real-Time SOAP Real, Proceedings of the Eighth IEEE International Symposium on Object-Oriented Real-Time Distributed Computing, Seattle, May 2005.
  5. Helander, J. and Xiong, Y., Secure Web Services for Low-cost Devices, 8th IEEE International Symposium on Object-oriented Real-time distributed Computing, Seattle, May 2005.
  6. Helander, J., Exploiting Context Histories in Setting up an e-Home, First International Workshop on Exploiting Context Histories in Smart Environments (in conjunction with Pervasive 2005), Munich, Germany, May 2005.
Johannes Helander
Johannes Helander