Ubiquitous Computing: Smart Devices, Environments and Interactions

Book Exercises

Stefan Poslad

(Wiley, ISBN: 978-0-470-03560-3 Hardcover 450 pages, 1st April 2009)

Exercises by chapter:

Chapter 1 (Ubiquitous Computing: Basics and Vision)

Chapter 2 (Applications: Past and Present)

Chapter 3 (Smart Devices and Services)

Chapter 4 (Smart Mobile Devices Networks and Cards)

Chapter 5 (Human Computer Interaction)
Chapter 6 (Smart Environments: Tagging, Sensing, Control of the Physical World)

Chapter 7 (Context-aware Systems)
Chapter 8 (Smart Interaction: Intelligent Systems)

Chapter 9 (Intelligent Interaction)

Chapter 10 (Autonomous Systems and Artificial Life)
Chapter 11 (Communication Networks)

Chapter 12 Smart Device Management)

Chapter 13 (Challenges and Outlook)

Chapter 1  (1 Ubiquitous Computing: Basics and Vision)

  1. Suggest some new ways to advance the personal visual memory application introduced into Section 1.1.1 (Hint:  what if the camera was wearable? What if the camera supported other forms of image processing such as text recognition? Etc).
  2. Discuss why a paperless information environment in the world has not occurred but why a film-less photography world seems to be occurring. Compare and contrast the use of paper, photographs versus computer pads as information systems with respect to their support for the UbiCom requirements.
  3. Give some further examples of ubiquitous computing applications today and propose future ones.
  4. Analyse three different definitions of ubiquitous computing and distinguish between them.
  5. Debate the benefits for Ubiquitous Systems: to support a strong notion of autonomy, to support a strong notion of intelligence.
  6. Outline the five core properties that characterise UbiCom systems.
  7. Debate whether ubiquitous systems must fully support all of the five Ubiquitous system properties.
  8. Debate whether or not the five Ubiquitous system properties are independent or are highly interlinked.
  9. Outline some of the core concepts: of ubiquitous computing. Describe how ubiquitous computing extends the mobile computing model.
  10. Explain the following ubiquitous computing visions and definitions: invisible computing, era of many computers per person, opposite of virtual reality, context-awareness, and the evolving Web
  11. Debate the need for UbiCom systems to be intelligent, Argue for and against this.
  12. Debate the point whereas mainstream computer science focuses on computer to computer interaction, Ubiquitous computing in addition focuses strongly on ICT device - physical world interaction, ICT device Human interaction and Human – physical world interaction.
  13. Describe the range of interactions between humans and computers, computers and the physical world and humans and the physical world. Illustrate your answer with specific UbiCom system applications.
  14. Compare and contrast the following three designs for UbiCom systems called smart devices, smart environment and smart interaction.
  15. Discuss how each of the following types of UbiCom systems called smart devices, smart environment and smart interaction support the five core properties of UbiCom systems.
  16. Distinguish between the following types of UbiCom: mobile systems, wireless systems, distributed computing, ubiquitous computing services.
  17. Mobile communication is often considered to be synonymous with wireless communication. Debate for and against this idea.
  18. Define the characteristics of a mobile device.
  19. Consider if tap and pad sized devices could ever converge into a single form of device.
  20. The four scenarios in chapter one, compare and contrast manual versus automated services, circa 2010. Contrast these scenarios with your own scenarios of
  21. Consider how smart devices support the five main types of UbiCom property:

Chapter 2 (Applications: Past and Present)

  1. Define the following types of computing: affective computing (Section 5), amorphous computing, calm computing, context-aware computing, esoteric computing, spray computing, wearable computing and ubiquitous computing, then compare and contrast them.
  2. In terms of the six forms for UbiCom given in the introduction section: tabs, pads, boards, dust, skin and clay. How would you classify the form for the calm computing artefact, the vibrating string?
  3. Discuss the ICT and HCI challenges in developing smart tables, smart walls, smart glass, smart mirrors, smart furniture etc.
  4. Define Mann’s three criteria for wearable computers, Discuss whether or not devices such as laptops, mobile phones and wrist-watches information devices fulfil these criteria.
  5. Discuss how to design a UbiCom system to support Abowd and Mynatt’s (2000) design principles for supporting daily informal activities.
  6. What is Ambient intelligence? Give some examples? Does smart environment interaction really need intelligence?
  7. Consider how the Cooltown model could be deployed beneficially at work or home.
  8. Compare and contrast Abowd and Mynatt’s (2000) design principles versus Johanson et al’s design principles for the interactive work-spaces.
  9. Compare and contrast the Weiser idea of calm computing with the Philips Homelab ideas of  supporting the need to belong and share experiences, the need for thrills, excitement and relaxation and the need to balance and organize our lives.
  10. Compare and contrast smart electronic boards with smart electronic tables, e.g., Sony DataTiles, as collaborative devices. Also discuss the type of intrinsic HCI model they support.
  11. Think up your own tangible UbiCom devices and discuss their benefits and design challenges.
  12. Discuss the Joy visions of the six Webs, to what extent is this occurring and is it feasible?
  13. Discuss the state of the art of how well broadband television, Internet and (narrow-band) phone services can be interlinked to form a so called triple-play provision service.
  14. Define your own triple-play, quad-play, pentad-play etc service bundles along with suitable UbiCom access devices and justify their utility.
  15. Compare and contrast how monetary payment for services could differ in the future compared to the current practice. Illustrate your answer using some specific applications.
  16. Devise some new ways of using UbiCom systems to enhance current daily activities.
  17. What is a personal space? Show how UbiCom systems can help promote a personal space.


