EECS 598: Human-Inspired Computing (Winter 2008)

Instructor:  Todd Austin, CSE 4637,

Office Hours:  Tuesday 1:30-2:30, Thursday 3:30-4:30, or by appt.

Class Web Page:    (Visit often!)

Course Synopsis:  This course covers recent research topics in computer engineering related to human-inspired computing applications. Specifically, we will be examining sensing and control applications on and within the human body, such as health sensing and assisted-living applications. In support of these applications we will study a variety of supporting technologies, including sensor processors, bio-implant technologies, bio-chemical sensing applications, neural-signal processing, and radio-frequency identification. The research studied in the course will have strong foundations in embedded computing, computer architecture, networking, signal processing, low-power electronics, and distributed computing. The goal of the class is to give students the background knowledge necessary to go forward and apply their core research technologies into the emerging domain of human-inspired computing. The primary evaluation criteria are the quality of student's written paper critiques and in-class presentations of assigned research papers, and a semester-long team research project. The project teams will be composed (as far as possible) of a mix of students with EECS background and students with backgrounds in one or more of the application domains. The prerequisite of the class is graduate standing, although undergraduate students in EECS with coursework in programming (EECS 280), networking (EECS 489) and hardware (EECS 370 and 373) will also be able to take this course.

Text:  None, we will be reading papers available from the Web, they are listed below.

Course Schedule (tentative):





Thur, 1/3 Class Introduction    

Tues, 1/8

Overview - Human-Inspired Computing Applications


Thur, 1/10

Guest Lecture - Rajeev Krishna  

Tues, 1/15

Overview - Example Application: Pacemakers    

Thur, 1/17

Overview -  Sensor Processors    

Tues, 1/22

Overview -  Sensor Processors (part 2)  


Thur, 1/24

Overview - Sensor Networking


Tues, 1/29

No class



Thur, 1/31

Overview - Sensor Networking



Tues, 2/5

Overview - Sensor Networking (part 2)


Thur, 2/7

Overview - Energy Scavenging    

Tues, 2/12

Overview - Sensing Technologies   Paper topics published

Thur, 2/14

Toward an Accurate Evaluation of Sensor Processors Paper #1  

Tues 2/19

No class   Select paper preferences

Thur, 2/21

  Papers #2, #3 Receive project details
Tues, 2/26 Spring break    
Thur, 2/28 Spring break    
Tues, 3/4   Papers #5, #20  
Thur, 3/6   Papers #6, #7  
Tues 3/11 No class    
Thur 3/13 No class    
Tues 3/18   Papers #8, #9  
Thur 3/20   Papers #10, #11  
Tues 3/25   Papers #12, #13  
Thur 3/27   Papers #14, #15  
Tues 4/1   Papers #16, #17  
Thur 4/3   Papers #18, #19  
Tues 4/8   Papers #4, #21  
Thur 4/10      

Project:  There will be one project beginning in week 5. Students may work alone or in pairs - of course, larger groups will be expected to produce more results. Students will conduct a research project that includes a quantitative evaluation of the proposed invention or a qualitative analysis of existing work.  Other projects are also possible with prior approval. Students will meeting with the professor to propose the project, meet during the semester for checkpoints, and finally produce a research report and present their findings in the final week of class.

Details of the project can be found here:


Class Participation: 20%
Class Presentations: 40%
Project: 40%


  1. Lecture 01 - Class overview
  2. Lecture 02 - Human-Inspired Computing
  3. Lecture 03 - Pacemakers
  4. Lecture 04 - Sensor Processing
  5. Lecture 05 - Sensor Networking
  6. Lecture 06 - Energy Scavenging
  7. Lecture 07 - Sensing Technologies

Class forum:

    Here is the class forum, please add your comments about papers by 5pm the day before they are presented.  For more details see Lecture 01.

Reading List:           

We will be reading the following papers. We will discuss them in the week specified in the table above, please have read the papers by the beginning of class.  NOTE: To view ACM and IEEE papers you must have an account with that institution OR you must access the papers from within the domain.

