UCL CS M038/GZ06: Mobile and Cloud Computing
(Spring 2012)

Class Essentials

This graduate-level class explores recent research advances in mobile and cloud computing: wireless networking, mobile devices, and data-center-based services. Besides offering an introduction to the research literature in these areas, the instructors aim to help students cultivate taste in research: an understanding of what constitutes a good research problem, and what constitutes convincing scientific evidence that a design robustly solves a problem. The class is organized in case-study fashion: students read 15-20 recent research papers in the area of wireless networking, and critically discuss the systems described in these papers during lecture. Discussions focus on determining the merit of the research described in the papers: the practical relevance of the problem, the extent to which the experimental evaluation offered by the authors demonstrates that the proposed system solves the problem articulated, and the nuanced behavior of the proposed design, including settings in which the design succeeds and fails, as well as precise identification of which mechanisms in a design are essential to the design's success or failure, and why. Topics to be covered include routing for fixed and mobile multi-hop wireless networks, wireless MAC and physical layers that offer increased capacity, bit-rate adaptation, mobile application architecture, security and privacy for mobile applications, and peer-to-peer systems.

Students are evaluated three ways. First, to help students gauge whether they are grasping the technical material in the assigned readings (and equally to ensure that students keep up with the readings during term!), a short question is assigned with each paper, the one-page answer to which must be turned in at the start of the lecture when the paper is discussed. Second, students make presentations in the final two weeks of term, in which they critically evaluate a research paper of their choosing. Finally, there are three one-hour exams during the term, each on the papers discussed during the previous third of the term (though all prior material from the class is examinable).

Mobile and Cloud Computing is open to 4th-year undergraduates (M038) and graduate students (GZ06). Enrollment is open only to students who have taken Networked Systems (3035/GZ01) or have prior equivalent experience. Despite the differing module codes, M038 and GZ06 are identical: they share the same syllabus, lectures, readings, courseworks, exam, and weighting of marks.