Chapter 3  (Smart Devices and Services )

  1. Discuss the difference between system designs based upon abstractions versus virtualisation
  2. Compare and contrast the following architectural models for service access: client-server model application server model, middleware service model, service oriented computing model and peer to peer model.
  3. Discuss designs for a range of smart device applications based upon the amount of communication, local data storage and local data processing that they require.
  4. Discuss whether or not the message broadcast or flooding techniques used in P2P networks to locate unknown P2P nodes, can also be used more generally for UbiCom service discovery.
  5. What is a multi-tier server model? Compare and contrast a thin client server model versus a fat client server tow tier model. Give some examples of three, four, five and six tier models.
  6. Describe three different designs for partitioning and distributing: (i) communication, (ii) processing and (iii) data resources.
  7. Describe the benefits of a proxy-based service access model; outline a proxy-based design for mobile service access.
  8. Compare and contrast the following system component interaction paradigms for UbiCom system components: (Remote) Procedure Call, Object-oriented interaction, layered network interaction, pipes and filters, shared repository.
  9. Characterise a P2P model The P2P model needs more complex synchronisation compared to the client-server model, why?
  10. Compare and contrast the following sub-types of P2P model: pure, partial and hybrid decentralised P2P; Unstructured overlay networks and structured overlay networks
  11. Compare and contrast device based service access versus Web Service based access with respect to the different phases of the service provision and access life-cycle.
  12. Discuss the design trade-off in supporting asynchronous versus synchronous communication for mobile users over wireless links.
  13. Argue for system designs that separate coordination or control from computation. Then discuss the pros and cons of object-oriented versus event-driven versus blackboard repository type coordination.
  14. What extension have been proposed to the tuple space model as used in the event-heap mode?

Chapter 4 (Smart Mobile Devices Networks and Cards)

  1. Characterise the type of mobility in the following types of devices with respect to the classification  of mobility given in 4.2.3: WLAN transmitters, computer, phone, smart card, camera, television and printer.
  2. Describe the characteristics of smart devices and highlight those features which are of particular importance in mobile devices.
  3. In order to simplify access by applications and users, mobility, e.g., how to locate and address mobile users, how to route data to mobile receivers, should be transparent. Compare and contrast three kinds of transparency for mobile services: user virtual environments (UVE), mobile virtual terminals (MVT) and virtual resource management (VRM).
  4. Compare and contrast two possible solutions to handle Denial of Service (DoS) can occur when mobile device gets stolen or left behind.
  5. Discuss the motivation for using mobile code. Discuss some designs for mobile code based upon on where code executes and who determines when mobility occurs. Outline the security challenges and give some solutions to deal with this.
  6. Compare and contrast: SMS, WAP and i-mode as mobile information service infrastructures; designs based upon  three tier versus two tier and fat-client versus  thin-client, with or without client-proxy, server architectures; technology models for mobile data communication devices such as J2ME and .NET CF.
  7. Compare and contrast how contact versus contactless smart cards work.
  8. Why are smart cards seen as privacy invasive technologies?
  9. Outline the design issues in developing  a smart card application.
  10. Compare and contrast service discovery technologies such as Jini, UPnP, Bluetooth, UDDI etc, with respect to the: type of white versus yellow versus green lookup services; type of service matching such as exact, wild-card, conditional and semantic matching; time-to-live of services; unicast versus multicast.
  11. What is OSGI? Discuss how OSGI can be used in a multi-vendor device discovery environment.
  12. Compare and contrast a microkernel operating system with a monolithic operating system plus middleware service model. Which is better for use in handheld mobile devices?
  13. Discuss the design of an OS for mobile use to deal with the higher prevalence of heterogeneous mobile access terminals; the need to dynamically route messages as the user moves, the need to deal with resource constrained devices and the need to conserve energy for a mobile terminal with finite energy supply.
  14. Outline designs for low power CPUs.

