A Constraint-Based Approach to Context

  • Arlette van Wissen
  • Bart Kamphorst
  • Rob van Eijk
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8175)


Finding a shared understanding of context that is both theoretically coherent and operationalizable – e.g., for application in robotics, intelligent agent systems, or e-coaching products – is a significant challenge currently present in context research. This paper tries to capture the myriad of factors that together shape the multifaceted notion of context by conceptualizing the boundaries of contexts as a multitude of constraints within which actors operate. Within this ‘constraint-based approach’, context is broken down into different types, distinguishing between external and internal, as well as individual and shared contexts. In addition, it introduces vocabulary to differentiate between types of context transitions. This vocabulary is used to explain misinterpretations of context and misunderstandings between actors about the current context. Finally, the paper proposes a way of understanding context synchronization (or, context conflict resolution) between actors through context negotiation.


context constraints transitions negotiation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arlette van Wissen
    • 1
  • Bart Kamphorst
    • 2
  • Rob van Eijk
    • 3
  1. 1.VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Faculty Campus Den HaagLeiden UniversityDen HaagThe Netherlands

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