Syllabus for

CS 6910: Pervasive Computing

Spring 2007

Department of Computer Science

Western Michigan University


Instructor:            Dr. Leszek (LEH-shek) Lilien

                                CEAS B-249, phone: (269) 276-3116

                                Email: (must include “cs”)

Notes on email use:

Please send e-mail only in important and urgent matters. I can’t and will not handle other e-mails.

Only e-mail conforming to the following requirements will be read by me:

a) Sent from a WMU account - ending with “” (of course, this includes accounts ending with “”).

b) Each message must have a descriptive subject with the indicated prefix:

               CS6910-S07--<your last name>: < descriptive subject here>

For example, subjects of John Smith’s messages must be as follows:

               CS6910-S07—Smith: < descriptive subject here>

c)  Attached files must be scanned with up-to-date anti-viral software, and the message including them must contain the following statement:

I have scanned the enclosed file(s) with <name of software, its version>, which was last updated on <date>.

where <date> should be today’s date. (You should have the habit of updating your anti-viral software daily!)


Classes:          CEAS D-210, Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00 – 5:15 pm


Office Hours: Tuesdays 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

                        Thursdays 10:00 – 11:00 am, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm


Class Web Pages:

Syllabus - main page (this page): index.htm

Detailed course outline: outline.htm

Class slides and announcements: slides+announcements.htm




“Introduction to Wireless and Mobile Systems,” (2nd ed., 2006) by Dharma Prakash Agrawal and Qing-An Zeng, ISBN: 0-534-49303-3

Papers and e-books (mostly different for individual lectures or student presentations) will be announced.

Readings will be divided into required and recommended (optional).




Graduate student status.

Grade B or better in CS 5550: Computer Networks or instructor’s permission.

Grade B or better in CS 5950/6030: Computer Security and Information Assurance or CS 6910: Advanced Computer and Information Security or instructor’s permission.



What is Pervasive Computing:        

Prof. M. Satyanarayanan (2001) states: “Pervasive computing represents a major evolutionary step in a line of work dating back to the mid-1970’s. Two distinct earlier steps in this evolution are distributed systems and mobile computing.  Some of the technical problems in pervasive computing correspond to problems already identified and studied earlier in the evolution. In some of those cases, existing solutions apply directly; in other cases, the demands of pervasive computing are sufficiently different that new solutions have to be sought. There are also new problems introduced by pervasive computing that have no obvious mapping to problems studied earlier.”

Pervasive Computing is also commonly known as Ubiquitous Computing. Other, less (and much less) popular equivalents include Invisible Computing, Ambient Informatics, and Everyware.

For more information, please see: M. Satyanarayanan, “Pervasive Computing: Vision and Challenges,” IEEE Personal Communications, 2001. Available at:



Course Overview:               

The Pervasive Computing course will cover selected areas of pervasive computing. It  will include a study of wireless and mobile networking. Emerging issues in distributed systems in pervasive environments will be investigated. Applications to opportunistic networks (a specialized kind of ad hoc networks), smart spaces, sensor-based monitoring, and cellular phones will be evaluated. A major focus will be on the issues of interoperability, privacy and security, which are commonly viewed as the three most critical problems in Pervasive Computing.

This is an advanced course for graduate students only.

The course will be research-oriented, with both “more theoretical” and “more practical” research projects in the areas of computer privacy and security. Topics will be proposed by me, or proposed by students and accepted by me.



Course Requirements for Students:              

Attend and study the instructor’s lectures and student presentations

Work on team research projects (or individual projects, in exceptional cases). Projects will mostly belong to the “selected areas” identified or accepted by the instructor. There will be three basic types of projects: survey/overview projects, implementation projects, or simulation projects. All projects will be developed under my close supervision, including regular weekly meetings.

Write a research paper summarizing the project work.

Present the project results at the end of the semester (hopefully at least one presentation, lasting at least 30 min. + 5 min Q&A period per team).

