"Finely-woven, globe-spanning digital networks, together with the radical miniaturization and embedding of information, communication, and sensor electronics into almost everything, have made human-to-computer bonds truely ubiquitous and pervasive. Accordingly, our approach to human-computer interaction is reversing: while HCI previously addressed issues related to how humans initiate interaction with ICT systems, we now increasingly observe ICT system designs that also approach humans. Within this "human computer confluence", human attention—more than processor speed, communication bandwidth, and storage resources—becomes the single most critical (yet least understood) resource in pervasive system design today.
While previously considered a mental variable that could not be quantified and measured, attention now constitutes a fundamental element of psychological research. Today, everyone has an intuitive understanding of what attention is, how it can be assessed, and how it impacts perception, memory, expectation, awareness, relevance, decision-making, and other behaviours. This special issue focusses on novel approaches to attention modelling, attention representation, attention sensing, recognition or estimation, together with attention management as a theoretical and practical principle for designing Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing systems."