The notion of mobile and context-aware computing is a paradigm that is characterized by a more flexible and usable understanding of computer systems. The user and his needs are in the center of attention. Context-awareness aims at an automatic recognition of situation-dependant user needs in order to automatically adapt the system's reactions and interaction patterns accordingly (Ubiquitous-/Pervasive-/Human Centric Computing). This implies that usually no direct or conscious interaction between user and system is necessary to communicate the actual situation and associated needs, respectively.
Adaptation therefore is understood as an explicit handling of situational needs, enabling system usage in situations where most other existing computer systems are useless (e.g. while driving a car). The user is disburdened from interactions. Therefore the systems gain a certain level of autonomy that has to be specified carefully to prevent systems to act in an unintended way or even harmful. Context adaptation is one of the key technologies to many new areas of application of computer systems like in automotive, avionics, user assistant systems etc.
The main research focus of the competence center is the engineering of context-aware and reconfigurable systems, starting with early phases of system development like the Requirements Engineering throughout the design phases to the final deployment. Development methodologies and modeling techniques are topics as well as questions about enhancing the reliability of adaptive systems and their impact on computer usage in general.