Chapter 5 (Human Computer Interaction)

  1. Why is it important to study human computer interaction for ubiquitous computing?
  2. Compare and contrast the user interfaces and user interaction used with four common types of device: personal computer, hand-held mobile devices used for communication, games consoles and remote controlled AV displays.
  3. Discuss designs to overcome the inherent limited input and output capabilities of handheld mobile communication devices.
  4. Compare and contrast multi-modal interfaces with natural interfaces, gesture interfaces and tangible user interfaces.
  5. Discuss three different types of user interface where the output user interface also acts as the input user interface.
  6. Describe the motivation for and some designs of user interfaces for some common objects at home and outside in a city or village.
  7. Debate if there is a difference between tangible user interfaces and organic user interfaces.
  8. User interfaces are primarily visual, why? Discuss the benefits of using auditory interfaces. Classify some different types of auditory interface.
  9. Discuss the main design challenges in using natural language interfaces.
  10. Describe different types and applications of UI interfaces embedded into humans which are accompanied, wearable and implants.
  11. Outline the motivation for using implicit HCI rather than using explicit HCI. Should implicit HCI be used as to replace, complement or supplement explicit HCI? Illustrate your answer with some examples.
  12. Compare and contrast the use of explicit human interaction, implicit human interaction and no human interaction for the following human activities: preparing a meal, driving a vehicle from start to finish, washing clothes and washing your pet or yourself.
  13. Think of some activity that you think can't be digitally automated and then undertake a Web search for ICT solutions to support it.
  14. Discuss the disadvantages of using more natural interaction in a digital universe. Consider hand-writing with respect to its throughput, accessibility, interoperability etc. Then weigh up both the pros and cons of primarily supporting natural human computer interfaces.
  15. Using the classification of Fishkin (2004) for tangible user interfaces, classify the following types of UI: computer mouse, any RFID tagged object such as food items, passports, etc, robots and smart travel cards.
  16. Debate whether or not the prevalence of MEMS components could lead to users being able to create their own customized tangible UIs to applications, moving what is a currently a topic of computer science research into mainstream consumer products,
  17. Outline scenarios where tangible UIs are a benefit and scenarios where their limitations outweigh their benefits.
  18. Outline the design requirements and the design process of how you could add sensors to a range of physical activities.
  19. What is meant by human centred design? How does it differ from conventional system design? In your answer describe the main process and characteristics of human-centred design.
  20. Discuss the importance of environment context modelling and requirements for user interface design.
  21. Consider the physical, ICT and human environment requirements and design of the following types of smart mobile devices: umbrellas and clothes as audio video display devices, shoes as pedometer and GPS device, smart pockets as safes to detect when items are being removed and replaced, smart pens, smart keys, etc.
  22. Discuss what is meant by user awareness and personalisation and how these support a model of Ubiquitous Computing.
  23. Consider modelling of users procuring resources such as food or energy and increasing their storage capacity. Discuss the different design choices for user modelling to acquire the current user context and goal contexts such as implicit versus explicit models, user instance modelling versus user stereotype modelling, static versus dynamic user models, generic versus application specific models and content-based versus collaborative filtering user models.
  24. Debate the pros and cons of personalisation.
  25. Describe how to incorporate HCI design heuristics and design patterns into the development of a user interface.
  26. What is affective Computing? Describe its pros and cons.
  27. What are user interface design heuristics and design patterns? Describe some UI design patterns to support multiple device interaction and context-based interaction.

Chapter 6 (Smart Environments: Tagging, Sensing, Control of the Physical World)

  1. Consider the twenty thousand everyday (artefact) objects estimated by Norman (1988). Which of these do you consider still yet to be usefully digitally networked? Do a search to identify whether or not are digital. Consider the benefits and design challenges in making them digitally networked.
  2. What is augmented reality annotation or tagging? Outline the main processes to achieve this.
  3. Does location determination determine involve tagging or a sensing? Explain.
  4. Annotation or tagging of physical objects can be classified along two dimensions: if the user of the annotation is co-located (on-site) with the physical object versus not co-located; if the anchoring of the annotation is attached directly to the object it refers to versus the annotation is detached. Explain the implications of this and give some examples of use.
  5. Compare and contrast the Semacode scheme to local interaction in the physical world with other schemes such as different kinds of RFID tags and the CoolTown Project (section
  6. Outline some uses of RFID tagging that you have come across, e.g., when you travel, when you buy consumer goods, when you enquire to track where goods you have ordered are, etc.
  7. Distinguish between active and passive RFID tagging.
  8. The IPv6 address is a huge. Is it larger enough to uniquely identify each living thing on earth? Propose schemes by which we could tag attempt to tag each living thing on earth? What would the pros and cons be to doing so?
  9. Discuss how we can create and organise an address space to identify all useful artificial objects in the physical world. Compare and contrast the EPC identification scheme to identify things with IPv6 addressing scheme. Could EPC be used in the Internet instead of IPv6 to also represent virtual as well as physical objects?
  10. Compare and contrast tags versus sensors.
  11. What is a sensor network? Describe one or more topologies for sensor networks.
  12. Outline solutions to meet the following sensor deployment challenges: energy is a scarce resource for data transmission; limited memory and computation power in sensor; may not be able to pre-determine how to optimally deploy individual sensors; sensor failures are common; multi-hop sensor networks may have a dynamic topology and Sensors can generate huge quantities of data.
  13. Give the motivation for the use of multiple low cost, short-range, low-power sensors rather than using a few longer range, high-power, high cost sensors.
  14. Discuss the design of the address space and routing algorithms used in sensor networks.
  15. Compare and contrast sensor networks versus ad hoc networks.
  16. Discuss how to make the node attribute to physical node address resolution to be efficient to support the low power requirements of massively distributed real-time, sensor networks.
  17. Outline your design of a data storage information system to support sensor networks.
  18. Discuss why MEMS (micro) design of a mechanical device is so different from the equivalent macro design.
  19. If MEMS devices are so small and “single system on a chip” becomes more common, how can we diagnose, modify and synthesis such micro surface mounted electronic hardware. Will the traditional tools of the electronics engineer such as soldering iron and oscilloscope suffice? See (Wallich, 2007) for some hints.
  20. Compare and contrast problem of “finding a needle in a haystack” compared to finding micro devices or nano devices scattered in the physical environment.
  21. Compare and contrast nano UbiCom versus MEMS UbiCom (Hint: consider materials, positioning and the degree of parallelism).
  22. Compare and contrast nano-technology for use in the human body versus molecular engineering in pharmacology.
  23. Discuss whether or not the following are embedded systems or contain embedded systems: Personal computer, Network Router, Cell phone or mobile phone, GPS device, Robot, Kitchen appliance and fuel powered transport vehicles.
  24. Survey the challenges microprocessors designers have faced as the number of transistors have increased from the initial designs to the latest designs.
  25. Embedded systems generally do not need a full general purpose operating system to function. Why not?
  26. Discuss three main ways in which embedded computer systems differ from general purpose (MTOS) systems.
  27. Compare and contrast application-specific operating systems versus embedded real time operating systems.
  28. What type of real-time operating system is needed in e-commerce, robotics, AV recording, AV-playback?
  29. Is there a difference between encapsulated, e.g., Object-oriented software talks about encapsulated objects, and embedded software?
  30. Compare and contrast the following types of control: threshold control, PDI control and adaptive control.
  31. Define the main elements of a robot. Define the properties which characterise a robot. Define three major types of robots. How does a robot differ from an embedded system, and a feedback control system? 

