SYSC 5306: Mobile Computing Systems (Winter 2012)


        None, the course is over.

In the Winter 2012 term, Thomas Kunz was 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. To find out more about the format of documents made available on this course webpage, read the comments on this page.

Some humorous links with information loosely connected to the course:

         A funny list of irreverent cellular acronyms

         For a funny take on computers and mobile devices, check out My Blackberry isnít working, which uses very British humour, so look at it at your own riskÖ To understand one of the puns: Orange is a cellular service provider in the UK.

         Here is another little fun fact: some academic colleague was successful publishing a journal paper with very little content. Even better, some 33 years later or so, others managed to publish a follow-up paper. However, in this course, Iíll expect a bit more content J.

         In the category of funny academic papers, here is another one. It is probably funnier once you had experience with the academic review process yourself though.

         We touch on security/encryption quite a bit in this course, if you want to learn the basic terminology, check out Bob and Alice (in particular this external link, which has a humorous description/introduction to the topic).

         Here is a link to the humorous description of Kerberos, a widely popular distributed authentication protocol

         Another topic we talk about in class are standards. Here is a funny story about the consequences of standards.

         As raised in class, there is a whole slew of RFCs to describe IP over Avian Carriers (goes to show that the IETF can have some fun as well J)


Some more factual/technical links:

         For those of you who are interested, here is a little fairy tale story about how signal processing works in the GSM system (explaining, among other things, what processing is needed why). While the discussion is specific to GSM, the general ideas are quite general and applicable to many wireless communication systems.

         IEEE Computer November 2010 had two interesting short articles related to the course: Gigabit WiFi and FCC Decision on Whitespace (3rd page of the file)

         IEEE Spectrum (January 2012) has an interesting overview article on LTE. One of the more interesting tidbits of information is right up front: smartphones can require as much as 115 MB/hour of bandwidth!

         WiFi Security: here is a CNN article on why it would be good to being able to authenticate the network. And here is another CNN article on the danger of using wireless networks without encryption.

         This article (with links to software packages) describes different WEP and WPA attacks

         We will talk about TCP and the issues TCP faces when running over wireless links. Here are two links about another recent issue with TCP: Bufferbloat and its impact on TCP latency. The first article is the more technical article, the second one a round-table discussion of some of the key Internet protocol architects on that topic

         An interesting networking paper is "End-to-End Arguments in System Design" by Saltzer et al. (which, according to Google Scholar, has been cited over 1940 times as of November 2011), and the key argument/principle also has its own Wikipedia entry

         And in terms of writing papers, here is a great blog entry about why some employers at least care about grammar/writing skills

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):

I put some of these books on reserve in the Carleton Library. They may provide a starting point when looking at possible research projects in the course. Of course, other topic suggestions are welcome and encouraged as well.

Some relevant links to get you started thinking about your research project:

Thanks to Ammar Mottie, 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

Reading papers, preparing presentations: the course will require you to (among other things) read papers, prepare a presentation, and engage in a course project, training your research skills. To prepare for these tasks, you should consult a number of online references on how to go about this (preparing a GOOD presentation or project report takes substantial effort):

         A short sequence of PPT transparencies from Nitin Vaidya on how to read, write, and present papers (postscript or HTML document).

         IEEE Computer, September 2005, had an interesting article on Presentation Skills.

         Another useful reference is the website Advice on Research and Writing and the Graduate Study in the Computer and Mathematical Sciences: A Survival Manual website.

         On the other hand, avoid the pitfalls identied in How to Have a Bad Career in Research/Academia.

         A (tongue-in-cheek) dictionary of "useful" research phrases.

         A lengthy but very interesting talk by Richard Hamming on what it takes to be a great researcher.

         An interesting editorial on what higher education should be about.

Plagiarism is unfortunately a not too infrequent problem in academia. I expect all submissions to clearly identify what sources/references have been used for what part of your submission. If you are unsure as to what constitutes plagiarism, please check this website.

Course handouts and other information, including assignments:

        Description of the course, marking scheme, etc.: as PDF file or as HTML document (last updated January 3)

        Information on working with Motes (password-protected)

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

As the slides will be updated, I will post them here for download and review, as PDF files and as HTML presentations. They are generated with Office 2007, so no guarantee that they look nice with any specific browser etc. The set of slides includes some I took from Prof. Schiller's slides for his textbook, a few slides are from the Tutorial on Wireless Sensor Networks by Deborah Estrin, Akbar Sayeed, and Mani Srivastava, and some slides are prepared by Nitin Vaidya for his tutorials on Mobile Ad Hoc Networks: Routing, MAC and Transport Issues and TCP for Wireless and Mobile Hosts:

Thomas Kunz