We will have one exam: final exam.

We might have quizzes testing understanding of lectures, required readings, and project and other presentations by fellow students.



Course Policies:

1. Lecture

-       Lecture notes will be available on-line on the “slides and announcements” page. You should study the slides and read announcements (if any) after/before each lecture.

-       Taking notes during classes is highly encouraged.  Especially, you should write down anything that is written down using the board or the document projector. You are encouraged to slow me down if you need more time to take notes.

-       Attendance is required. If you must miss a lecture, make sure that you don’t miss announcements.

2. Group Projects

-       The group projects will be done in Project Teams (PTs) consisting normally of 3-4 students.

-       I will propose a set of topics for the project to help students in project selection. PTs are free to propose their own topics for the project but must obtain my buy-in before starting their work.

-       The results obtained in the final project will be communicated by the PTs: (a) in written reports submitted to me by the end of the semester, (b) in slides presented in class before the end of the semester. Both technical contents and quality of (written or oral) presentation will be evaluated for the project grade (normally the same for all PT members).

-       All projects will be due no later than on the last day of regular classes (April 19).

-       More details about project requirements, including presentation and report requirements, will be provided later.

3. Research Paper Presentation and Reviewing

-       I plan research paper presentations by paired PTs (not individuals). For each presentation, one PT in the pair will play the role of presenters, and another PT—of reviewers. Reviewers will work with presenters before the in-class presentation to assure the best quality (completeness, clarity, etc.) of paper presentation (incl. slides). Criteria for reviewing slides and presentations will be provided by me.   (More details below.)

-       The paper selected for presentation by a PT should be related to the area of the PT’s project. The paper assigned for reviewing to a PT should be unrelated to the area of the PT’s project. (In this way, if the reviewers understand the presentation, anybody in the class will. J )

-       Presenting PTs can propose their own papers, and ask for my acceptance. Alternatively, I will help in paper selection. Reviewing PTs have to accept the presenters’ selection.

-       Example scenario: Each pair of PTs participates in two paper presentation/review rounds, with their roles switched in the second round. Suppose that PT3 and PT6 are selected as a pair of PTs.

   In Round 1, PT3 is selected for presentation and PT 6 for reviewing of a research paper. PT3 is responsible for preparing the initial presentation. Then, PT6 reviews the presentation (without reading the paper—PT6 members must be in a position in which other students will soon be). PT6 decides whether to review slides only or the entire mock presentation (at least the final review before the in-class presentation should review a mock presentation.) Then, PT3 uses the feedback from the review to improve the presentation. A few iterations of the review-improve process are expected. The final mock presentation by PT3 ends with filling a form known as Final Review Report (FiRR), listing shortcomings of the presentation as perceived by PT6 (ideally, the list will be empty). PT3 can read and comment on the report. Both FiRR and the comments will be submitted to me.

   In Round 2, PT6 is selected for presentation and PT 3 for reviewing of another research paper.

-       Presentations will be graded by me as well as by all students in class, who will be asked to fill simple questionnaires. The final score for the presenting PT will be based on both inputs. The final score for the reviewing PT will additionally use FiRR as an input.

  1. Exams

-       There will be one exam: the final exam. It will be held during the finals week, as scheduled by the Registrar’s Office: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm on Tuesday, April 24 (cf.

-       If you miss the exam and are excused, you will be required to take a make-up final exam (12:30 pm – 2:30 pm on Friday, April 27 (cf. To be excused, you must prove significant circumstances beyond your control.  Generally this will require documentation, such as a doctor’s note in case of an illness.   If possible, inform the instructor before the exam if circumstances beyond your control will cause missing the exam.

NOTE: No make-up exams will be given for reasons other than emergency situations completely beyond student’s control. If you know ahead of time that the final exam time conflicts with your plans, do not register for this class. (In particular, early flight reservations are not an acceptable reason for a make-up exam.)

