Pervasive Computing Links

You are welcome to examine this page, although it is not intended as a public page.  It is a collection of ideas and references for new courses in Pervasive Computing at Union College.  Comments to Doug Klein or Felmon Davis.

  Union CT Pervasive Computing links page 
Part of the Union College Converging Technologies web site.

  A rather interesting article on the social impact of pervasive computing can be found at

  Articles on pervasive computing from the IBM Journal (which includes some of the ones Tom passed out at our meeting this week) can be found at

  Collection of misc. articles on Pervasive Computing and Pervasive Technology, 2001-2002 (Click for zip file).

  Indiana University Creates Three New Tech Labs
A multi-million dollar Lilly Endowment grant has enabled Indiana University to launch three new laboratories to re- search diverse aspects of pervasive computing. Pervasive computing is the increasingly powerful integrated combination of high-speed computers and intelligent devices, ranging from scientific instruments of all kinds and sizes, to home appliances, low-cost ubiquitous sensors, personal communi- cators and information stores, and online digital libraries --all completely interconnected by wired and wireless net- works accessible anywhere in the world. Pervasive Technology Labs will ultimately house six distinct labs, including the Advanced Network Management Lab, Open Systems Lab, and Com- munity Grids Lab. Funded by a $30 million Lilly Endowment, Pervasive Technology Labs will contribute to the development of Indiana's information technology sector through technology transfer, commercialization of innovations produced in the labs, and joint research and development partnerships with industry.
For more information, visit

  Tech Museum Awards $250K to Humanitarians
Bunker Roy, representing The Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India, received a $50,000 Tech Museum Award in the education category for teaching practical technology skills, from solar power to rainwater harvesting systems, to India's rural poor. Roy was among five winners of the 2002 award, given to those who are applying technology to improve the quality of life around the world. "The Tech Awards bring to life one of the ideals of the UN -- the employment of technology to address the needs of all the world's peoples," said Michael Doyle, assistant Secretary General to the United Nations, which actively promotes the awards program. In making the awards, more than 460 nominations were reviewed by judging panels assembled by Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology, and Society. The 25 2002 finalists came from Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United States. For more information, visit

  Sniper Elusive Despite Surveillance
The Associated Press, Oct 16 2002 4:57PM

AOL has partnered with George Washington University to develop technology aimed at connecting homes and their appliances to the Web. Using a PC or Palm-like device and sensors, researchers will use wireless technology to connect such items as TVs, refrigerators, and alarm systems to monitor them over the Internet. The system would help firefighters locate a house on fire, and TVs would display different movies for different viewers. AOL will provide funding for the test prototype, gear, and academic grants. The team is creating its test site at GW's Ashburn, Va., campus. Currently, about 20 students and six teachers are involved in the project. (Washington Post, 26 April 2001)

  Pervasive Computing 2002  Focus: Pervasive Computing in Health Care
National Institute of Standards and Technology Gaithersburg, MD;  October 1-2, 2002
More information and on-line registration:

The two-year old Project Oxygen Alliance, a project at MIT, is working to develop a new, "smart" environment for computing and communication. Ken Steele, a research scientist at MIT, said the goal is to have computers that understand and communicate with people as if the devices were also people, similar to having a personal assistant for everyone. For example, in this new environment, a person could tell the computer to make plane reservations. The computer would understand speech, know the person's seat preference, and handle the entire process with no further input. Steele admitted that researchers don't have a clear vision of exactly what the completed project might look like, though some observers compare the project to the technology in the recent film "Minority Report," a science fiction thriller. NewsFactor Network, 25 June 2002

  Pervasive partnerships for the future - Pervasive computing in Australia.
By Adam Turner November 5 2002 -

  May 18, 2002 The path toward pervasive computing 
Michel Burger, CTO of Embrace Networks, presented the “The Path toward Pervasive Computing: A Network Approach.”People are appropriately beginning to think that the availability of the network is the norm rather than the exception. He explores how this can be best taken advantage of.

