Virtual platforms: System support to enrich the functionality of end client devices
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Client devices operating at the edges on the Internet, in homes, cars, offices, and elsewhere, are highly heterogeneous in terms of their hardware configurations, form factors, and capabilities, ranging from small sensors to wearable and mobile devices, to the stationary ones like smart TVs and desktop machines. With recent and future advances in wireless networking allowing all such devices to interact with each other and with the cloud, it becomes possible to combine and augment capabilities of individual devices via services running at the edge - in edge clouds - and/or via services running in remote datacenters. The virtual platform approach to combining and enhancing such devices developed in this research makes possible the creation of innovative end user services, using low-latency communications with nearby devices to create for each end user exactly the platform needed for current tasks, guided by permissions and policies controlled by remote, cloud-resident social network services (SNS). To end users, virtual platforms operate beyond the limitations of individual devices, as natural extensions of those devices that offer improved functionality and performance, with ease-of-use provided by cloud-level global context and knowledge.