2010 Poster Sessions : Junction: A Decentralized Platform for Ad Hoc Mobile and Social Applications

Student Name : Ben Dodson
Advisor : Dan Boneh
Research Areas: Computer Systems, Theory
Abstract:
Junction is a decentralized software architecture for ad hoc, mobile and social applications that provides better scalability and privacy preservation than the conventional application service provider (ASP) architectures. Junction makes it easy for applications to work together across multiple devices, even when those devices have had no prior contact.

Junction is a new decentralized cross-platform application framework; interacting devices themselves carry out all the application logic, relying only on a universal, third-party Junction switchboard for routing messages.
The switchboard service can be provided as a higher level service by the network, thus freeing the independent software vendors from the concerns of providing scalable services.

Junction is designed to make mobile social applications easy to use as well.
With the help of a program called the Activity Director, a user can participate in ad hoc interactive applications built using Junction by clicking a Junction URI or by snapping a displayed QR code with his phone's camera. The director automatically downloads the necessary software, launches it, and joins the user to the session.

Junction has been implemented and runs on web browsers and natively on the Android OS. With Junction, we found it easy to develop a large number of applications: contact exchange, playing music and YouTube videos together, multi-party games, challenge-response authentication, a classroom assistant, and a utility to make use of the phone and the PC simultaneously.

Bio:
Ben Dodson is an incoming PhD student focusing on mobile distributed systems. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics, he worked for two years at a healthcare startup, Hx Technologies. His main contributions included development of the iSpan Master Patient Index system for deduplicating patient demographics among hospital databases, using machine learning techniques. He also worked towards compliance under the IHE standard for managing distributed electronic medical records, and built compatible Document Registry and Document Consumer components. Ben is also the lead developer of the web-based media streaming application, Jinzora.