Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Y. V. Ramana Reddy.


Rapid technological advancements have made it possible for humans to collaborate as never before. However demands of group work necessitate distributed collaboration in very heterogeneous environments. Heterogeneity as in various applications, platforms, hardware and communication infrastructure. User mobility, lack of availability and cost often make imposing a common collaboration environment infeasible. Awareness is essential for successful collaboration. Awareness is a key design criterion in groupware but often collaboration occurs with applications not designed to support useful awareness. This dissertation deals with the issue of effective group awareness support in heterogeneous environments.;Awareness propagation is effective if the appropriate amount of information, relevant to the user's sphere of activity is delivered in a timely, unobtrusive fashion. Thus issues such as information overload, and distraction have to be addressed. Furthermore ability to establish the appropriate balance between awareness and privacy is essential. Enhanced forms of awareness such as intersubjectivity and historical awareness are often invaluable. Heterogeneous environments significantly impact the above quality factors impeding effective awareness propagation. Users are unable to tailor the quality of awareness received.;Heterogeneity issues that affect awareness quality are identified. An awareness framework is proposed that binds various sources of awareness information. However for effective awareness support, physical integration must be augmented by information integration. As a solution, an awareness model is proposed. Specification of the awareness model and framework's architecture and features is the key contribution. The proposed model has been validated through simulations of realistic collaboration involving human participation. Scenarios created, have tested the model's usefulness in enhancing the quality of group work by propagating effective awareness among users. To accomplish the same, an Awareness Simulator application has been created. In the validation process, efforts made to create an experimental methodology revealed some techniques related to awareness evaluation in CSCW, which are proposed. Various issues required to successfully engineer such awareness frameworks are identified and their impact on requirements such as security and performance, discussed. With various standards and technologies that can be harnessed to create awareness frameworks, there is great promise that barriers in heterogeneous collaboration environments can be overcome.