AetherSystems Distinguished Lecture Series in Mobile and Wireless Systems ebiquity group
UMBC CSEE UMBC AetherSystems

Mobile Computing: Hype or Harbinger?

M. Satyanarayanan
School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

2:00pm, November 17, 2000, LH5

AetherSystems Distinguished Lecture Series in Mobile and Wireless Systems

Lecture Abstract

Hardly a day passes without news of another development in wirelesscommunication, wearable computers, palmtops, or some other aspect ofmobile computing. Yet, in spite of this frenzied activity, thoughtfulcomputer scientists have nagging doubts about the intellectual depthof this field. The shrinking of machines and the transmission of datawithout wires may be technical marvels. But is there anything more tomobile computing? Is it a passing fad, or will it be the source ofenduring new challenges in computer science?

I will address these questions by first examining the fundamentalconstraints of mobile information access. These constraints lead tothe realization that adaptation is a critical requirement formobility. Providing support for adaptation has many consequences thatpervade system design. I will briefly report on our experience withCoda and Odyssey, two experimental systems for mobile informationaccess. The experience we have gained with these systems reveals anumber of deep conceptual issues that have relevance outside mobilecomputing. The concluding part of this talk will discuss these issuesand explore their long-term implications.

Recorded Lecture Links
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Author's Biography

Professor Satyanarayanan is an experimental computer scientistwho has pioneered research in the field of mobile informationaccess. One outcome of this work is the Coda File System, whichsupports disconnected and bandwidth-adaptive operation. Keyideas from Coda have been incorporated by Microsoft into theIntelliMirror component of Windows. Another outcome is Odyssey,a set of open-source operating system extensions for enablingmobile applications to adapt to variation in critical resourcessuch as bandwidth and energy. Coda and Odyssey are buildingblocks in Project Aura, a new research initiative at CarnegieMellon to build a distraction-free ubiquitous computingenvironment. Earlier, Satyanarayanan was a principal architectand implementor of the Andrew File System, which wascommercialized by IBM.

Satyanarayanan is the Carnegie Group Professor of ComputerScience at Carnegie Mellon University. He received the PhD inComputer Science from Carnegie Mellon, after Bachelor's andMaster's degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

For more information contact Dr. Anupam Joshi via e-mail at or by phone at (410) 455 2590.