11 May 2005, Munich, Germany

A Pervasive 2005 Workshop

What makes for good application-led research in ubiquitous computing?

Proceedings and preliminary report
(with information
to hand at 16/5/05)

with position papers. slides of presentations and some preliminary notes of the discussions

Organising Committee

George Coulouris, Cambridge University
Tim Kindberg, HP Labs
Bernt Schiele, TU Darmstadt
Albrecht Schmidt, University of Munich
Kasim Rehman, Cambridge University

For further information please contact:

To link to this page use:

New! there is a Yahoo Group for continued discussion of topics raised at the workshop. You can apply to join at:

Original announcement and call for papers

The majority of application studies presented at conferences in our field are exemplars of potential applications suggesting directions for further research. But they often contribute little to our understanding of the broader needs of users of ubiquitous systems and the wider potential of the underlying technologies. Nor do they provide a context within which the merits of alternative designs can be effectively assessed. Ubicomp research could benefit from a better-mapped domain for application research with established metrics, methods for the selection, analysis and evaluation of applications and common infrastructures.

The purpose of the workshop is to attempt to reach a consensus on the reasons for these problems and to develop some ideas for remedies. Constructive critiques of a variety of past experiences will be taken as a starting point for the discussion of new approaches to defining, analysing and assessing application-led research projects. The goal of the workshop is to identify the most important issues and if appropriate make recommendations for community action.


  • What is the role and contribution of applications in ubicomp systems and how does application-led research advance our field?
  • What are good metrics for the selection, analysis and evaluation of ubicomp applications?
  • How can we identify potential ubicomp applications within a (new) domain?
  • What would be a good set of exemplar applications that would both encapsulate the fundamental problems of ubicomp and provide benchmarks for improving our solutions?
  • What are good approaches to longer-term iterative design studies in which applications are refined and their scope is expanded?
  • What issues and obstacles hinder the broader impact of application-led research and what actions can be taken to overcome them?

This workshop takes as a premise that the ubicomp research community needs to make more coherent progress; with few exceptions, it is neither systematically building upon what little new knowledge it has derived so far, nor setting specific challenges and benchmarks to guide its progress. "Vision" needs to be replaced with goals. Successful submissions will provide two key contributions: (1) at least one insight into the state, direction or processes of research in some ubicomp application domain; and (2) a suggestion for moving forward -- whether it be, for example, a new methodology to explore or a new set of standards for published results to meet, including recommendations on metrics and methods.

Participation is by invitation only, based on position papers.

All the accepted position papers appear on this site and in the Pervasive 2005 Workshop Proceedings.


9:00 – 9.15



9:15 – 10:30

Position papers

 (download all papers, pdf 1 MB)

Florian Michahelles and Bernt Schiele, ETH Zurich

Experiencing Technology before it exists: A Case Study (paper, slides)

Laurent Ciarletta, LORIA

Emulating the Future with/of Pervasive Computing Research and Development (paper, slides)

Scott Davidoff et al., CMU

Can Early-Stage Tools and Techniques for Iterative Design Help Researchers Understand a Problem Space? (paper, slides)

Cormac Driver et al., Trinity College Dublin

A Framework for Mobile, Context-aware Trails-based Applications: Experiences with an Application-led Approach (paper, slides)

Andrew Kun et al., University of New Hampshire

Design and Evaluation of a Ubiquitous Computing Application for Law Enforcement (paper, video)

11:00 – 12:30

Position papers

Philip Robinson, University of Karlsruhe

An Application-led Approach for Security Research in Ubicomp (paper, slides)

Nigel Davies, Lancaster University

Proof-of-Concept Demonstrators and Other Evils of Application-Led Research (paper, slides)

Richard Beckwith, Intel Research

What is to be done? (paper, slides)

Anil Madhavapeddy and Nick Ludlam, Cambridge U.

Ubiquitious Computing needs to catch up with Ubiquitous Media (paper, slides)

Joshua Lifton and Mathew Laibowitz, MIT Media Lab.

Application-led Research in Ubiquitous Computing: A Wireless Sensor Network Perspective (paper, slides)

Richard Sharp, Intel Research

Deploy or Die: A Choice for Application-Led Ubiquitous Computing Research (paper, slides)

14:30 – 15:50

Panel Session

Panelists: 10 mins each + 5 mins for questions/comments

Gregory Abowd Georgia Tech (summary notes)

Gaetano Borriello University of Washington (slides)

William Newman independent consultant (slides)

Abi Sellen Microsoft Research (slides)

Roy Want Intel Research (slides)

16:05  – 17:15

Collective discussion on: (Discussion summary slides)

How to write a good application-led ubicomp paper.

How can we make our work build more effectively on previous work?

What are we doing wrong / what right?

 George Coulouris 16 May 2005