  1. Leyla Nazhandali, Michael Minuth, and Todd Austin, “Toward an Accurate Evaluation of Sensor Network Processors,” in the 2005 IEEE International Symposium on Workload Characterization (IISWC-2005), October 2005. [Austin presenting]
  2. J. M. Donelan, Q. Li,1 V. Naing, J. A. Hoffer, D. J. Weber, and A. D. Kuo, "Biomechanical Energy Harvesting: Generating Electricity During Walking with Minimal User Effort," in Science, 319 (807), 2008. [Greathouse presenting]
  3. A. Boudghene Stambouli and E. Traversa, "Fuel cells, an alternative to standard sources of energy," in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 6 (3), September 2002. [Wagner presenting]
  4. Mark Hempstead, Nikhil Tripathi, Patrick Mauro, Gu-Yeon Wei, and David Brooks, "An Ultra Low Power System Architecture for Sensor Network Applications," in ISCA 2005. [Meisner presenting]
  5. Charles H. Bennett and Rolf Landauer, "The Fundamental Limits of Computation" in Scientific American. Vol. 253, July 1985. [DeOrio presenting]

  6. Gusphyl A. Justin, Yingze Zhang, Mingui Sun, and Robert Sclabassi, "Biofuel Cells: A possible power source for implantable electronic devices," in Proceedings of the 26th Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS, September 2004. [Gregory presenting]

  7. S. Jacobson and A. Epstein, "An informal survey of power MEMS," in Proc. Int. Symp. Micro-Mechanical Eng, 2003. [Zhang presenting]
  8. J. M. Kahn, R. H. Katz, and K. S. J. Pister, "Next Century Challenges: Mobile Networking for Smart Dust," in MOBICOM-99. [Greathouse presenting]
  9. Nathaniel Guilar, Albert Chen, Travis Kleeburg, and Rajeevan Amirtharajah, "Integrated Solar Energy Harvesting and Storage," in ISLPED 2006. [Meisner presenting]
  10. Michael, K, and McCathie, L, "The pros and cons of RFID in supply chain management," in Proceedings of the International Conference on Mobile Business, July 2005. [Zhu presenting]
  11. Wang, Qixin Shin, Wook Liu, Xue Zeng, Zheng Oh, Cham AlShebli, Bedoor K. Caccamo, Marco Gunter, Carl A. Gunter, Elsa Hou, Jennifer Karahalios, Karrie and Sha, Lui, "I-Living: An Open System Architecture for Assisted Living," in Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, October 2006. [Hu presenting]
  12. Ruiz, J.A. Jiang Xu and Shimamoto, S., "Propagation characteristics of intra-body communications for body area networks," in IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference, January 2006. [Gregory presenting]

  13. Richard A Andersen, Sam Musallam and Bijan Pesaran, "Selecting the signals for a brain–machine interface," Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 14 (6), December 2004. [Zhang presenting]

  14. M. D. Johnson, R. K. Franklin, K.A. Scott, R. B. Brown, D. R. Kipke, "Neural Probes for Concurrent Detection of Neurochemical and Electrophysiological Signals in vivo," in Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 27th Annual Conference, September 2005. [Ramakrishnan presenting]

  15. Hochberg, L.R. and Donoghue, J.P., "Sensors for brain-computer interfaces," in IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, October 2006. [Hu presenting]
  16. Ruth Y. Litovsky, Aaron Parkinson, Jennifer Arcaroli, Robert Peters, Jennifer Lake, Patti Johnstone, and Gonqiang Yu, "Bilateral Cochlear Implants in Adults and Children," in Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgury, 2004. [DeOrio presenting]
  17. Pankanti, S. Bolle, R.M. and Jain, A., "Biometrics: The future of identification," in IEEE Computer, February 2000. [Zhu presenting]
  18. Lebedev MA and Nicolelis MA, "Brain-machine interfaces: past, present and future," Trends in Neuroscience, Vol. 29, October 2006. [Wagner presenting]
  19. Gregory J Gage, Kip A Ludwig, Kevin J Otto, Edward L Ionides, and Daryl R Kipke, "Naıve coadaptive cortical control," in Journal of Neural Engineering, Issue 2, 2005. [Ramakrishnan presenting]
  20. Benedetto Vigna, “Physical Sensors Drive MEMS Consumerization Wave,” in the 13th International Micromachine/Nanotech Symposium, April 2007.
  21. Tian He, John A. Stankovic, Chenyang Lu, and Tarek F. Abdelzaher, "A Spatiotemporal Communication Protocol for Wireless Sensor Networks," IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 16 (10), October 2005.

Additional papers covered in lecture:

  1. TBD