  Regional EDUCAUSE conference, "Visions, Expectations, and Reality: The Implications of Pervasive Computing", that will be held in Baltimore at the beginning of December. You should also be aware that this conference also has tracks that had previously been part of the Ubiquitous Computing Conference at Seton Hall University.

Today's researchers are compiling and analyzing an ever-increasing amount of digitized scientific data. Central databases of scientific knowledge allow researchers to approach questions from a comprehensive viewpoint. This has led to the integration of computer science and other core science fields, such as biology, said Stephen D. Prince of the University of Maryland, College Park. Systems biology, for example, focuses on translating biological functions into mathematical equations so that scientists can gain perspective on how their specific focus relates to the whole system. Several universities, including the University of California at San Diego, are now offering degrees in the field of bioinformatics, which concentrates on the interrelation of scientific research and computer data systems. (Chronicle of Higher Education, 29 June 2001)

  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 210. Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London <> <>  Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 07:07:47 -0700
GOAL: The goal of this series is to explore how emerging technologies will transform the presentation, communication, and our understanding of history and the humanities.

Many experts say that the next wave in computing, particularly for university and research purposes, will be grid computing. Grids are networks of computers, databases, and applications that combine to offer users huge gains in computational speed and the amount of resources available. Some experts suggest that grid computing will fundamentally alter the way we use computers. Rick Herrmann of Intel Corporation said that several countries, including China, are working to develop the best possible infrastructure to support grid computing. The best infrastructure, Herrmann said, will attract the brightest talent. Ian Foster of the University of Chicago, however, warns that it will take many years before the dream of grid computing is fully realized. Chronicle of Higher Education, 27 November 2002

  Grid Computing documents from IBM
Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger -  Kennedy Consulting Summit lecture, 11/29/01  Also a Powerpoint presentation

Beginning this fall, Auburn University will offer a bachelor's degree in wireless technology. The program is funded in part by a $25 million donation by Samuel Ginn, graduate of Auburn and former chairman of Vodafone. The degree program is part of the departments of electrical engineering and computer engineering and has an advisory board that includes members from Verizon Wireless, Nortel Networks, Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, and Vodafone. Despite a current wireless market that many on the board admit is a "little shaky," officials from those companies expect the industry to rebound and remain interested in graduates of the program. Victor Nelson, a professor at Auburn, said that between 30 and 50 students have already signed up for the program and that many more are expected to register during the fall semester. Wired News, 30 August 2002,1383,54536,00.html

  Smart Laundry Redux: Web-enabled Washers 
On Friday, we reported that Maytag Corp. was holding laundry seminars on various campuses to tout its smart washing machines, high-efficiency units equipped with horizontal-axis tumblers that promise to use 18 fewer gallons of water per load than the average top-loading washer. Not to be outdone, IBM Corp. and USA Technologies said they will Web-enable 9,000 washing machines and dryers at U.S. colleges, eliminating much of the hassle associated with dorm laundry operations. Called e-Suds, the systems replace coin-operated technology with a method that allows students to pay with an ID card or via cell phone. Students will be able to visit a website to find out when a machine is available and select functions, such as soap and fabric softener dispensing. When the wash is done, they'll be notified via an email sent to their pagers or PCs.

Embedded processors currently compose 90 percent of the total silicon processor market and 50 percent of overall chip revenue, said Embedded Processor Forum director Steve Liebson. Because they are less complex than the processors in PCs, which must support multiple tasks, embedded processors cost less to make and are far more reliable. At this month's Embedded Processor Forum, makers of embedded processors showed why their segment of the IT industry remains upbeat during the current economic downturn. For example, PMC-Sierra showcased its RM9000x2 multiprocessor, which features a single die containing two 64-bit processors that together provide 1 GHz of speed. IBM displayed its Gekko processor, built for Nintendo's GameCube, a next-generation game console, and LSI Logic unveiled its LiquidLogic core, which is a basic logic chip--inexpensive, with low power consumption and high performance--that can be reconfigured as if it were a programmable chip. (eWeek, 18 June 2001)

