SYSC 5306: Mobile Computing Systems (Winter 2017)


         These pages will be updated and revised as we get closer to the Winter 2017 term.

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.

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.

         There is also 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:

         The Google project to provide wireless broadband services to underserviced regions is called Loon.

         We talked about spectrum auctions earlier in the term. Here is an article from The Globe and Mail (January 27) that touches on that topic as well, and how the rules for the upcoming auction have been set to advantage smaller players.

         According to Wikipedia, IPv4 address space is exhausted in some regions of the world: Three of the five RIRs have exhausted allocation of all the blocks they have not reserved for IPv6 transition; this occurred for the Asia-Pacific on 15 April 2011, for Europe on 14 September 2012, and for Latin America and the Caribbean on 10 June 2014.

         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!

         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 2400 times as of November 2014), 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):

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

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

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.

         Communications of the ACM, July 2016, had a practitioner article about Statistics for Engineers.

         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 identified 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.

         Finally, here is a book about 57 ways to screw up in grad school. University Affairs also published an interview with the authors of the book. Of course the position taken in this book also has its critics, see for example this opinion piece.

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 or this one.

Course handouts and other information, including assignments (all very much work in progress):

         Course handout, TBA

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