August 30th - September 3rd

German-Israeli Minerva School for Ubiquitous Display Environments: Intelligent Group Interaction, Foundations and Implementation of Pervasive Multimodal Interfaces



German-Israeli Minerva School for Ubiquitous Display Environments: Intelligent Group Interaction, Foundations and Implementation of Pervasive Multimodal Interfaces

August 30th - September 3rd

Organized by Antonio Krüger and Tsvi Kuflik

 Main Page 


Minerva School book


Group Picture



Computers today have become small enough to be embedded in everyday things from shirt buttons to pencils; high quality (and soon to be flexible) computer display devices can be embedded in objects of all sizes from wristwatches to billboards; and wireless Internet communication is becoming more widely available every day. We are also transitioning from traditional linear media to highly targeted, interactive media. The convergence of these factors (miniaturization, display technology, wireless communication and interactive media) will allow us to leave our desktop computers behind and make the transition to a radically new computing paradigm – the ubiquitous display environment. Such environments will support a rich variety of interactive display devices in order to provide their users with relevant information in a seamless manner.

This is one of the most exciting and important areas of technology for human development. It will enable people to interact with information artifacts rather than with dedicated information processing devices, in a more natural and casual interaction.

Leaders in ubiquitous display environments envision a day when a wide variety of displays will seamlessly provide carefully targeted information. For example:

  • As you enter a building, a display shows you a carefully selected list of events which you may be interested in.
  • When exiting the building a display reminds you where you parked and recommends the best route home.

This revolutionary convergence of technologies presents exciting and fundamental research challenges; and important thesis opportunities. It will lead to new, innovative technologies for human education, cultural heritage appreciation, and scientific development.

This proposed German-Israeli Minerva School addresses the challenge of how to exploit these new technologies within the context of an educational and cultural experience. It will address both the scientific and the technological aspects of this revolution. On the scientific side it integrates artificial intelligence, user modeling, temporal reasoning and spatial reasoning. On the technological side it integrates mobile and wireless networking infrastructures, interfaces, group displays and context-driven adaptive presentations.

The proposed Minerva School is a joint undertaking of the University of Haifa, Israel and the University of Münster, Germany. It also includes the participation of Saarland University's German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Haifa's Caesarea Rothschild Institute for Interdisciplinary Applications of Computer Science (CRI). This partnership takes advantage of the existing expertise of the Israeli and German researchers. The Israeli researchers excel in ubiquitous user modeling, intelligent user interfaces, algorithms and temporal reasoning. The German researchers excel in information presentation on large displays in ubiquitous display environments.

The Israeli researchers have already implemented a project in the Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. This project includes a hand-held computer which has been transformed into a mobile, adaptable and personalized museum visitors' guide. The guide is able to quickly create a museum visit which is best suited to each visitor's personal interests. It can pinpoint a visitor's location in the museum, play video clips and explanatory presentations and enable communication with other visitors. Visitors can send messages directly to their friends in another part of the museum, or leave a message at an exhibit which their friend will see when he gets to that exhibit. At the end of a visitor's tour of the museum the guide summarizes the visit.

The German researchers have already demonstrated their expertise through their iDisplays project at the University of Münster, where experiences have been collected with an indoor display environment providing relevant information to students, faculty and visitors of the university and with an outdoor display system which provides context-sensitive advertisement in the City of Münster displayed on the displays of German Telekom phone booths

While there are many universities with excellent departments of computer science, they do not yet sufficiently address the opportunities and challenges of ubiquitous display environments. The school will prepare the next generation of researchers and professors while at the same time fostering essential cross-cultural German-Israeli research collaborations. This school will inspire participants to apply and elaborate on existing knowledge. It will educate participants on how to present carefully targeted information in ubiquitous display environments. It will educate the participants on both user modeling and on distributed presentations.

The Subject Area and Main Fields of Study

This school will enhance the knowledge of the participants on the theoretical foundations and practical techniques that enablecoherent information presentation for groups and individuals in ubiquitous display environments. It will be uniquely multidisciplinary, as it encompasses technological research, educational issues and sociological aspects. This school will contribute to doctoral and post-doctoral research on ubiquitous display environments and will enhance the experiences of visitors to museums and other cultural heritage sites. 
The school will focus on novel research in context aware information delivery in ubiquitous display environments, on spatio-temporal dynamic processes, semantic interoperability, spatial assistance systems, cognitive engineering and sensor networks.  It will discuss how to apply these technologies to mobile and ubiquitous interface design. Tracking users in instrumented spaces brings up privacy issues this aspect will be specifically addressed. Three of the challenges to be considered will be:

  • How to create intelligent information presentations which are distributed among different devices and modalities in a ubiquitous display environment by media fission and fusion.
  • How to facilitate group navigation and exploration of physical and conceptual spaces in a cultural setting, including tracking and monitoring visitors during (ad-hoc) and after (post-hoc) interacting with the environment, with a particular focus on data mining of group-members personal recorded data.
  • How to develop concepts and technological methods which will direct the attention of individuals and groups to significant elements in the environment.

