CompSci595N/PolSci595N/Engl593: The Technology and Society Seminar Series

Fall 2005: Wireless Technology, New Applications and Social Interaction
Seminar Overview

Winter 2005

Fall 2005

Spring 2006

Fall 2006

Spring 2007

Wireless Technology: New Applications & Social Interaction

The state-of-the-art in device manufacturing and wireless network technology has enabled new opportunities to connect and communicate. Manufacturers offer a truly impressive range of devices, including: lighter/faster laptops, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), Blackberries, cell phones, watches, and even "smart dust". Network providers offer countless number of ways to connect, including: cellular, digital cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, and even via global satellite networks. With relentless technical advancement, the future holds even more profound and nearly unimaginable communication possibilities.

As a consequence of the wireless revolution, people are using wireless devices to connect to the Internet and communicate with one another using more than just voice or simple text messaging. Applications include rich personal interaction, Internet surfing, sophisticated gaming, social computing, and E-commerce. The range of applications include not only traditional communication techniques that existed long before the Internet, applications that have been anticipated but only come to fruition as the infrastructure has evolved, and applications that were either rarely anticipated or whose impact was far underestimated.

The rich variety of applications and social interaction, the behavior of individuals has changed dramatically. The result is new communities and richer economies; better informed and more learned; greater organization and faster responses. Even the popular press is replete with anecdotes of novel and exciting changes wrought by new technology and new applications.

The seminar's focus for Fall 2005 will be the intersection of technology, applications, and consequences. How do we study the changes brought on by developments in technology and new applications? If we understand the changes caused by current technology, what new applications will become available as new technology are manufactured? Will new applications be driven entirely by technology or will user needs and wants play a role? And finally, what kinds of technologies can we expect to see in the short- to longer-term?


The seminar will be held in Engineering I, Rm 2114 (just across the hall from Prof. Almeroth's office) from 1:00pm to 2:30pm on Tuesdays. The first seminar will be September 27 and the last will be November 29th.

Course Signup Information

The course will be cross-listed in at least the above three departments. However, it may be offered in other departments as well. There are a few things to keep in mind when considering signing up for this course. First, this quarter, if you wish to attend you must sign up. Second, it does not really matter under which course number you register. The reason we are cross-listing it is to advertise and to make it more acccesible for those who do not normally look in other departments for interesting courses. And finally, seminars of this type often are added to the registration system late. If you are having problems finding the course in the registration system, come to class on the first day, and we will help. For Computer Science, you will need the Enrollment Code "71159".


The format of the seminar is weekly presentations and free-form discussion. Assignments for those students who do not present are to gather, synthesize, and write an overview of work relevant to the seminar topic and related to their own discipline(s).

There is also a "moodle page" with additional information about the schedule, a list of forums, and additional resources. Simply "Login as a guest".