While huge amounts of information pervade our environment, it has been difficult to filter it and bring it to humans in a clean, reliable, and timely way. This fast growing information jungle needs to be tamed and civilized, to become a nurturing Infosphere in which the Information Age will flourish. Our vision of a civilized Infosphere goes beyond just gathering, storing, and retrieving increasing amounts of information. Living in the Infosphere means being in constant contact with both the physical world and the information civilization. In general, the Infosphere supplies fresh information that changes the way we interact with our environment. An accurate weather forecast could mean a happy birthday party in the park for kids, saving a crop or bankruptcy for farmers, or a matter of life or death for a military operation in hostile territory. Similarly, having an accurate picture of the highway conditions may mean arriving at work on time, beating the deadline for an important delivery, or reaching the hospital before the patient dies. We envision the Infosphere providing more details about the current state of our physical world than ever imaginable, impartially to all human beings.
We believe that the missing link in the construction of Infosphere is the software to manage information flow from the information producers to consumers. We propose the Infopipe abstraction to link information producers to consumers. In addition to their basic function of transporting information, Infopipes manage and manipulate the concrete delivery properties of the information flowing through them, such as freshness. Infopipe creation and composition involve the specification of these properties and system resource management mechanisms to maintain them. The property specifications are translated automatically by the system into an actual implementation with the desired behavior. When information flows through an Infopipe, concrete delivery properties and requirements such as freshness, performance, and security are updated en route and maintained each step of the way. The three components of Infopipe, the property management, the feedback-based resource management, and the smart information delivery, can be combined to form an Infosphere that brings the right information to the right user at the right time.