Chapter 7 (Context-aware Systems)

  1. Compare and contrast a general distribution system, an embedded control system, a sensor-based system, a general context-aware system, a location-aware system and a personalised system.
  2. Compare and contrast an active versus passive context-aware system.
  3. What is context-based task activation?
  4. Discuss a classification for the different types of context as follows: a) What? Where? When? How? Who? Why?; External environment type: ICT, human and physical world; c) external versus internal or self.
  5. Outline the design of a simple state-based model of context-awareness based upon current context state being driven by pre-planned state-transitions to move it to the goal context state.
  6. Outline a process for context-aware adaption.
  7. Outline a basic architecture for a context aware system.
  8. Outline a life-cycle process for context-awareness starting with creation.
  9. Define how the type of environment can influence the type of context adaptation which is suitable.
  10. Outline four or more different representations for context. Which is better and why?
  11. Discuss the privacy and ethical issues of location determination. Is it acceptable for a provider to be able to determine the location and contest of a requestor / customer when an incident occurs, when desired, and vice versa?
  12. Discuss the design issues in designing systems to be aware of multiple contexts for an application of your choice. In particular, consider how your design deals with conflicting and overlapping context information, whether or not multiple contexts are adapted in on stage or as a sequence in which the order is in important, how uncertainty is dealt with and how different semantics for contexts are handled.
  13. Discuss whether or not it is useful for systems to be aware of their external environment without being self-aware.
  14. Discuss the following challenges in supporting context-awareness: User Contexts may be uncertain; contexts may exhibits a range of spatial-temporal characteristics; contexts may have alternative representations; contexts  may be distributed and partitioned; context awareness may generate huge volumes of data; context sources and local processes often need to embedded in a low resource infrastructure; context use can reduce the privacy of humans; awareness of context signals and shifts can overload users or distract users.
  15. Discuss how context awareness can support mobile users.
  16. Describe a life-cycle for location context operation.
  17. Describe an architecture for a context-aware system.
  18. Compare and contrast different methods of location determination with respect to accuracy, indoor and outdoor use, local versus global location determination.
  19. Compare lateration versus angulation as a location determination method. Which do GPS, mobile phones, and WiFi network position use?
  20. Outline how spatial contexts can be queried, stored, and managed using a GIS system.
  21. Compare and contrast the use of RFID tags versus GPS for location tagging in addition to being used for location determination.
  22. Outline a design for a temporal aware application. Discuss the importance of clock synchronisation.
  23. Discuss the motivation for ICT environment awareness for mobile users. Outline designs to support context-aware content adaptation to the characteristics of the access devices and its network link.
  24. Discuss the relation of context-aware with other types of UbiCom system (old section 7.1.3)
  25. For the following goal constraints, define the context constrains, current context and planned context shift ......

