SYSC 5306: Mobile Computing Systems (Winter 2017)


·         I selected and post three course projects that I liked particularly well (I will still have some comments about them J) for your information. These reports are for the most part well written, have a brief but pointed introduction to the problem, provide an extensive survey of related work, show a non-trivial evaluation of the reviewed papers, and finish with a quite detailed proposed future research: what to do, why to do it, how to evaluate the proposed improvements, and what results to expect.

·         Sample report 1

·         Sample report 2

·         Sample report 3

In the Winter 2017 term, Thomas Kunz is teaching a graduate course on Mobile Computing (course description can be found here). As more information becomes available, it will be posted on this page.

·         Page with some fun/humorous takes on wireless networks

·         Page with news/updates related to wireless networks

·         Page with information (hopefully) helpful for doing successful research

As usual in a graduate course, no single textbook covers all the topics we will touch on. However, fairly complete coverages of the course content can be found in:

·         Mobile Communications, 2nd edition, by Jochen Schiller, Pearson Education Limited 2003, ISBN 0-321-12381-6.

·         Ad Hoc Wireless Networks: Architectures and Protocols, by C. Siva Ram Murthy and B.S. Manoj, Prentice Hall 2004, ISBN 0-13-147023-X (despite the title, it also covers many cellular/WLAN topics briefly).

Also, in particular as a starting point for the course project, you may want to look at the following books (in addition to the references provided in the Appendix section on the website):

Finally, here are links to three open access books on wireless networks/wireless sensor networks that also may be of interest to you:

·         Mobile Ad Hoc Networks: Applications

·         Mobile Ad Hoc Networks: Protocol Design

·         Wireless Sensor Networks

Course handouts and other information, including assignments:

·         Course handout (as of December 19, 2016)

·         For the course assignments, you will need to design and run networking experiments and analyze the results. You have a choice of either NS2 (an older, widely used network simulator for MANET research in particular) or Cooja (based on Contiki OS, it provides a fairly complete set of relevant protocols for WSN and IoT).

·         Network Simulator 2:

·         A guide to installing a Linux Virtual Machine on Windows PCs. Please note that the instructions are from 2 years ago, so the version numbers are not the most recent ones. But the overall set of instructions is still valid. However, should you use the prepared image that you download from the course website, re-install “Guest Additions” (under “Devices”) to ensure it matches your version of VirtualBox.

1.      An alternative step-by-step description can be found here

·         Some comments on installing NS2

·         Working with NS2

·         Cooja/Contiki OS: Alternatively, you can do the assignments with Cooja, the simulator for WSN and based on the Contiki OS (recently re-branded as the Open Source Operating System for the Internet of Things).

·         Similar to NS2, you can download a virtual image and use that for your working environment. Follow the instructions on the Getting Started page.

·         Once you have the virtual machine up and running, you may have to work on some basic maintenance tasks: update the software to the latest version, install the latest version of VMWare Tools, etc. You will need root privileges for any of that, the root password is the same as the account: user. It should be sufficient to simply follow the prompts.

·         Assignment 1 handout (as of January 24). In preparing your experiments and report, you should apply the recommendations from the following papers: Simulations in Wireless Sensor and Ad Hoc Networks: Matching and Advancing Models, Metrics, and Solutions, MANET Simulation Studies: The Incredibles, and On the Credibility of Manet Simulations

·         This paper provides some of the results you were asked to derive experimentally in an analytical fashion (if you found it and used it, it would have helped to validate your work). The key parameters this paper studies (besides protocol-specific parameters that I rules off-limits) are: number of nodes, packet size, and CSMA/CA vs. CSMA/CA with RTS/CTS.

·         I read through all reports and sent individual comments. Again, for your information, here are my comments on factors you plan to study, and also a sample assignment submission from one group that was well done. Overall, the submissions were a bit disappointing: we spent a number of lectures on how to do simulation studies. I also pointed you to a number of papers on how to do this (and what pitfalls to avoid), see above. You should apply these insights and lessons when planning and conducting your own simulation experiments. This will also be true for the second assignment, which again will ask you to design experiments to evaluate some protocol performance using NS2.

·         Assignment 2 handout. There are three papers referenced in the assignment handout, you can access them here: paper 1, paper 2, paper 3. In addition to the individual feedback, here are some overall comments and observations.

·         Course Project: throughout the term, I’ve provided comments and suggestions on the final project, in particular on the project proposals and the assignments. Please make sure that you read and adhere to these comments (posted below) as much as possible:

·         Feedback on project proposals: I summarized some key observations in this document. It points to a “style guide” that I have written for my own graduate students. Please adhere to the advice/rules in this document when preparing your final report (would also be helpful for the assignment report, but I will pay more attention in the final report for the course project).

·         General comments on the in-class presentations.

·         The project does NOT require you to actually run any simulations. If you do so, it would be a bonus, but that should not be the focus of your efforts.

·         The project does, however, expect you to identify a research problem and review and evaluate the state-of-the-art solutions to that problem. Once you know the strengths and weaknesses of existing solutions, PROPOSE a new solution that would arguable advance the current state-of-the-art. You have to explain in what way you think your proposal would improve on the existing work. So a generic project structure/outline would be

1.      Problem Statement (keep it short, maybe 1 page)

2.      Review of State-of-the-Art (at most 10 pages)

1.      Evaluation Criteria

2.      Brief Description of Selected Solutions that claim to address the problem

3.      Evaluation: strengths, weaknesses, shortcomings, gaps. Note that one possible outcome is that certain approaches may be quite good/cover most of the researched problem and should therefore be used as a basis for future work. Another outcome of course could be that none of the proposals is really satisfactory. And then there are all the possibilities in between.

3.      Research Proposal (remaining pages)

1.      Outline of your proposal

2.      Discussion of expected benefits over previously reviewed solutions (based on the evaluation criteria defined earlier)

3.      Description of research plan: how would you demonstrate that your proposal does indeed have the expected benefits? Simulations? Testbed implementations? Provide some details such as specific scenarios, tools to use in a testbed implementation, etc.

4.      References (within 15 pages for total report)

·         Final Exams: here are example final exams from previous years, together with a sample solution (i.e., possible or expected answers):

·         Exam 1, Sample Solution 1

·         Exam 2, Sample Solution 2

·         Exam 3, Sample Solution 3

·         Exam 4, Sample Solution 4

·      PDF version of the actual final exam and my sample solution.

·      It quickly becomes apparent who has taken an in-depth look at the sample exams I posted. As some obviously missed it: Question 3 on the final exam was used in both Sample Exam 2 and Sample Exam 4 (with a detailed answer), so I assumed that this question at least would be trivial…. L

·      Another common observation: you only get marks if you actually addressed the question. Question 4 is a good example. Some of you explained, in great detail, how Mobile IP works and the mobility management in CDPD. But that was NOT what the question asked. It asked you to compare the two, listing SIMILARITIES and DIFFERENCES, and whether any of this matters to the end user.

Course material (password-protected, will be updated throughout the term):

As the slides will be updated, I will post them here for download and review, as PDF files in an easy-to-print 2 slides per page format. The set of slides includes some I adapted from Prof. Schiller's slides for his textbook.

Thomas Kunz