Capita Selecta System Architecture and Networking (2IN90)


Spring 2007


Intended for: Computer Science, 4th year



With this course the SAN group continues the practice of giving an extra course that is within the expertise of the group. We intend to include in the course the latest developments in the system and software architecture and networking areas, which did not yet find a place in the regular course. This course is especially intended for students that want to graduate in a certain discipline. The course form may differ and will imply attending group seminars, self-study, performing practical work, etc.


Previous topics were transport protocols, wireless networks and software architecture.


This year the topic of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) will be addressed. This is a topic that attracts more and more adepts although its introduction into our society is still a couple of years away. We expect to retain this topic for three years.


Course objectives

Knowledge Students understand the aspects where WSNs differ from standard Local Area Networks. They understand the constraints coming from the low cost, low performance, low energy consumption of the nodes on the one hand, and the scale of the network expressed in the number of nodes on the other hand.


Capabilities Students are capable of separating the possibly conflicting aspects of the WSN design. They have a clear insight how the nodes of a WSN need to be programmed to create lightweight programs that collaborate massively to one shared purpose. They can choose the appropriate abstractions, as a function of the application and network characteristics.



There will be a set of regular, weekly lectures accompanied with a relatively large practical assignment. Passing is through a formal exam and the practical. In order to take this course you must register. Registration will be through this site the site will be open at least four weeks before the course.



Via studyweb, at course 2IN90.


Teachers, and other persons involved

dr. P.D.V. van der Stok,,

dr. J.J. Lukkien,,

dr. ir. P.H.F.M. Verhoeven,



The examination counts for 2/3 of your final grade. It starts with a collection of understanding oriented questions. Books and slides may be used during the examination



The practical counts for 1/3 of your final grade. It amounts to the porting of an Operating System to sensor-node hardware. The OS is the open source FreeRTOS and the processor is the well-known ATMEL controller. We expect that you do the practical in teams of 4 persons.


Lectures, programme

Week 1: overview of components of WSN. Node CPUs, transceiver, energy consumption ch1


Week 2: OS and programming paradigm, network design, and -optimization aspects, channels ch2, ch3


Week 3: MAC topics: wireless communication, CSMA, duty cycles, SMAC, 802.15.4 ch4,ch5


Week 4:link layer topics, energy consumption of protocol, error control ch6, ch7


Week 5: Time synchronization ch8


Week 6: Localization ch9


Week 7:Routing ch10, ch11


Week8: Data centric program paradigm ch12


Week 9:Transport and Quality of Service ch13



Obligatory is the book: Holger Karl, Andreas Willig, Protocols and Architectures for Wireless Sensor Networks,

ISBN-13 978-0-470-09510-2, Wiley, 2006


We will be posting literature we think is useful here. Googling on this topic yields a host of information, including course sites of other universities.