Chapter 8 Smart Interaction: Intelligent Systems)

  1. Discuss the pros and cons of using human intelligence as model for machine intelligence.
  2. Give specific instances of the simple reflective type of intelligent system model (Figure 8-3) for each of the four scenarios given in section 1.1.1, i.e., Personal memories scenario, adaptive bus scheduling scenario, foodstuff management and the utility regulation scenario.
  3. Compare and contrast the types of architectural models for IS given in Section 8.3, i.e., reactive, environment model, goals, utilities and learning with respect to how actions are selected, how the model is represented and what types of environments such as deterministic, episodic etc, these models are suited to.
  4. With the respect to a planning or goal-based system design consider the following design issues: (i) How can such a design handle interactions from users which involve situated actions rather than goals? (ii) Compare and contrast static versus dynamic goal acquisition (iii) How does the IS decide if the goals are achievable or not and what does the IS do and say if it has been delegated goals it cannot achieve?
  5. Consider the design of a so called vertical layered model.  Is this a good design if reasoning layers are activated before reactive layers or vice versa? Compare and contrast different orderings for the IS models within a hybrid IS model for different application scenarios.
  6. For the following types of IS design which are reactive, environment model based, goal-based and utility-based discuss how these models are acquired and maintained.
  7. What is a knowledge-based (KB) system? Differentiate between a design which supports a model at a Epistemological level versus one at a heuristic level. Discuss the issue in designing a KB model to support knowledge use at both these levels.
  8. What is a production system? Outline how it operates.  Contrast its operation to a frame-based KB system.
  9. Discuss what kind of expressivity ranging from a light-weight to heavy-weight ontologies is needed in knowledge modelling used by reactive, environment model-based  and goal-based IS designs
  10. Describe the need to make a KR machine readable and machine-understandable.
  11. Discuss the following comments: knowledge is the fruit of interaction; knowledge cannot be reduced to self learning.
  12. Discuss how IS can be designed to acquire their knowledge dynamically rather than acquire their knowledge at design time.
  13. Discuss the difference between unsupervised learning, supervised learning and reinforcement learning
  14. Outline two basic knowledge models and compare and contrast.
  15. Explain the following: the difference between data that is machine readable and machine understandable: the difference between data that is human readable versus machine readable and between data that is human understandable versus machine understandable; the different nuances between reading and understanding data.
  16. Give the design of a system consisting of a set of limited resource devices that supports machine readable and machine understandable data.
  17. What is an ontology? Outline processes for creating and maintaining an ontology.
  18. Describe design for a deliberative IS. Discuss which type of logic-based knowledge representation it should use.
  19. Discuss the use need for model-checking in logic reasoning. How do the following properties of logic reasoning relate to this: satisfiability, soundness and monotonicity.
  20. What are the difference if any of how an automatic reasoner operates versus how a logical programming language is used?
  21. What is first-order logic? Explains what the difference is between this and propositional logic.
  22. Explain why first-order logic (FOL)  is so predominant in KB systems.
  23. Explain the essence of the following types of logic and what their benefits are compared to  FOL: Description Logics (DL), Modal Logic, Deontic Logic,  Situation calculus or situation logic, event calculus or logic, Temporal logic and  computation tree logic.
  24. What is soft computing? What is the difference between imprecision and uncertainty? Discuss some specific types of  model to model imprecision and to model uncertainty.
  25. What is the difference between searching and planning? What is the difference between a brute force search and an informed search?
  26. What is constraint satisfaction? How does it differ from planning?
  27. Describe the benefits of hierarchical task planning and partial-order planning and show how they can be combined.
  28. Show how uncertainty can be handled in planning.


Chapter 9 (Intelligent Interaction)