We expect the results of this school to contribute to A) the knowledge of the participants in the fields of user modeling and intelligent user interfaces in the context of ubiquitous display environments and B) provide novel insights into the emerging field of adaptive systems in ubiquitous display environments. The participants will later incorporate these techniques into their own research.

The Topics to be Addressed

Minerva School will address many important topics in the field of ubiquitous display environments, including:

  • User Modeling and Personalization - the challenges imposed by the characteristics of ubiquitous computing on personalization [Heckmann, 2006, Kuflik, 2007].
  • Context Aware Information Delivery - context definition, modeling and use in ubiquitous computing, navigation aspects [Berkovsky et al., 2007, Baus, Krüger & Wahlster2002].
  • The use of embedded displays in public and private places for information delivery and interaction. [Schmidt et al. 2005]
  • The integration of display devices in public places for information delivery [Müller, Kuger & Kuflik, 2007].
  • Content preparation for users “on-the-go” [Callaway et al., 2005].
  • Information presentation and interaction to users in ubiquitous computing environments, including: display planning, display design, aesthetics, multimodal fusion and usability. [Leichtenstern & André 2008, Stock et al, 2008].
  • Applying Data Mining and Machine Learning techniques for user modeling in ubiquitous computing environments [Zancanaro et al., 2007].
  • Evaluation of ubiquitous display environments. (Examples of Longtitudinal studies of UDE based systems are rare but one such study is described in [Cheverst, 2007]).
  • Personalization through the Analysis of Personal Information: Balancing Privacy Challenges and Economic Advantages [Zarsky, 2004]


The Significance for Young Scholars

Minerva School will benefit young scholars in many ways. They will:

  • Be exposed to an interdisciplinary approach to ubiquitous display environments.
  • Gain knowledge in both the theoretical foundations and practical-technological disciplines which are an integral part of ubiquitous display environments.
  • Learn how to design, implement and evaluate ubiquitous display environments.
  • Learn how to include aspects of user modeling, personalization and adaptation in ubiquitous display environments.
  • Participate in a field trip to the center of the new city of Jerusalem (as detailed later on).


The German-Israeli Context

This school will be an important step in expanding the level of cooperation between German and Israeli researchers. It will also demonstrate to students from each country the tremendous amount of high quality research being done in the other. Furthermore, the collaboration will open opportunities for future joint research projects.

Program and Lecturers

We will develop a school website, for pre-workshop activities, so students will gain an initial understanding of the various topics. At the school, we will hold a series of seminar-like meetings. Students will come prepared, having read a series of articles (both general background and more advanced articles). Classes will be designed to minimize the time spent on frontal lectures and maximize the time spent in group discussions. 
On the fourth day participants will begin applying what they’ve learned. This will include a trip to Jerusalem, the first Israeli city to provide a free wireless Internet network (WiFi). First, a local guide will take them on a tour of West Jerusalem, the city’s modern, commercial center. Then they will be divided into groups of five or six and each group will be assigned to a different neighborhood. Together, they will develop plans detailing the ways in which converting their assigned area into a ubiquitous display environment would improve the lives of residents and visitors. 
On the fifth day the groups will present their projects to the rest of the participants. There will also be a summary of theMinerva School and a closing ceremony.
We will also offer participants the option to stay for a sixth day, in order to visit the archaeological site in Caesarea and evaluate the multimedia visitors' center. 
For the proposed list of speakers and talks, see Appendix1.


List of lecturers and topics:

