An adaptable computing environment is implemented with software entities termed "s-machines", which self-assemble into hierarchical data structures capable of rendering and interacting with the computing environment. A hierarchical data structure includes a first hierarchical s-machine bound to a second hierarchical s-machine. The first hierarchical s-machine is associated with a first layer of a rendering region on a display screen and the second hierarchical s-machine is associated with a second layer of the rendering region overlaying at least a portion of the first layer. A screen element s-machine is linked to the first hierarchical s-machine. The screen element s-machine manages data associated with a screen element rendered to the display screen within the rendering region at the first layer.
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 between Sandia Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.