Small logo of ETH main building ETH Zurich : Computer Science : Pervasive Computing : Distributed Systems : Education : UC FS2016

Ubiquitous Computing

Dr. Simon Mayer
Lecture FS 2016 (block course)

Update: The exam inspection will be on Monday, 19th of September, 11:00-12:30 in CAB H 53 and on Friday, 30th of September, 10:00-11:30 Uhr in CNB H 100.5.


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.

March Session Slides

May Session Slides

Time and Place:

In FS 2016, this course will be taught as a block course in two blocks of six lectures each (see the VVZ for details)


21.03 14-18 CAB  G 61 
22.03 14-18 ML  E 12 
23.03 14-18 HG  E 3 
09.05 14-18 LFW  E 11 
10.05 14-18 LFW  E 11 
11.05 14-18 LFW  E 11 


If you have questions regarding the lecture, please contact Simon Mayer.
ETH ZurichDistributed Systems Group
Last updated June 20 2023 01:45:12 PM MET sm