COS-598A Wireless Networking and Sensing Systems (Spring 2017)


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2/6: Start of Spring Semester
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Over the past one and a half decades, we have seen a polar shift in the way we access the Internet, our usage patterns moving from tethered workstations, to laptops, then to a variety of smaller mobile devices. Furthermore, in the next decade, we are headed on a trajectory to bring the internet to many millions of sensors and embedded computational devices. A wireless first or last hop figures prominently into the needs of each such device.

But in contrast with wired networks, wireless networks must cope with several challenges stemming from several fundamental differences between radio links and wired links:

  1. Over a certain link, portions of a packet may be received correctly, while the remaining portions may contain bit errors. Background noise, reflections, and obstructions in the physical space between sender and receiver impact the delivery of individual bits proabilistically.
  2. Concurrent transmissions from different nearby senders result in interference between nearby wireless links that is difficult to model or predict.
  3. At certain wireless frequencies, transmissions are inherently omnidirectional (broadcast), and may reach or affect unintended receivers.

COS-598A is a graduate-level seminar that explores recent developments in wireless data communication networks and wireless sensing systems. The class will provide an introduction to the wireless physical layer, presented in a way that is accessible for students with solely a computer systems and networking background. We will also dedicate time to topics shared with the COS-461 and COS-561 curriculum, such as congestion control, reading papers in these areas from a cross-layer perspective, thinking about their proposals in light of the knowledge we develop about the wireless physical layer.

The main goals of the class are to:

Specific topics to be covered include: Wireless performance diagnosis, end-to-end transport over wireless, multi-hop mesh networks, rateless error control codes, Wi-Fi based localization, indoor radar and device-free localization, RFID, and full duplex wireless. The class is organized around 30–40 recent research papers primarily drawn from the flagship ACM SIGCOMM, USENIX NSDI, and ACM MobiCom computer networking conferences.

As well as introducing research in these areas, there are three subsidiary and overlapping aims for students taking this class:

  1. To develop students’ taste in research: what constitutes a good research problem, and what constitutes convincing scientific evidence that a design solves a problem.
  2. To develop students’ “systems maturity:” ability to reason about sound computer system designs.
  3. To develop students’ skills in delivering clear technical explanations in informal settings, such as those that might be encountered during one-on-one job interview meetings with engineers or academics.

The mode of delivery will be a mix between lecture and student-led class discussion, generally tending toward the former (to introduce fundamental concepts) at the beginning of each topic area and moving toward the latter (to increase the breadth of specialized topics covered and develop students’ knowledge and skill in critically evaluating research in wireless systems) at the end of each topic area.

Course Staff

This semester we'll use Princeton's web appointment scheduling system to schedule team meetings for your projects (should also be accessible to affiliate students). I'll add meeting slots by email request as the semester progresses.


NameEmailOfficeTelephone Office Hours
Kyle Jamieson CS 305 258-7477 By appointment, online scheduling
system calendar page, and RSS feed.

Course Policies

Open to interested undergraduates with the necessary experience and background (COS-461 or equivalent required, COS-318/333 or equivalent helpful) and with permission of the instructor.

This course assumes a basic familiarity with networking concepts. The course will consist of a reading/lecture/discussion component and a project component. Students are expected to read papers before the class and participate in the discussion during the class.


Grading is on a No Pass/D/Fail basis. Your final grade for the course will be based on the following weights:

Last updated: 2017-02-13 14:33:03 -0500 [validate xhtml]