Infx 242 (CS 248B): Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction

Spring 2007


Ubiquitous computing depends on two moves that critically reframe how we think about human interaction with computation. The first is that it dissolves the personal computer, replacing the paradigm of "one person, one computer" with a model in which many computational devices, operating in ad hoc assemblages, are brought to bear to solve problems. So, the site of interaction moves from a single interface to a range of devices of different sorts, distributed in both space and time. The second is that interaction in the ubicomp mode moves "off the desktop" and into the everyday world, and so an adequate account of interaction must include the relationship between activity and the world in which it is carried out.

The goal of this class is to provide an overview of current research topics and methods in this area. Most of the class will be spent in student-led discussions of recent research papers and results, supplemented with lectures to provide more foundational or theoretical material.

The primary text for the class is my book, "Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction" (MIT Press, 2001). An online viewable copy is available through the UCI library here. Other readings will appear here as we go along.

An initial set of readings and a rough outline of the class is now available. Discussions are hosted on the class blog, for which everyone should have been sent accounts details.

25% of your grade from the class will be based on your participation on the class blog and in classroom discussions. The other 75% will be based on a term paper of around 4000 words, which will be due in week 10. Any paper topic relevant to the class material is acceptable; we will discuss and approve paper topics around week five.