A scientist at IBM is working on a "Hippocratic database" that he says is based on a code of responsibility for the data it holds. Rakesh Agrawal's idea was influenced by his brother, a doctor, who pointed out that the Hippocratic Oath is a strong foundation for people's trust in their doctors. Agrawal's database goes beyond basic rules for handling data, including reasons why each piece of data is collected and limits on how long those data should be kept. Data that are no longer needed are deleted from the database. Rules in the functioning of the database allow enforcement of the underlying policies for what data are collected, how they are used, and how long they are kept. According to Agrawal, a World Wide Web Consortium standard that aims for the same level of trust lacks any provision for enforcement.    PCWorld, 27 August 2002

A new service from IBM will allow users running Linux to buy infrastructure over the Internet. [This is what IBM now is calling "computing on demand" - DK] The Linux Virtual Services program is the newest step in IBM's utility computing effort, in which customers purchase computing power and storage from a remote, host company. IBM spokesperson Jim Larkin said the project is important because it is the first to deliver true infrastructure over the Web. IBM claims that even with falling hardware costs, the utility computing model offers a competitive price and benefits, including lower personnel overhead. Some analysts agree, saying that as technologies mature, utility computing will become increasingly common. NewsFactor Network, 1 July 2002

  Global Wireless Education Consortium
GWEC is a membership organization established in 1997 and composed of corporate leaders in the wireless industry and educational partners with the desire to integrate wireless technology into their current curricula. Thanks to strong and, quite frankly, amazing collaboration, GWEC has created a basic wireless curriculum that is available to 65 GWEC member colleges and universities worldwide for full or partial integration. The modular format for the curriculum was selected to allow for maximum flexibility and use, and all modules (46 at present) are being updated regularly to reflect changes in the technology.  (See list of curriculum module titles/topics attached; also please visit the Web site at

  EUROPEAN WORKSHOP ON MOBILE AND CONTEXTUAL LEARNING. June 20th and 21st, University of Birmingham, UK are now available on the Workshop Website at

  UCLA Med Mobilizes Student Web Applications 
The UCLA School of Medicine is mobilizing its web infrastructure to enable key student information to be made accessible to medical students via their personal digital assistants. The school installed a wirelelss server and developed custom applications, such as handbooks for clinical clerkship rotations, Office of Student Affairs information and emergency guidelines. Other applications being rolled out include a patient log application and a course and rotation evaluation survey application. Bob Trelease, associate director of the school's instructional design and technology Unit said students, "are extremely mobile by their third year of medical school," adding that "PDAs will be as common as the stethoscope" in medicine in the future. To set up the wireless program, the school installed wireless enterprise server software from AvantGo Inc.

  Physicians Group Launches PDA Info Clearinghouse 
pdaMD, a provider of handheld computing technology for physicians, said it would create a PDA Center for the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), the national organization of internal medicine specialists. The PDA Center will provide physicians access to a library of medically oriented handheld applications, advanced customization options to speed deployment, and dedicated support personnel. Handheld technology has become increasingly important in today's medical environment, providing improved access to critical information such as drug prescribing data, treatment strategies, patient history and reference material, all at the point of care. According to a 2001 ACP-ASIM survey of 489 members, 47 percent were found to use handheld computers, and usage among internists is expected to increase. For more information, visit: 

  San Diego State Secures Healthcare Network 
San Diego State University has licensed secure networking technology that will enable student patients or student health service staff to communicate securely via the Internet. The customized messaging technology, from Healinx Corp., would protect online prescription ordering, routing and renewals, online appointment scheduling, lab results, referrals, and medically reviewed content. Greg Lichtenstein, medical director of SDSU, said, "with our highly mobile population, it has often been difficult to contact our patients -- even those with cell phones -- and we are pleased to be able to use a secure messaging system to improve communications." Under the agreement, Healinx will deliver a co-branded version of its secure messaging platform for SDSU. To encourage usage, SDSU Student Health Services will actively promote the online service to the student population.

The two-year old Project Oxygen Alliance, a project at MIT, is working to develop a new, "smart" environment for computing and communication. Ken Steele, a research scientist at MIT, said the goal is to have computers that understand and communicate with people as if the devices were also people, similar to having a personal assistant for everyone. For example, in this new environment, a person could tell the computer to make plane reservations. The computer would understand speech, know the person's seat preference, and handle the entire process with no further input. Steele admitted that researchers don't have a clear vision of exactly what the completed project might look like, though some observers compare the project to the technology in the recent film "Minority Report," a science fiction thriller. NewsFactor Network, 25 June 2002

A new project from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has as its goal the "total reinvention of technologies for storing and accessing information." The Total Information Awareness (TIA) system, which will be funded by grants from DARPA, is an attempt by the federal government to construct a highly data-intensive system that can spot clues to terrorist plans long before they come to fruition. Grant applicants are warned that no money will be invested in "research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to existing technology"; officials are committed to a fundamental redesign of technology. TIA plans call for unprecedented amounts of data, measured in petabytes, to be stored and accessed. Civil liberties groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation find the prospect of such a system very worrisome without strict rules to prevent it from becoming a powerful secret spy machine. Wired News, 7 August 2002,2100,54342,00.html

Six Japanese firms--Fujitsu, Hitachi, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, NEC, and Toshiba--will each contribute about $85 million a year to form a new company, called Aspla, to design new computer chips. Another $268 million will come from the Japanese government to support the flagging Japanese technology industry. The company will focus its efforts on "system-on-a-chip" platforms, which are designed to link various electronic devices. The so-called SoC technology will be in great demand if predictions are correct that devices such as cell phones and digital TVs will communicate with each other and all link to the Internet. Other companies, including Sanyo, Sharp, and Sony, will contribute funding to the new company but will not participate in research. Associated Press, 13 July 2002

New wearable computers and retinal scanning devices are enabling more people to adopt a "connected" lifestyle. Thad Starner, an assistant professor of computer science at Georgia Tech, uses a wearable device composed of a mini-monitor mounted on his eyeglasses and a portable computer keyboard that he needs only one hand to operate. Another cyborg pioneer, Steve Mann of the University of Toronto, uses a viewing device called the Eye Tap, which allows other people to see what he sees and enter in data that appears superimposed on his vision. Mann said his wife helps him buy the correct groceries at the supermarket through the device by "scribbling" on his retina. Many on the forefront of wearable computer technology are quick to point out that pervasive computing is much closer than most realize and that the popularization of PDAs, cell phones, and computerized health aids is taken for granted as progress toward real cybernetics. (USA Today, 2 July 2001)

The Federal Aviation Administration has given its approval to Connexion, a product from Boeing that provides in-flight access to broadband network services. Passengers will be able to access high-speed Internet connections, e-mail, and broadband entertainment offerings including real-time television. A three-month certification trial was performed on a Boeing aircraft to ensure no interference between Connexion and the other electronic systems of the plane. German airline Lufthansa is expected to be the first carrier to offer the service in late 2002. Associated Press, 7 May 2002 (registration req'd)

  PBS Launches First Web-Only Non-Fiction Series 
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) launched its first program to run exclusively on the World Wide Web. The series, P.O.V. Borders, was webcast on Oct. 9. It was the first of 10 weekly installments of the series, which discusses the idea of physical and metaphysical borders that challenge peoples’ ideas about individual, cultural, and geographic boundaries. The series is a prototype for an expanded project set to begin in 2003. The producers said they hope the initial webcast will appeal to Internet users interested in point-of-view perspectives and educators in search of issue-based materials. "P.O.V.'s Borders is an extension of our continued interest in … innovative, interactive methods of presenting non-fiction film," said P.O.V. executive director, Cara Mertes. "It is our hope that the series will [be] a model for high-quality, compelling and sustainable storytelling that inspires civic engagement online.”
For more information, visit:

Jane Margolis of UCLA and Carnegie Mellon University's Allan Fisher propose ways that high schools and colleges can encourage more women to take computer science courses in their new book, "Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing." The authors contend that society discourages women from taking an interest in computer science as early as childhood, while a prevailing "geek culture" further estranges them. Margolis and Fisher conducted a four-year study of female Carnegie Mellon students as the university retooled its school of computer science, instituting new admissions policies, community groups, and interdisciplinary courses. These programs, along with a "ferocious attention to the quality of student experience," have yielded positive results, according to the professors. Between 1995 and 2000, the percentage of female computer science majors leapt from just 7 percent to roughly 40 percent. Furthermore, the concluding surveys indicated that female students were no more likely than their male counterparts to leave the major, whereas they were twice as likely to do so in 1995. (Chronicle of Higher Education Online, 25 January 2002)

In a decision that surprised many observers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that ID chips from Applied Digital Solutions (ADS) can be implanted in people without regulation, provided the chips are used for "security, financial, and personal identification or safety applications." The chips can also be used for medical purposes--providing emergency-room personnel with medical histories, for example--but the FDA ruling does not apply to such cases. An FDA investigator had previously commented that all other implantable devices, such as those for cosmetic purposes, are subject to FDA regulation. After the recent announcement, that investigator deferred questions to the FDA press office. 
Wired News, 23 October 2002,1283,55952,00.html

This week MIT began placing courseware online as part of its OpenCourseWare project ( MIT opted not to develop a for-profit learning initiative, as some other colleges and universities have, choosing instead to make its courseware open to the public online. MIT plans to put lecture notes, assignments, syllabi, tutorials, video simulations, and reading lists from over 2,000 courses on the site over the next ten years, though no credit will be offered for those who complete the assignments. Questions remain about technology tools for the site and intellectual property issues, but a representative of the program said that so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Critics said the offerings so far are limited and that merely posting such resources online does not substitute for an education at MIT. Officials from OpenCourseWare agreed that the experience of learning at MIT is not replicated by the program, but they hope that it will serve as a model for other institutions to disseminate their own resources. Wired News, 4 October 2002,1383,55507,00.html

  THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT BUFFALO has created a "supercomputer cluster
at a fraction of the cost of a conventional supercomputer by linking more than 2,000 standard servers through fast network switches. The mammoth cluster, unveiled Tuesday, will become the computational workhorse for a new bioinformatics center at the university.

  BBC Zen garden secrets revealed 
Creating the perfect Zen garden is now possible, thanks to the work of a team at Kyoto University in Japan. Zen gardens and the art of invisible trees Daily Telegraph Zen Garden's Calming Effect Due to Subliminal Image? National Geographic

  Boundaries: Technology and the Natural World, a Humanities and Technology Conference 
at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, to be held this October. The call for entries is at:  

IBM opened a $2.5 billion microprocessor facility this week in East Fishkill, New York, saying that the new plant is the "most advanced of its kind." It is the first large-scale facility to produce chips on 300 millimeter wafers rather than typical 200 millimeter ones, allowing the company to save more than 30 percent of production costs. The plant will mass-produce chips thinner than 0.1 micron and will also allow for circuits smaller than 100 nanometers. The opening of the plant comes amid tough times for IBM and for the semiconductor industry at large. An official with IBM said the facility is an investment in the future, pointing out that the industry is cyclical. NewsFactor Network, 1 August 2002 

  Digital Worlds Institute 
The Digital Worlds Institute exists to nurture leading edge research and education between engineering and the arts, utilizing the tools of digital technology and culture. By bringing together the diverse talents of University of Florida faculty, students, and staff in a multifaceted collaborative environment, the Institute serves as a platform for interdisciplinary research that would not have occurred within the confines of any one college or department. Through the use of telecommunications and high performance technologies, the Institute reaches out across the campus, state, nation, and the world to share new tools and opportunities with creative people everywhere. 

  U. Chicago Lauded for Work in Bioinformatics 
Sun Microsystems, Inc. named the University of Chicago one of its Centers of Excellence in Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Medical Informatics. The university is one of a group of schools Sun has identified which are doing groundbreaking research in the field of computational biology, which is becoming essential to all aspects of biological research, especially work in the human genome. To further its work, the university will use Sun technology to build a data warehouse linking genomic data to patient genetic and clinical data generated by researchers at Chicago and its worldwide network partners. 

  Potential speakers:

Page last modified 12/17/02 .  Additions, corrections, comments to Doug Klein