ISR Distinguished Speaker

William G. Griswold

Professor, Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering
“Saving the World through Ubiquitous Computing”
Friday, March 13, 2009 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Faculty Host: 

Email RSVP required to Jessica Garcia at by Monday March 9, 2009.

Donald Bren Hall (building #314), room 6011

No cost to attend.


Click here for directions and parking information.


Ubiquitous computing promises to bring the power of computing into every aspect of our lives, no matter where we go. The applications imagined for ubiquitous computing range from social computing to smart homes to personal health. With emerging crises like the prospect of world upheaval due to global warming, we are led to think beyond “nice to have” applications of ubiquitous computing to “must have” applications that could save our way of life.

Behind virtually every crisis today is invisibility – an inability to see what is happening right before our eyes and what is causing it. From carbon monoxide in the air to overleveraged investments, our inability to see now what will be obvious a few years hence could destroy our world as we know it. What I propose is a world-wide citizen-observing and notification network that puts the power of deep situational knowledge in the hands of virtually everyone on the planet. With low-cost sensor arrays on our phones to capture local physical data, along with the web’s massive global databases of information about the virtual and physical worlds (e.g., historical data, land ownership, financial transactions), it will be possible to connect the dots between the physical world and the virtual world, thereby lifting the veil of obscurity and enabling us to hold those responsible to account.

In this talk I will develop this vision for how ubiquitous computing can rise to meet this challenge, lay out a research program for overcoming the many problems that must be solved, and review where we stand today. Along the way I will draw on results from the research of the Ubiquitous Computing and Social Dynamics group ( and sister groups at UCSD.

About the Speaker: 

William Griswold is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1991, and his BA in Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1985. He was recently Program Co-Chair for the 2005 International Conference on Software Engineering, and is currently Chair of ACM SIGSOFT. His research interests include ubiquitous computing, educational technology, aspect-oriented software development,software evolution and design, and software tools. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and ACM.