The concept of personalization in its many forms has gained traction driven by the demands of computer-mediated interactions generally implemented in large-scale distributed systems and ad hoc wireless networks. Personalization requires the identification and selection of entities based on a defined profile (a context); an entity has been defined as a person, place, or physical or computational object. Context employs contextual information that combines to describe an entities current state. Historically, the range of contextual information utilized (in context-aware systems) has been limited to identity, location, and proximate data; there has, however, been advances in the range of data and information addressed. As such, context can be highly dynamic with inherent complexity. In addition, context-aware systems must accommodate constraint satisfaction and preference compliance.
This article addresses personalization and context with consideration of the domains and systems to which context has been applied and the nature of the contextual data. The developments in computing and service provision are addressed with consideration of the relationship between the evolving computing landscape and context. There is a discussion around rule strategies and conditional relationships in decision support. Logic systems are addressed with an overview of the open world assumption versus the closed world assumption and the relationship with the Semantic Web. The event-driven rule-based approach, which forms the basis upon which intelligent context processing can be realized, is presented with an evaluation and proof-of-concept. The issues and challenges identified in the research are considered with potential solutions and research directions; alternative approaches to context processing are discussed. The article closes with conclusions and open research questions.