  1. Dr. Elisabeth Andre, University of Augsburg (Germany) - "Multimodal fusion in context-aware environments"
  2. Dr. Jörg Baus, Saarland University and German Research Center for AI (Germany) - "Developing Applications for Display Environments"
  3. Dr. Keith Cheverst, University of Lancaster (England) - "The Design, Deployment and Evaluation of Situated Display based Systems to Support Coordination and Community"
  4. Prof. Martin Golumbic, University of Haifa (Israel) - "Temporal Reasoning in the Context of Online Ubiquitous Computing Environments"
  5. Dr. Dominik Heckmann, Saarland University (Germany) - "User Modeling for Instrumented Environments"
  6. Prof. Sarit Krauss, Bar-Ilan University (Israel) - "Multiagent negotiations in group interaction"
  7. Prof. Antonio Krüger, University of Münster (Germany) - "Context-sensitive information presentation on display environments"
  8. Dr. Tsvi Kuflik, University of Haifa (Israel) - "Challenges and Solutions for Ubiquitous User Modeling"
  9. Prof. Joachim Meyer, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) - "Making use of information: Modeling user decisions in ubiquitous display environments"
  10. Dr. Albrecht Schmidt, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) - "Embedded interaction with display environments"
  11. Dr. Noam Tractinsky, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) - "Aesthetics in Human-Computer Interaction"
  12. Prof. Patrice L. "Tamar" Weiss, University of Haifa (Israel) - "Pervasive computing in virtual environments for learning and rehabilitation"
  13. Dr. Massimo Zancanaro, Bruno Kessler Foundation (Italy) - "Shared interfaces for co-located interaction"
  14. Dr. Massimo Zancanaro and Dr. Tsvi Kuflik, "Applying Data Mining Techniques for Analyzing Museum Visitors' Behavior Patterns"
  15. Dr. Tal Z. Zarsky "Personalization through the Analysis of Personal Information: Balancing Privacy Challenges and Economic Advantages".



  • Baus, J., Krüger, A., Wahlster, W., (2002): A Resource-Adaptive Mobile Navigation System. In: Proceedings of the 2002 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI'02), ACM Press, pp. 15- 22, ISBN 1-58113-459-2.
  • Shlomo Berkovsky, Lora Aroyo, Dominik Heckmann, Geert-Jan Houben, 
    Alexander Kröner, Tsvi Kuflik, Francesco Ricci, (2006) “Predicting User Experiences through Cross-Context Reasoning”, Proceedings of ABIS 2006 - 14th Workshop on Adaptivity and User Modeling in Interactive Systems, 9-11 October 2006, Hildesheim, Germany.
  • Callaway, Not, Novello, Rocchi, Stock, Zancanaro (2005) “Automatic Cinematography and Multilingual NLG for Generating Video Documentaries”. Artificial Intelligence 165(1)pages 57-89.
  • Cheverst, K., A. Dix, C. Graham, D. Fitton and M. Rouncefield, (2007) “Exploring Awareness Related Messaging through Two Situated Display based Systems”, Special Issue on ‘Awareness Systems Design: Theory, Methodology, and Applications’, Special Issue of Human-Computer Interaction, Volume 22 Number 1-1, pages 173-320.
  • Dominik Heckman, (2006) “Ubiquitous User Modeling”Akademische  Verlagsgesellschaft Aka GmbH, Berlin, ISBN 3-89838-297-4 and ISBN 1-58603-608-4
  • Karin Leichtenstern and Elisabeth André (2008): User-Centered Development of Mobile Interfaces to a Pervasive Computing Environment, In Proc. of:  ACHI 2008, First International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interaction.
  • Jurg Muler, Antonio Kruger and Tsvi Kuflik, (2007) Adaptation of Public Displays, In proceedings of 11th International Conference, UM 2007 Corfu, Greece, June 25-29, 2007. pp 395-399
  • Albrecht Schmidt, Matthias Kranz and Paul Holleis (2005): Interacting with the Ubiquitous Computer – Towards Embedding Interaction, In Proc. of the 2005 Joint Conference on Smart Objects and Ambient Intelligence: innovative Context-Aware Services: Usages and Technologies  (SoC-EUSAI 2005), Grenoble, France.
  • Oliviero Stock, Antonio Kruger, Tsvi Kuflik and Massimo Zancanaro. Intelligent Interfaces for Groups in a Museum, in Stock & Zancanaro (eds.), PEACH – Intelligent Interfaces for Museum Visits, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 2007. Pp. 269 – 288.
  • M. Zancanaro, T. Kuflik, Z. Boger, D. Goren-Bar and D. Goldwasser, (2007): Analyzing Museum Visitors’ Behavior Patterns. In proceedings of 11th International Conference, UM 2007 Corfu, Greece, June 25-29, 2007. pp  238-246
  • TAL Z. ZARSKY. Desperately Seeking Solutions: Using Implementation-Based Solutions for the Troubles of Information Privacy in the Age of Data Mining and the Internet Society, 56(1) Maine Law Review 13-59 (2004).


Coordinator of host country: 
Dr. Tsvi Kuflik
Department of Management Information Systems, 
University of Haifa
Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905, Israel
phone +972-4-8288511
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Coordinator of guest country: 
Prof. Antonio Krüger 
Institute for Geoinformatics
University of Münster
Robert-Koch-Strasse 26-28
D-48149 Münster, Germany 
phone +49-(0)251-83-33073
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.