  1. What is meant by interaction multiplicity? Discuss the types of multiplicity when multiple dumb peers interact, when cooperative intelligent peers interact and when competitive intelligent peers interact.
  2. Outline the interaction multiplicity problems which can arise and outline some solutions for dealing with these with respect to the different layers of the network protocol stack.
  3. Define the key characteristics of a cooperative system. Discuss two basic designs to support cooperation based upon perfect coordination and explicit communication.
  4. Discuss the following design issues for coordination: communication or message based or processing (node) based, perfect coordination versus coordination involving communication, temporal and spatial coupling, handling inconsistencies and uncertainties and coordination drive by different parties such as no one in particular, individual senders or receivers or multiple ones.
  5. Discuss designs for coordination of multiple cooperative systems based upon:  service composition models, interaction protocols with inbuilt coordination mechanisms, joint planning and on joint intentions.
  6. Discuss how the uses of norms can act as a design for a perfect coordination model.
  7. Define and apply the following aspects of hierarchical organisational models: hierarchical containment, organisational roles and missions, organisational interaction and boundary spanner.
  8. Current MTOS vendors provide users with the ability to aggregate tasks into single views supporting single organisation roles for system users with common tasks that are used in multiple roles always readily available, e.g., email, diary etc.. In practice, users concurrently act in multiple roles and switch between them. Discuss the pros and cons of supporting multiple user roles and how you would design MTOS to support this (Hint: one idea is to support the idea of having multiple desktops).
  9. Compare and contrast the types of mediator identified in Section 9.2.2 and discuss which types are in use in different service domains. Why do patterns of mediation seem more common in practice than others? Also analyse the classification given in Decker et al 1997) that includes front agents, bodyguards, annonymisers, recommender, and discuss their current use. For the types of mediator tagged as “???”, in Figure 9-5, discuss if their use can be justified.
  10. Compare and contrast the use of negotiation versus consensus when allocating limiting resources to multiple requestor, e.g., multiple ICT functions or applications within a device such as mobile phone, which has limited energy resources, try to agree how best to use the energy available.
  11. Discuss three designs to support competitive interaction market-place agreements between service and resource providers and requesters, negotiation and voting.
  12. What are auctions? What is Negotiation? How does these work? Is there any difference between these two terms?
  13. Explain what speech-acts or communicative-acts are and explain why they are useful? Discuss what the difference is between a speech act protocol and an agent communication language (ACL). Describe the main components of an ACL.
  14. Define the characteristics that make speech act communication richer than conventional network communication?
  15. Outline different models for defining the semantics of speech acts.
  16. Describe how goal-based agent design can be realised using a speech-act type interaction model.
  17. Gives some examples of the use of different types of speech act.
  18. Describe speech act patterns or  interactions: to look up someone’s name and address; to be informed when a resource becomes available; to handle errors in resource access; to ask for help to do something rather than to do something oneself.
  19. Describe the characteristics of a multi-agent system design for interacting IS.
  20. Outline the development process for MAS applications and apply to a UbiCom scenario.
  21. Why are directives that require the receiver to pass back information more complex that directives require the receiver to undertake an action for a sender?
  22. What are recommender systems? Why are they useful? What are the benefits of using referrals rather than recommenders?
  23. Outline how trust can be designed to be incorporated into UbiCom system applications of your choosing and discuss how trust is affected by the context, honesty and commitment of the trustee to act on the truster’s behalf, the likelihood of success and the lack of direct control of the trustee.
  24. Define, the meaning of the messages and the message representation for multiple IS interaction.

Chapter 10 (Autonomous Systems and Artificial Life)

  1. Discuss what types of artificial intelligence if any can be inspired from biological models of: human brain, human nervous system, collective behaviour of social insects and collective cellular automata
  2. What is an automatic system? What is an autonomic system? What is a self-star system property? Explain how these are related.
  3. Discuss the benefits and challenges of deploying autonomous systems.
  4. Discuss different types of autonomy and different types of autonomous system designs.
  5. Compare and contrast autonomous systems versus IS systems and MAS.
  6. For the four main scenarios given in 1.1.1 of this text or for your own scenarios, outline designs for these scenarios based upon autonomic computing and define which self-star properties, systems should have.
  7. Define what the motivation is  a self-explaining system. Discuss one or two systems from your own experience with regard to their degree of support for self-explaining. Are there any additional causes of self-explanation not covered in Section 10.3.1.
  8. An autonomic healthy eating system consists of the following resources: a food ingredient scanner to allow only low-fat, low sugar, five fruits a day ingredients to be entered into the food store of a system, a weighing scale warns of weight gain above a normal limit, a recipe repository suggests healthy eating recipes etc. Compare and contrast two self-star designs for such an autonomic application. The first one sets a global policy to adhere eat healthy which is then left to local devices to self-configure or even self-organise themselves to adhere to these policies are applied.  The second one sets generic local or individual behaviours which individual resources or devices adhere to.
  9. Compare and contrast the idea of digital stigmergy (Section 10.5.1) with the idea of a local shared data repository such as a local blackboard or message board (Section in terms of the mobility of the message transmitter and the context where messages are left.
  10. Debate and application of stigmergy techniques which allow the users of ICT devices to re-organise the device to optimise the performance for them. Are there any disadvantages to support this?
  11. What is a reflective system? Describe in principle how it works and can be used to support a self-explaining system and can be used to support an adaptive context-aware system.
  12. Discuss how complex systems can arise out of relatively simple system interaction models. Give two different examples for rules of interaction.
  13. What is artificial Life? What is a finite Cell Automata? What is evolutionary computing? Show how these are related.
  14. Describe a design for evolutionary computing.
  15. What is a digital ecosystem and what is meant by digital evolutionary computing?

Chapter 11 (Communication Networks)

