Small logo of ETH main building ETH Zurich : Computer Science : Pervasive Computing : Distributed Systems : Education : UC FS2017

Ubiquitous Computing

Prof. Dr. Friedemann Mattern
Dr. Simon Mayer
Lecture FS 2017


This lecture introduces the vision of ubiquitous computing and exposes students to the fundamental concepts and technologies in the area. The term "ubiquitous computing" describes the idea of incorporating sensing, computation, and communication into everyday things in order to make them and their surroundings "smart". Smart things can detect where they are, sense what is around them, and remember what they were used for previously. They may also interact with humans via mobile devices, use mighty services from the "cloud", and communicate with other smart real-world objects, forming an "Internet of Things".

With the fast technological progress in microelectronics and communication technology, the vision of smart environments seems to become realizable now. This development promises many interesting applications and novel business scenarios. In fact, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in computing - away from the desktop computer used as a tool, towards pervasive and invisibly embedded computers assisting people in a natural and unobtrusive way.

The lecture gives an overview of important technological developments in selected domains, which together contribute to the vision of smart environments and Ubiquitous Computing. It also discusses economic and social issues connected to these developments. Specific topics are:

  • The vision of Ubiquitous Computing
  • Technology trends
  • The Internet of Things and the Web of Things
  • RFID and passive Sensing
  • Wireless short-distance communication (Bluetooth, NFC)
  • Location awareness and location-based services
  • Embedded systems and smart cards
  • Applications and business scenarios
  • Social implications


Slides are provided a few days after the respective lecture has taken place. Please note: the exam covers everything that has been discussed during the lectures.


Date Slides (PDF)
21.02.2017 Introduction, Vision
07.03.2017 Vision, Moore's law
14.03.2017 Technical drivers
21.03.2017 Sensors, RFID Introduction
28.03.2017 RFID Technology
04.04.2017 No lecture
11.04.2017 RFID Technology and Applications

Time and Place:

In FS 2017, this course will be taught by Prof. Mattern and Dr. Mayer. (see the VVZ for details)


Date Time Location Lecturer
Tuesday 8-10 CAB  G 61  Prof. Dr. Friedemann Mattern
Block course:
08.05 15-19 CAB  H 52  Dr. Simon Mayer
09.05 15-19 CAB  H 52  Dr. Simon Mayer
22.05 15-19 CAB  H 52  Dr. Simon Mayer
23.05 15-19 CAB  H 52  Dr. Simon Mayer


If you have questions regarding the lecture, please contact Mihai B√Ęce.
ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated April 12 2017 10:34:54 PM MET sm