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Unit outline_

COMP4447: Pervasive Computing

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This is an advanced course on Pervasive Computing, with a focus on the Internet of Things (IoT). It introduces the key aspects of the IoT and explores these in terms of the new research towards creating user interfaces that disappear into the environment and are available pervasively, for example in homes, workplaces, cars and carried.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Computer Science
Credit points 6
Enrolment in a thesis unit. INFO4001 or INFO4911 or INFO4991 or INFO4992 or AMME4111 or BMET4111 or CHNG4811 or CIVL4022 or ELEC4712 or COMP4103 or SOFT4103 or DATA4103 or ISYS4103
Assumed knowledge

ELEC1601 or COMP2129 or COMP2017. Any other background in programming and operating systems that is sufficient for the student to independently learn new programming tools from standard online technical materials

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Anusha Withana,
Lecturer(s) Anusha Withana,
Tutor(s) Adele Tong,
Oliver Mulcahy,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
Final exam (in-person)
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment hurdle task group assignment Group Project
Group assignment for projects as a report, video and a presentation
35% Multiple weeks N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Small test Quizzes
This is a short, in-class quiz (5 -15mins) in Week 04 to Week 13
15% Multiple weeks N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Project: Students are to to create a prototype pervasive computing system, evaluate it and report on the approaches used for the design and evaluation. The assessment will be based on two reports, a video and a presentation.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

The standard late penalties policy applies.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Overview of course; 2. Introduction to Pervasive Computing and IoT Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 02 Vision of Pervasive Computing Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
1. Preparing for the unit (software and hardware). 2. Form groups Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 03 1. Internet of Things; 2. Pervasive Computing Devices Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Arduino Framework Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 04 1. Network Architectures; 2. Connected Things Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Arduino + Communication Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 05 1. Network Architectures; 2. Connected Things (Part 2) Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
IoT Communication: Bluetooth, Wifi, Lora, etc. Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 06 Pervasive Sensors and Actuators; Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Pervasive sensors and actuator Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 07 IoT Services; Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Services: HTTP, NodeRED, etc. Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 08 Evaluation: Technical + Usability Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7
1) A whole system example; 2) project work Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 09 Rapid Prototyping: Laser cutting, 3D printing Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Physical Prototyping; Project work; Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 10 Cloud Techniques and Services Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Networked Applications; Project work Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Pervasive Interfaces: Voice, sound, gesture Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5 LO6
Cloud service and interfaces Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Privacy and Security Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Project Work Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 13 Future Perspective and Review Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Project Work Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

All the lectures/tutorials will be conducted in-person. Attendance is highly recommended. There will be in-class quizes. You can participate remotely in quizes if you coordinate your timing.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library’s reading list system Leganto, available on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. analyse a context to define the overall goals of a new pervasive system
  • LO2. select suitable techniques for establishing a pervasive computing system and have the ability to make use of these techniques
  • LO3. apply standard design approaches to creating a pervasive interface, and to adapt these to the particular emerging demands of pervasive computing systems
  • LO4. evaluate pervasive interfaces, based upon both technical and user-based techniques, and be able to select the most appropriate technique for a particular situation and justify this selection
  • LO5. explain how technical and human factors influence aspects of design of interfaces
  • LO6. bring together design and evaluation techniques to create a prototype interface that is designed to address a given need
  • LO7. write a report on the prototype system created

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The contents has been updated since last run of the unit.

Additional costs

Basic hardware kits will be provided. You may need to buy additional components for your group project.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.