5. Incomplete Grades

-       The incomplete grade - I - is intended for a student who has missed a relatively small portion of work due to circumstances beyond the student’s control.  In general, performance on work done must be at a level of C or better in order to qualify for an incomplete.  An I grade will not be given to replace an otherwise low or failing grade in the class. 



  • Grading components:

Group project (incl. final project presentation)              50%

Research paper presentation                                          5%

Research paper reviewing                                              5%

Final exam                                                                   40%

In case paper presentations/reviewing are not possible due to time constraints, 5% will be added to Group project and 5% to Final exam.

  • Standard grading scale (A: 90, BA: 85, B: 80, CB: 75, C: 70, DC: 65, D: 60)
    • I may curve a very tough exam to improve the letter grades.
  • Inquiries about grades for exams, quizzes (if any), etc. must be made within one week after they are handed back. In case of a grading disagreement, written arguments for your claims are required. No arguments, however justifiable, will be considered after the one-week deadline.
  • I might offer an extra credit for an optional coursework—such as presenting in class a software tool.
  • In my book, there is the “A+” grade J for extraordinary performance (best in class, etc.).  Each student who receives it can get a written statement from me upon request (in case the student needs a strong evidence for a recommendation letter).  Of course, WMU transcript will show an “A” only.


Use of Electronic Devices:    [courtesy of Prof. Ajay Gupta and Prof. James Yang]

You are expected to stay alert and pay attention in class. Cellphones, PDAs, and other electronic devices should not be used during the lecture and should be turned off.

If available, you may bring your laptop to the class. Your laptop speakers must be turned off. Web-surfing of material other than lecture slides or another material indicated by the instructor is not permitted during the class. You may surf the web only when specifically told to do so. In order to maintain the integrity of the classroom and if I feel it is distracting you or others, I may ask you to turn off your laptop.


Other Notes:

  • Many topics build upon one another. Therefore, be systematic in your study and avoid being lost. You are encouraged to ask questions in class if you do not understand the material.
  • Since email and telephone limit interactions, please see me during my office hours or after classes in case you have questions.  (In justified cases, a special appointment can be made.)
  • No questions will be answered on the date of a quiz/exam. No office hours will be held on the days of the exams.


Academic Integrity:  


Academic Honesty Statement (WMU Policy)

You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the Undergraduate Catalog (pp. 274-276) or the Graduate Catalog (pp. 25-27) that pertain to Academic Honesty. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.


[Based on text courtesy of Prof. Ajay Gupta and Prof. James Yang.]

Submission of another person’s work in part or whole is not permitted. Learning can certainly occur with discussion of class material and assignments with other students, but at all times ensure that you don’t represent the work of another person as your own.  In particular, remember the following:

·        If you rephrase ideas presented by others in your text, you must provide a reference in this text, and then list full bibliographic information for the reference at the end of your report, slides, etc.

·        Any quotes (as opposed to references) must be clearly indicated in at least two ways: (a) with a clear phrase or sentence (e.g. “Quoting Smith et al.:”), and (b) with a different form of the text (e.g., written in italics, boxed, etc.).

·        Easy availability of information, material, source codes, lecture notes, etc., on the Internet may make it possible to find text useful for your report, slides, etc. It is okay (even required for your projects) to refer to those, understand them and use them to enhance your solutions, generate your own ideas, etc. However, you must give proper and full credit to original authors of the work if you include their ideas or solutions (complete references and/or indication of quoted material are required).

·        Sharing information between PTs is encouraged. A PT using rephrased ideas from another PT must give a full reference to the “source PT.” A PT quoting text from another PT must clearly indicate the quotes and give a full reference.


Anybody found responsible for violation of academic honesty in the course, will receive a penalty up to and including an E grade in the class. Additional disciplinary actions can be taken by the Department, the College, and the University.



© 2006, 2007 by Leszek T. Lilien                                                       Last updated on 1/10/07