  1. Outline the benefits of digital communication and in particular whether or not these benefits have been achieved in a variety of multimedia content networks such as AV streamed broadcast networks, audio streamed broadcast networks and wired and wireless voice networks
  2. Describe mobile network types and characteristics in terms of: What is Mobile? What types of mobile terminal or service access device? What factors characterise Mobile terminals? What types of Wireless networks? What factors characterise wireless networks?
  3. Give some current limitations of mobile phone services.
  4. Outline the design of a wireless network to support user mobility over a wide area. Include in your answer a discussion of addressing, routing and the used of fixed versus ad hoc network access nodes or base stations.
  5. Mobile device communication over wireless networks is enough to satisfy all of our ubiquitous computing needs. Discuss.
  6. Consider access devices and network characteristics such as power efficiency, bandwidth, data rate etc. for the following types of network, personal area networks body areas networks and local device interaction. Which network specifications would you choose and why?
  7. Compare and contrast different wireless networks with respect to the characteristics given in Section 11.1.1.
  8. Discuss the pros and cons of choosing short-range versus long range communication if both are available when a group of people are situated at a common location or a common meeting place. Consider the energy usage and the message latency etc. If these are advantageous for local interaction, why is it that is it that long-range communication is often more commonly used in practice?
  9. Discuss convergence of many network services into a single network in the home. How can this be designed? What are the design issues? Do you have any initial experiences?
  10. Discuss the use of wireless within buildings at work and at home. Are there any differences in requirements? Consider if a single type of wireless suitable for multimedia transfer in the home, for the majority of the diverse devices in the home?
  11. Consider the interference and access control issues as more diverse devices and networks are used within a locality such as the home
  12. Consider the use of a single audio codec for streamed audio broadcasts, e.g., DAB, for audio players and audio recorders, voice services  and for AV streamed services. What are the pros and cons of using a single audio codec for all of these? Could MP3 based ones be used? Argue for and against.
  13. You are planning to install or upgrade an internal network in a building used for business and or as a residence that is connected to the Internet. Discuss your choice of wireless versus wired network for a combination of user requirement factors such as  bandwidth, , installation costs, operational, i.e., energy costs, etc
  14. Discuss what is meant by, and the need for, service-oriented networks, content networks, programmable networks and overlay networks.
  15. Compare and contrast cooperative networks (Section with social interaction (service) models (Section 9)
  16. You are asked to plan a communications infrastructure for a rural village in some developing country that has a limited electricity grid connection but no communication network within 30  KM versus developing a communications infrastructure in some rural village in a developed country that has electricity grid, a PSTN network and a 2G+ mobile phone network available. Compare and contrast your designs.
  17. Discuss the use of a network-oriented model based upon IP everywhere to underpin pervasive computing services.


Chapter 12 (Smart Device Management)

  1. Compare and contrast the following management systems and protocols for a range of UbiCom systems that are dust, tab, pad and board-sized: ICMP-based, SNMP based, MTOS-based, RDBMS and Web/Internet.
  2. Discuss the issues in managing converged networks for multimedia content delivery networks based upon IP everywhere.
  3. Compare and contrast security management versus safety management versus privacy management
  4. Outline the security concerns for smart devices, their middleware services and the content accessed by them.
  5. Compare and contrast security designs for different types of mobile devices such as Mobile Phone, SatNav device, AV remote Control and smart cards. Could a common set of security requirements and design be used across this device range? What are the pros and cons of reusing the security design of one type of device in other types of device? E.g., using the current mobile phone security safeguards to protect SatNav devices?
  6. Discuss how imprinting model of Stajano (2002) can be combined with Body Area Networks (Section 11.7.4) to support different security support  for personal mobile devices.
  7. Discus how to manage the safety of SCADA system using fault prediction techniques.
  8. What is meant by service oriented management? Discuss the following techniques for service oriented management based upon grid resource management, policy based service management, service level agreements and pervasive workflows.
  9. Differentiate between the management of hard and lean data versus soft and rich data versus the management.
  10. What is metadata? Describe the benefits of managing data via its metadata. Discuss the pros and cons of using the same techniques to manage alphanumeric data to manage metadata.
  11. Consider the amount of data that could be collected from a modern vehicle that contains about 40 sensors. How much could be collected; How can be used for operational decisions in time? How could it be managed? See for example (Nystrom et al., 2002).
  12. Estimate how much information you personally have generated last year. How has it changed over the last 10 years? How will your data management techniques, if at all, change in the future?
  13. Give your own estimate how much data a person could digitise in a lifetime to form a life-long personal memory. As an extension, consider that in order for the data to be used, useful and usable, metadata needs to also be recorded. Give an estimate for the additional storage needed for the metadata in relation to the data stored. Also consider that if all the personal data could be stored in a self-contained macro or micro unit, how would it be organised? Debate whether or not all the metadata for the life-long personal memories could be stored in the same unit and how it would be organised.
  14. Consider how multilateral policies apply to information access in a heterogeneous environment in the following scenarios:
  15. Imagine you are in charge of designing a new computer operating system. Discuss the pros and cons of using the following design principles for user-centred activities and how the OS  could be redesigned:
  16. Critique the design of MTOS of the leading vendors in terms of their suitability for use across devices, to support many to many interaction, to support the concept of a  personal information cloud, to support a seamless shift between a personal and social, to support participation in multiple activities.
  17. Discuss the suitability of using the remote service access point model in user centred environments. Compare and contrast the following alternative service management models: stand-alone services, services as appliances, service contract, user service pool, Software as a Service (SaaS) and self-managing service models.
  18. Outline the design of a UbiCom system to maintain user privacy for smart dust, smart cards, smart phones, smart laptops and smart boards. Compare and contrast design for your different designs.
  19. Define the following characteristics used in privacy management: Anonymity, irreversible pseudonymity, irreversible pseudonymity, identify, unlinkability,  unobservability: and notification, tights and consent. Discussed how these are supported in the following types of privacy management system: PET vsersus PIT , provider and entrusted regulation of user privacy by service providers and legislative and user-centered approaches to privacy.  Give some examples of specific technologies to support these systems and outline how they help manage privacy.
  20. What are the benefits in using biometric identification versus non- biometric identification Discuss the pros and cons of using different types of active versus biometric systems for identification.
  21. Discuss the pros and cons of designing systems to allocate one resource to one user. Discuss the rational for and designs to allow multiple users to share access to resources.
  22. Outline the design of an UbiCom system to maintain user privacy for smart dust, smart cards, smart phones, smart laptops and smart boards. Compare and contrast design for your different designs.
  23. Compare and contrast the dissolution phase for a range of devices including: smart laptops, phones, remote controllers, sensors, tags, cards and dust. Give and environment risk assessment for each of these devices.

Chapter 13 (Challenges and Outlook)

  1. For the following applications, discuss which levels of support for UbiCom properties are needed: for different modes of transport, car, train and plane; for washing and cleaning (parts of) the human body; for socialising with remote people; for keeping memories of work and social meetings.
  2. Review the following technologies and consider if they are disruptive versus or sustaining technologies: printed book, Internet, Web, email and eBook.
  3. What is synthetic reality? Discuss some of its benefits and liabilities.
  4. Discuss how the range of six form factors can be used to proposed smart environments, and more fluid ensembles of smart devices.
  5. What are the drivers for smart (richer, more flexible and more intelligent) interaction?
  6. Describe a multi-lateral model for supporting different levels  information richness and information and hence smart interaction.
  7. Explain some of the key challenges for smart environments based upon intelligible interaction, impromptu interoperability, no (central) system administrator, designing for the home, social effects, reliability, inference in presence of ambiguity. Consider if these challenges apply equally to smart devices.
  8. Compare and contrast the dissolution phase for a range of devices including: smart laptops, phones, remote controllers, sensors, tags, cards and dust. Give and environment risk assessment for each of these devices.
  9. Discuss whether or not the technology predictions made by Pearson (2000), highlighted in Figure 13.4, Figure 13.5, Figure 13.6, have become reality are still valid predictions.
  10. Discuss the range of smarts described throughout this text. Predict how likely they are to become mass used and when this will happen.
  11. Discuss techniques for lower power usages. Should this be controlled at the operating system level, by remote middleware services, by applications, or by the human user?
  12. Do a comparitive energy profile of your house or your room today, 5 years ago, 10 years, 20 years ago and 30 years ago. Analyse how energy consumption patterns have changedfrom past to present. And extrapolate how these will changed in the future.
  13. Compare and contrast the following techniques for lowering energy use: passive electronic components, MEMS, energy harvesting, ultra-capacitors and fuel cells.
  14. Define a reverse manufacturing process. Distinguish between recycling, demanufacturing and remanufacturing, highlighting the benefits of remanufacturing over recycling.
  15. Consider how the ecofriendly design and use of micro devices differs from the ecofriendly design and use of macro devices.
  16. Describe specific support in the development process for designing new ICT devices for the home which are eco friendly.
  17. Compare and contrast full life-cycles for using ICT device services in virtual computing environments versus devices situated in the physical world.
  18. Which of the following techniques should be taught as part of education and remembered in the modern world when there is really no technical need for them because they can already be automated or will be soon automated and why? Mental arithmetic, hand-writing, typing text via a keyboard, navigation using paper maps, memorising fact and processes and vehicle driving. Add some further techniques that you think could also be replaced.
  19. Discuss some transformations in human computer interaction that have occurred recently or are predicted to occur in the future.
  20. Discuss the following design issues for iHCI: more versus less natural user interfaces, analogue world to digital device interaction, forms for multi-functional devices.
  21. Is the aim of AI to mimic human intelligence? Discuss how to do this and whether or not this is possible.
  22. What are virtual, augmented and mediated realities? Discuss the issues in blurring reality through the use of these type of reality.
  23. What does posthuman mean? Discuss the degree to which you, younger members and older members of your family have become posthuman from the past to the current time. Discuss what characteristics of the use of posthuman technology you would be prepared to embrace in the future and which developments you would shun such as  organ transplants including brain transplants and skin transplants including full face transplants
  24. Profile the environment impact of your own use of ICT systems at work, socialising in leisure time. Consider how you can use ICT systems and suggest new ways in which these can be used in a more eco friendly way.
  25. Outline the social issues in using the UbiCom model.
  26. Discuss designs to enable ICT devices to be inclusive, to be accessible by everyone and affordable by everyone.
  27. Discuss the issues of supporting legislation and regulation of the digital world.
  28. Discuss if Asmiov’s robot laws are sufficient  Consider the case for the Foodstuff management scenario (Section, what if an owner’s robot  has the directive to control access to the owner’s home, has opened access to the home but at the same a thief seizes the opportunity to gain entry into the owner’s home. Consider how Asmiov’s robot laws apply to this situation.  Propose how to extend Asmiov’s robot laws by considering goal conflicts between different humans.