(Under Construction)

CSCI 7143-001: Sensor Networks

Fall 2002

Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado at Boulder


Abstract:  Sensor networking envisions a ubiquitous computing future in which scattered smart sensors combine to form dynamic, ad hoc, low power, and self-configurable wireless networks capable of monitoring their external environments and relaying their data to a smart spaces infrastructure.  These sensor networks will operate in a variety of environments, including home, office, and military, and will assist in such activities as locating and identifying people indoors as well as tracking the motion of vehicles outdoors.

In this graduate seminar, we will

  • explore the state-of-the-art in sensor networking research by reading, presenting and discussing selected papers, and 

  • design and build innovative research projects in sensor networks, covering such topics as:

    • ad hoc self-organizing routing protocols for networks of sensors

    • low power communication protocols

    • operating system design for smart sensor nodes

    • the role of wireless TCP and mobile IP in sensor networks

    • localization and range-finding in GPS-less indoor environments

    • service discovery protocols for sensor networks

    • querying of sensor databases

    • data fusion

    • security: encryption, authentication in sensor networks

  • sample sensor nodes that we may use are included to the right


HandyCrickets from gleasonresearch.com

MICA motes from xbow.com

We will study how the unique constraints of sensor networks - wireless, low power, small form factor, limited memory/CPU - affect the design of networking protocols as well as the design of the sensor nodes themselves.   We will construct real sensor networks using available hardware kits, and develop hands-on familiarity with a variety of physical sensors, including thermal, magnetic, acoustic, and motion sensors.  A thorough understanding of TCP/IP networking, wireless networking, and operating system concepts is a prerequisite.


Schedule & Location: MW 4-5:15 pm, ECCR 155.
Course number CSCI 7143-001, Call # 72773.  See also the CS Web site and select Schedules under the Courses option.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing, and strong understanding of TCP/IP and wireless networking.  Interested undergrads should contact the instructor.
Instructor:   Professor Rick Han, http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~rhan
Office: ECOT 521
Office Hours:   Tues, Wed 2-3 pm
Email: rhan@cs.colorado.edu
Phone:   303-492-0914
Readings selected papers, TBD.
Class Web site: http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~rhan/CSCI_7143_001_Fall_2002/home.htm


Students will be asked to:

30% Final project presentation to class
30% Final project report
25% Class presentation of papers (and potentially a sensor network prototype)
15% Paper reviews and participation in discussion

Plagiarism policy.


Students will be asked to build/create an innovative research project for presentation at the end of the semester.  Students will form teams of 2-3 members and work on projects as a team.  Teams and projects will be decided according to the timeline below.  Read ahead to topics that you'd be interested to do a project in.  A list of suggested project ideas will be available later.  Students are welcome to formulate their own project ideas.

Each team will be required to present their project to the class at the end of the course,
A final project report written in the style of a conference paper will be handed in following the presentation.  If the final project is sufficiently innovative, and is accepted as a paper at a conference, then I'll pay for your trip to that conference (Hawaii anyone? Rio? Rome?).

Timeline for Project Presentations:

  • September 4-25: Project teams formed and topics discussed with prof.

  • September 25: Final project proposal (abstract) due via email and approved by prof.

  • October 9, 23 and November 6 and 20: Bi-weekly progress meetings with prof.

  • December 4-11: Final project presentations. 40 minutes for each team.

  • December 13: Final project reports due.

Paper Reviews and Presentations

Students are required to read, present, and discuss graduate-level research papers throughout the semester.  An average of 2 papers per class session will be read.  Written reviews of each paper to be discussed in class are due prior to the start of that class, and should be emailed to the instructor rhan@cs.colorado.edu.  Each review should be kept to one page in length, and late reviews will not be accepted.   For each paper, students should write a review answering each of the following questions:

  1. What problems (with prior work or the lack thereof) were addressed or surveyed by the authors?

  2. What solutions were proposed or surveyed by the authors?

  3. What are the technical strengths and main contributions of the paper's proposed solutions?

  4. What are the technical weaknesses of the paper's proposed solutions?  What suggestions do you have to improve upon the paper's ideas?

Each paper to be discussed in class will be assigned to a student to present in class. Assignments will rotate thoughout the class.  The presenter of a given paper should email their Powerpoint slides to the instructor rhan@cs.colorado.edu prior to the start of the class.  The in-class presenter of a particular paper does not have to submit written reviews for any of the papers reviewed that same day in class.


As the class progresses, announcements will be posted on the Announcements Web page of the class Web site.