EECS 598: Interactive Distributed Embedded Systems


A course on Interactive Distributed Embedded Systems will be offered in Winter, 2013. Embedded systems are computers within other devices such as automobiles, medical devices, and wireless sensor networks. This course will survey the field and introduce open research topics in the design of reliable, high-performance, low power consumption, inexpensive embedded systems composed of multiple, distributed special-purpose computers.

Monday and Wednesday meetings will be used to build a broad understanding of the field via lectures and discussing research papers as well as practical technical documents. Friday meetings will be used to cover embedded system design and implementation, with a special focus on the course projects.

Many projects initiated in past offerings of a closely related course (Embedded System Design and Synthesis) have led to publications in top conferences and journals. One is now a widely-used commercial product. Projects in this course will completed by small teams. They will generally involve the construction of a prototype distributed interactive embedded system to solve a new problem or better solve one that was intractable in the past. The embedded systems will contain multiple components that are physically distributed. Therefore, many will rely on wireless communication. They will also interact with their environments and/or owners via sensors and actuators. The use of two common development platforms (which may be deeply customized for individual projects) will be encouraged. One platform will be used for inexpensive, compact, low-power nodes. The other for nodes with greater communication, computation, and user interface capabilities. I have platforms in mind (with which I have prior experience), but this will also be open to suggestions from students during the first couple of weeks of class.

The course is appropriate for graduate students and ambitious undergraduates. A number of undergraduates who took past offerings of the course went on to study for doctorates.


Tentative lists of topics follows, although these may change slightly before January based on changing interests of the instructor, and in early January based on the interests of students in the course.

The first list contains topics appropriate for a broad understanding of the field.

The second list contains topics providing context for, and illustrations of, the concepts in the first list. These topics are intended to connect general knowledge of the field and specific student projects. Coverage of the topics in the two lists will be interleaved.

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