CSE 590P - Ubiquitous Computing (PMP) - Spring 2015

Instructor Information
Prof. Shwetak N. Patel
Office: CSE 540
email: shwetak (AT) cs [d0t] washington [d0t] edu
Office hours: Tuesday 6:00-6:30pm and Thursday 10:00-10:30am

TA: Mayank Goel
Office: CSE 507
email: mayank (AT) cs [d0t] washington [d0t] edu
Office hours: TBD

Course Information and Syllabus:
Time: Tuesday, 6:30-9:20pm
Location: Mary Gates Hall, 231

class email: csep590a_sp15 (AT) uw [d0t] edu

Course Description:

The aim of this class will be to explore one of the next paradigms in computing. We will focus on how traditional topics in computing need to be rethought in the context of supporting the vision of ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) including human-computer interaction, distributed systems, embedded systems, networking, and electrical engineering.  Specific ubicomp topics include sensing, context awareness, location tracking, activity recognition, and input. The impact of ubicomp on the Internet of Things, Wearable Computing, and the Connected Home will also be covered.

Students will be be exposed to the basics of building ubicomp systems in the context of many of the discussed topics. This course will focus on a combination of lectures, class discussions, and hands on demonstrations. Students will be evaluated on their class participation, reading summaries, and individual mini projects/assignments.

This course incorporates a combination of topics covering a wide variety of disciplines that impact ubiquitous computing. These include human-computer interaction (HCI), distributed systems, embedded systems, software engineering, networking, and electrical engineering. While there is no explicit set of pre-requisite courses for this class, a basic introduction to a subset of these disciplines will benefit you in this class. Feel free to contact the instructor if you have any questions.

Example topics that may be covered:

-Introduction, Overview, and History of ubicomp
-Advance Prototyping (3d-printing, mills, sensors, PCB layout, software radio, etc)
-Emerging application themes
---Home health and elder care
---Energy monitoring and sustainability
---Connected Home
-Activity sensing and location tracking
-Wearable computing
-Low-power and wireless power transfer systems
-Wireless technologies
-Input for ubicomp
-Evaluation techniques
-Software engineering issues
-Security and privacy

This class is intended to be highly interactive and students will be asked to kick off the discussion for that day's topic based on the assigned readings. Prior to class, all students are required to post a paragraph summary of the reading(s) and questions or discussion points to the message board. The highlighted papers on the schedule are the required papers, but additional optional papers are also listed that you can use for reference either in this class or in the future.

Lectures and discussion will occur during the first half of classtime and the second half will consist of tutorials on how to build and prototype various ubicomp systems. There will be 5 individual assignments to practice these concepts. Although not required, you are allowed to work in groups to learn the material, but are required to complete and submit individual work.


  • Ubiquitous Computing Fundamentals. Ed. John Krumm. ISBN: 1420093606. Chapman & Hall/CRC 2009. (Optional, but recommended)
  • We will also use material provided on this website 

    Students will be evaluated based on their mini projects/assignments, class participation, and reading summaries. Students are expected to have the readings and summaries completed prior to class (see class schedule). Note that class discussion will largely be based on these readings. Class participation includes submitting reading summaries prior to class and active engagement in class discussions. Also, students should inform the instructor on any work travel or other commitments that might arise during the quarter.
  • Assignments (5): 60%
    Reading summaries: 15%
    Class participation: 25%

    Portions of this site may be reprinted or adapted for academic nonprofit purposes, providing the source is accurately quoted and credited. The CSE 590P Site: Copyright 2015, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington.