Computer Laboratory

Course pages 2016–17

Mobile and Sensor Systems

Principal lecturer: Prof Cecilia Mascolo
Taken by: Part II
Past exam questions

No. of lectures: 8
Suggested hours of supervisions: 2
Prerequisite courses: Operating Systems, Concurrent and Distributed Systems


This course will cover topics in the area of mobile system and communication as well as sensor system and networking and the mixture of the two. It aims to help students develop and understand the additional complexity introduced by mobility, by sensors and by energy constraints and communication mechanisms of modern systems. The course will be using various applications to exemplify concepts.


  • Introduction to Mobile Systems. MAC Layer concepts. Examples of mobile systems, differences with non mobile systems. Introduction to MAC layer protocols of wireless and mobile systems.

  • Mobile Infrastructure Communication and Opportunistic Networking. Description of common communication architectures and protocols for mobile and introduction to models of opportunistic networking.

  • Introduction to Sensor Systems and MAC Layer concepts. Sensor systems challenges and applications. Concepts related to duty cycling and energy preservation protocols.

  • Sensor Systems Routing Protocols. Communication protocols, data aggregation and dissemination in sensor networks. Sensor Reprogramming and Management.

  • Mobile Sensing: Modelling and Inference Mobile and wearable sensing. Inference of activity. Modelling.

  • Mobile Sensing: Systems Considerations Considerations of energy preservation. Local computation vs cloud computation.

  • Privacy in Mobile and Sensor Systems Concepts of location privacy. Privacy and sensor based activity inference.

  • Internet of Things and Sensor Integration Protocols for networking in IoT. Sensor fusion in IoT. Examples.


On completing the course, students should be able to

  • describe similarities and differences between standard distributed systems and mobile and sensor systems;

  • explain the fundamental tradeoffs related to energy limitations and communication needs in these systems;

  • argue for and against different mobile and sensor systems architectures and protocols.

Recommended reading

* Schiller, J. (2003). Mobile communications. Pearson (2nd ed.).
* Karl, H. & Willig, A. (2005). Protocols and architectures for wireless sensor networks. Wiley.
Agrawal, D. & Zheng, Q. (2006). Introduction to wireless and mobile systems. Thomson.