George Mason University



CS 499 - 002 Pervasive and Embedded Computing


Spring 2011


Thursday 4:30 – 7:10 P.M.
Innovation Hall 204


Instructor: Dr. Hakan Aydin


Description: As opposed to the early years of Computer and Information Technology where the emphasis was on centralized and general-purpose computers, exemplified primarily by mainframes and personal desktop computers, we are now living in an increasingly digital world. This "brave new world" is often characterized by large number of  inter-connected small foot-print computing and communication devices that use wireless networks.


Pervasive Computing (also known as Ubiquitous Computing) refers to a new class of applications based on small, inexpensive, and networked devices that "instrument" the physical world and make the computers almost "invisible" while making our daily lives easier. Examples include smart homes, smart spaces, wireless sensor networks for environmental/habitat monitoring, wearable computers for virtual reality and health monitoring, among many others.  On the other hand, Embedded Computers are part of larger and special-purpose systems that interact with real world in real-time. As such, they typically involve control and monitoring of critical functions, and require different design techniques. More than 99% of all processors sold world-wide each year are deployed in embedded systems -- they are everywhere: cell phones,  PDAs, DVD and multimedia players, cameras and office appliances, automobile engines, aircraft/spacecraft control systems, industrial automation systems, health informatics, nuclear plant control systems. Pervasive and embedded computing can and often do intersect, such as in the case of wireless sensor networks deployed in a "pervasive” monitoring application deploying embedded CPUs in a sensor mote. While they offer great promises, the pervasive and embedded computers often have to meet strict operational constraints with limited resources (limited memory, battery power, CPU frequency). As a result,  a significant body of current Computer Science research is devoted to these systems.


This course provides an introduction to Pervasive & Embedded Computing areas, with special emphasis on the underlying Computer Science related challenges and current solution approaches.


Prerequisites:  Grade of C or better in CS 310 and CS 367.


Tentative List of Topics:






Homeworks may include material from reading assignments. Violations of GMU Honor Code will result in an F.

Term Project: Each student is expected to complete a term project and submit a research paper/report by the end of the term. Students are allowed to work in groups (of two) for the term project. The term project will also include an in-class presentation at the end of the term. A list of potential project topics will be provided; but the students may define their own project as long as the project has sufficient scope/complexity and the instructor's approval is obtained. A term project may be in any of the following forms:



Book: There is no required textbook, as most of the course material will be disseminated through lectures, and articles from recent issues of publications such as IEEE Computer, Communications of the ACM, IEEE Pervasive Computing, IEEE Internet Computing. However, the following books provide in-depth coverage of some of the topics that will be discussed in class and they are recommended:

Ubiquitous Computing: Smart Devices, Environments and Interactions (by Stefan Poslad, Wiley, 2009).

Computers as Components: Principles of Embedded Computing System Design (by Wayne Wolf, Morgan Kaufmann, 2nd Edition, 2008).

Protocols and Architectures for Wireless Sensor Networks (by Holger Karl & Andreas Willig, Wiley, 2007).


Instructor Office Hours: Wednesday 7:25 PM – 8:25 PM, Thursday 7:25 PM – 8:25 PM, and by appointment.

Course Web Page: