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Ubiquitous computing addresses the emergent trend of moving beyond the desktop computer and embedding computation into the environment. With the proliferation of palm devices, cell phones, digital cameras, smart sensors, and so on, some of this paradigm shift has already happened. A lot more must happen to make computers blend with the environment.
Moving beyond the desktop into a model where computers are ubiquitous has important consequences in every aspect of computing systems development, from hardware and software design to HCI to social aspects of computing. And, as with any good paradigm shift, this one doesn't invalidate the pre-existing models, concepts and tools: it expands them.
The field of ubiquitous computing, as such, is a vibrant research area. Specific research emphases of the UBICOMP faculty include programming models and tools for pervasive systems, experimental design research involving sensor- rich systems, and empirical studies of ubiquitous computing technology.