Pervasive Computing

By Bernhard Rinner

Pervasive computing integrates computation into the environment, rather than having computers which are distinct objects.  Computation is embedded into the environment and everyday objects and would enable people to interact with information-processing devices more naturally and casually than they currently do, and in ways that suit whatever location or context they find themselves in.

This lecture focuses on the fundamentals of pervasive computing and covers a variety of technological topics. The lecture is complemented by a dedicated lab courses where students can improve their practical skills.

  1. Introduction and motivation
  2. Trends and enabling technologies
  3. Wireless personal networking
  4. Localization
  5. Identification
  6. Context-awareness
  7. Sensor network
  8. Wearable computing
  9. Cooperation
  10. Middleware systems
  11. Non-technical aspects

The course takes place in the winter term and has two teaching units per week. Please check the AAU Campus site for details on schedule and lecture rooms.

Prerequisites and Related Courses

This course is intended for master students in ECE or CS and PhD students in engineering who have a master from a different field. The course aims to cover the key technological topics in the field of pervasive computing, and is therefore intentionally designed as an “overview course”. Participants should have passed (bachelor) courses on computer organization, computer networks and programming. This course is included in the catalogues “Networks and Communications: Advanced” and “ICE: Supplements”.

Related (master) courses include sensor networks (Rinner), mobile communications (Bettstetter), wireless networks (Bettstetter), digital signal processors (Rinner) and simulation of networked systems (Elmenreich).


The course material is available via the links below. Most of the documents are password protected. The password will be provided for enrolled students at the beginning of the course.


Grading of this course is composed by two components:

  • Presentation of an assigned topic.
    Topics and presentation schedule will be arranged within the first few weeks of the course
  • Written exam (75 minutes) at the end of the semester.
    No documents are allowed. The written exam can only be taken, if the student has successfully presented the assigned topic in that semester.
    Sample exam (PDF)

The overall grade is composed by the written exam (75%) and the student presentation (25%).

Student Presentations
  • Al Sayed, Gietler. Area Occupancy Counting Through Sparse Structural Vibration Sensing. (slides, summary)
  • Narjafi, Fasouli. Wearable Assistive Technologies for Autism: Opportunities and Challenges. (slides, summary)
  • Alakrhas, Pengili. Pervasive Agriculture: IoT-Enabled Greenhouse for Plant Growth Control. (slides, summary)
  • Caberlotto, Somero. Wearable Technology for Health. (slides, summary)


1. Introduction and Motivation

The vision of Pervasive Computing; A new era of computing

2. Trends and Enabling Technologies

Selected Trends in Computing and Communications; Enabling Technologies for Pervasive Computing; Related Fields

3. Wireless Personal Networking

Overview and Classification; Wireless Personal Area Networks; Wireless Local Area Networks

4. Localization

Fundamentals and Terminology; Satellite-based Positioning; Localization in WLANs; Methods for Improvement

5. Identification

Fundamentals; Biometrics; Radio Frequency Identification

6. Context-Awareness

Fundamentals; Context-aware Computing and Applications; Sensors; Sensor data analysis

7. Sensor Networks

Motivation Basic; Services Sensor; Network Platforms

8. Wearable Computing

Introduction; Wearable Computers; Interaction; Human-powered Wearable Computing

9. Cooperation

Multi-agent Systems; Decision Making

10. Middleware Systems

Introductions; Service-oriented Architectures; Middleware for Pervasive Computing Applications

11. Presence and Future (non-technical issues)

The current State; Example Applications and Case Studies; Discussion