Syllabus - CS686/486

Computer Science 686/486
Wireless Sensor Networks
Fall 2008

Course Information

Class Meets: Monday and Wednesday 3:30pm-5:15pm
Class Location: HR 235
Web Page:

Instructor Information

Instructor: Sami Rollins
Office: HR 544
Office Hours: Monday 2:30pm-3:30pm, Wednesday 2:30pm-3:30pm, Thursday 10:30am-11:30am, and by appointment.


Though there are no official prerequisites for this course, students should be very familiar with Java programming and comfortable with socket programming.

Learning Outcomes

Required Texts

Grading Information

Grades will be based on exams (2), projects (7), and participation. Grades will be distributed as follows:
Exam 1: 15% Exam 2: 20%
Project 1: 5% Project 2: 5% Project 3: 10% Project 4: 10% Project 5: 10% Project 6: 10% Project 7: 10%
Participation: 5%
Note: The distribution is subject to change in the event that assignments need to be removed or added.
Final grades will be assigned as follows:
100 - 93.0 - A
92.9 - 90.0 - A-
89.9 - 87.0 - B+
86.9 - 83.0 - B
82.9 - 80.0 - B-
79.9 - 77.0 - C+
76.9 - 73.0 - C
72.9 - 70.0 - C-
69.9 - 67.0 - D+
66.9 - 63.0 - D
62.9 - 60.0 - D-
59.9 - 0 - F

Reading will be assigned for most classes.  Quizzes may be given to assess your preparedness.  The participation score will be based on quiz performance, class attendance, and participation in class discussion and activities.

The exam portion of your grade will be based on two exams administered throughout the semester. You are responsible for being in class on the day of the exam. Make-up exams will be given only in the case of a medical emergency verified by a doctor's note.

The project portion of your grade will be based on seven substantial programming projects assigned throughout the semester. In most cases, your project grade will be based on the code you submit as well an oral explanation and demonstration of the project on the day the project is due. A project assignment (excluding the final project) submitted on time is eligible for full credit. A project assignment submitted late by 24 hours or less is eligible for a maximum of 50%. A project assignment submitted more than 24 hours late is not eligible for credit. Extensions will be granted only in the case of a medical emergency verified by a doctor's note.

Laptop Usage

In general, I do not mind if you use laptops to take notes during the class period. If you use your laptop to check email, surf the web, IM, or perform any activity that is not completely relevant to the course and the topic being covered, your laptop privileges will be revoked. You will likely have lab periods during which you will be expected to work on your assignments. You may use your laptop for this purpose during the lab times. You may not use the lab time to read the news, update your facebook page, or anything beyond working on the current assignment.

SunSPOT Hardware

Your project assignments will consist of writing programs to run on Sun's SunSPOT wireless sensor platform. The department has purchased several "kits" that you can use free of charge. Each student will be given 1 kit that he/she may take home and use for the semester. A kit consists of two SunSPOT sensors, one base station, a cable, and a CD with the SDK. You are responsible for returning all portions of the kit, in working order, before the last day of the final period. If you fail to return the kit assigned to you, your grade will be withheld until the kit is replaced. The kits cost $750, so please be careful.

Some assignments will require you to use more than 2 sensors for testing purposes. For these assignments, you will need to form testing groups and loan one another your sensors for testing. I also have a few extra kits that I can loan out for this purpose. Finally, you are strongly advised to bring your kits with you to class so that you may use them to work on your projects as time permits. When possible, I will notify you ahead of time that some of the class period will be allocated as lab time.

Academic Honesty

ALL assignments are to be completed individually unless specified, in writing, on the assignment. Academic dishonesty will NOT be tolerated. This is your warning! Students are encouraged to meet with me if they have questions regarding assignments or this policy. Students caught cheating will face severe penalty.

Students may: Students may NOT: Requirements Penalties
Sami Rollins