Pervasive & Ubiquitous Computing Course

Computer Science and Information Engineering Department  (資訊工程學系與研究所)

Institute of Networking and Multimedia (資訊網路與多媒體研究所)

National Taiwan University (國立臺灣大學)

Spring Semester, 2004 (九十二學年度第2學期)   

LECTURE TIME: 9:10 ~ 12:10 am, Monday



Course Wiki Page| Course Description

Course Pre-Requisite | Staff & Office Hours

Syllabus & Readings | Project | Evaluation

Related Courses | Related Conferences & Workshops





“The most profound technologies are those that disappear.  They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”    Mark Weiser, “Computer for the 21th Century”, Scientific American, September, 1991.


Pervasive & ubiquitous computing is how computing will be used in the future.  It is about moving beyond the traditional desktop computing model, into embedding computing into everyday objects and everyday activities.  The vision is that the virtual (computing) space will be seamlessly integrated with our physical environment, such that we as people cease to take notice of computing artifacts.  In this course, we will study the following topics to realize this vision of ubiquitous computing: (1) software infrastructure for pervasive computing that can support the integration between our physical space and virtual computing space, (2) sensors and sensor network that can capture and disseminate context information, (3) context-aware applications that use context information to create intelligent everyday objects and applications, (4) embedding computing into everyday objects, (5) user interfaces for ubiquitous computing, (6) security and privacy to protect access to user context information, (7) migration where an application context can migrate from one computing environment to another computing environment, (8) spontaneous interaction where appliances and services can seamlessly interact and interoperate with each other with little or no prior agreements, and (9) social computing that apply ubiquitous computing techniques and everyday computing artifacts to improve our social lives.


This is a graduate-level course with the goal to prepare undergraduate seniors and graduate students for research in the ubiquitous computing. This course will have two main components: paper readings and hands-on projects. The papers will be drawn from IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazines, as well as supplements from conference proceedings. In the hands-on projects, students will form teams to explore actual design and prototype of ubiquitous computing systems or applications.


This course will be taught in English.


Students should have some background in operating systems, distributed systems, computer networks, and mobile computing.  Students are expected to have (or learn on their own) necessary programming skill to implement their projects.


Instructor: Hao-hua Chu (朱浩華), Room 527, Office hour: Mon 1:30~2:30 pm, email:

Teaching Assistant #1: James Teng, : 305, email:

Teaching Assistant #2: Bing You, 305


Class participation will account for 30% of the overall grade.  The other 70% will come from your project.


Please see the reading list page on the course wiki website.

The teaching staff will prepare lectures on WEEK 1 ~ WEEK 3.  Students should sign up to present papers on WEEK 4 ~ WEEK 17 on the COURSE WIKI PAGE. 


We believe that the most effective learning comes by doing it. Students are expected to form teams to explore actual design and prototype of compelling, ubiquitous computing applications or system components in one semester. The project can demonstrate some aspects of ubiquitous (mobile) computing concepts and show some level of integration between virtual computing environments with physical environments.


To ensure that the projects go smoothly, we will have the following checkpoints for projects. (1) Project idea: students will propose project ideas that are fun, can be realizable within one semester, can be built using existing equipments, and have some research components. (2) Project proposal: students will propose team structure, define project goals and needed equipments, and propose plans to prototype the projects. Students are expected to submit written documents (500 ~ 1000 words) and post them on the project page of the course WIKI website. Final project demonstration: students will demonstrate their working prototype at the end of the semester. In addition, students are also expected to submit a project report on the project page of the course WIKI website, detailing motivation, objective, related work, design, implementation, and evaluation. 


The proposed dates for these project checkpoints are listed below:

  • Project idea presentation (week 5, 3/15/2004)
  • Project proposal presentation (week 9, 4/19/2004)
  • Proposal progress (week 13, 5/17/2004)
  • Final project demonstration (week 18, 6/14/2004)



HW equipments that can be used or purchased (if we don’t have already) for project use are listed below. However, this does not mean to be a restrictive list. You are free to browse the Internet for anything you need within a reasonable budget.  If you have questions about equipments (e.g., to order them), please send email to James (

§         HP IPAQ 5500 with built-in Bluetooth and WLAN support

§         HP IPAQ accessories (they can be plugged into the IPAQ’s serial, CF, or PC card slots) such as expansion pack, camera, memory card, GPS, GPRS, etc.

§         Nokia smart phone & MS smart phone

§         Camera, microphone, light, tilt, temperature, pressure, and accelerometer sensors

§         Philgets RFID & Interface kits (,

§         Berkeley Motes (

§         Projector

§         Passive RFID tags & readers of various sizes (SkyeTek & Alien Technology)

§         Ultrasound-based positioning systems: transmitters and receivers (Navinote)

§         WiFi-based  location (ekahau)



Some project ideas are described below.

  • Embed sensors & networking capabilities to create collaborative, intelligent everyday objects (e.g., wall, dresser, medicine cabinet, book shelf, etc.)
  • Use an indoor location system to Library guide system where it can direct a user to the bookshelf from a mobile device
  • Apply RFID to everyday objects
  • Ubicomp games where a player’s physical context drives the games (see the Ubicomp 2001 workshop on Ubicomp games
  • Applications for location-based messages (see GeoNotes from SICS, ActiveCampus from UCSD, E-Graffiti from Cornell, or Location-Linked Information from MIT)
  • Build physical user interfaces using Phidgets
  • Build an application using Berkeley Motes


It is highly recommended to browse related courses for the types of projects that students in other universities had done.



Sensors, gadgets and mobile devices cost money, so we are looking for industry funding to sponsor these equipments. In return for their sponsorship, they may ask us to make available our project results on the course home page in the public domain, free of charge. We may need to give them live demonstration of our projects at the end of the semester. In addition, our projects may be restricted to use certain software / hardware platforms provided by our industry sponsor. If you have any problems or questions about this, please drop by my office to talk about this.



§         IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine

§         UbiComp: International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing

§         PerCom: IEEE Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications

§         Pervasive: International Conference on Pervasive Computing

§         CHI: Conference on Human Factors in Computing

§         MobiSys: International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services

§         EUSAI: European Symposium on Ambient Intelligence

§         MobiCom: ACM Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking

§         MobiHoc: ACM International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing

§         SenSys: The ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems

§         ACM Personal and Ubiquitous Computing