15-821/18-843 Mobile and Pervasive Computing (IoT)

Fall 2023

Mahadev Satyanarayanan and Asim Smailagic

Guest Faculty: Francine Gemperle, Jason Hong, Swarun Kumar

Course Description

This course explores the principles and practice of mobile computing and its close relative, pervasive computing (aka “Internet of Things (IoT)”). Many traditional areas of computer science and computer engineering are impacted by the constraints and demands of mobile and pervasive computing. The course will offer significant hands-on experience: in small teams, students will work under the guidance of a mentor on a project. Students will also, in small teams, present a summary and overview of the commercial landscape for one of the topics covered in class. There will be a brief quiz at the start of each class, based on the readings for that class.

Necessary Background Knowledge

Students with solid backgrounds in operating systems, distributed systems, and computer architecture will find that this course builds naturally on their knowledge base. Without these prerequisites, the course may still be accessible to a student who is willing to put in additional effort. If in doubt, check with one of the instructors before registering.

Course Goals/Objectives

The primary goal of this course is to help students learn the core principles and design challenges of two closely-related classes of computing systems: (a) those in which wireless-enabled mobility is a first-class design consideration, and (b) those that are rich in sensing, computing and communication, yet gracefully integrated with human users. Although wireless networking plays an important role in this course, it is not the sole or primary focus.

Learning Outcomes

This course aims to impart conceptual knowledge, hands-on experience and industry context. A set of course readings gives students conceptual knowledge on key topics in mobile and pervasive computing. A substantial implementation project (roughly half the course credit) gives hands-on experience. Commercial scans that are researched and presented by the students helps them to learn about the relevant state of the art in industry, and how commercial practice diverges from academic research.

Course Topics

  • Introduction and Background
  • Ubiquitous Data Access
  • Exploiting Virtual Machines
  • Resource-Driven Dynamic Adaptation
  • Mobile Hardware Technologies
  • Sensing and Actuation
  • Novel Wireless Technologies
  • Security and Privacy
  • Location and Context Awareness
  • Design Methodologies and Infrastructure

Course Logistics

  • 12 units, in-person
  • Tuesdays (August 29 to December 5) Time: 3:00pm - 5:50pm in GHC 4303
  • no textbook: reading list and papers online
  • no mid-term exam or final exam

Important Dates

  • Friday, September 1: Student inputs on project preferences
  • Tuesday, September 19: Project Checkpoint-1 Presentations
  • Tuesday, October 24: Project Checkpoint-2 Presentations
  • Tuesday, December 5: Final Demos and Posters

Grading Weights

  • Project execution & demo/poster (55%)
  • Commercial scan presentations (20%)
  • Quizzes (20%)
  • Class participation (5%)

All students are expected to honor the CMU Academic Integrity Policy.


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