This paper discusses the challenges in computer systems research posed by the emerging field of pervasive computing. It first examines the relationship of this new field to its predecessors: distributed systems and mobile computing. It then identifies four new research thrusts: effective use of smart spaces, invisibility, localized scalability, and masking uneven conditioning. Next, it sketches a couple of hypothetical pervasive computing scenarios, and uses them to identify key capabilities missing from today’s systems. The paper closes with a discussion of the research necessary to develop these capabilities.