Sanders Series Lecture

Gregory Abowd:
Beyond Weiser’s ubiquitous computing: 2 big ideas to drive us forward together

2016-01-12 12:30 at MaRS Auditorium


I am an applied computer scientist; my passion is to understand state-of-the-art technologies and create ways they can be integrated into everyday experiences in order to serve some meaningful purpose to a collection of stakeholders. I read Mark Weiser’s inspiring vision of ubiquitous computing, or ubicomp, when I joined the faculty in the College of Computing in 1994, and have been pursuing applications of ubicomp ever since.   While the grand idea of ubiquitous computing can still inspire lots of research, there are several new technologies that Weiser did not discuss that can and will influence computing research and its application.   Weiser described a 3rd generation of computing; I will describe both a 4th generation which has already emerged over the past decade, and a 5th generation that may soon emerge.  I will motivate two new collaborative initiatives, one motivated by 4th generation technologies and the other by 5th generation technologies.


Gregory D. Abowd (pronounced AY-bowd) is the Distinguished Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. His research interests concern how the advanced information technologies of ubiquitous computing (or ubicomp) impact our everyday lives when they are seamlessly integrated into our living spaces. Dr. Abowd’s work has involved schools and homes, with a recent focus on healthcare delivery. He is a member of the GVU Center.

Dr. Abowd currently serves as the Director of the Health Systems Institute, a joint Georgia Tech/Emory University research institute investigating the impact of technologies on healthcare delivery. This extends his own work over the past decade on information technologies and autism.

Dr. Abowd directs the Ubiquitous Computing Research Group in the School of Interactive Computing. This effort started with the Future Computing Environments research group in 1995, and has since matured into a collection of research groups, including Dr. Abowd’s own group. One of the major research efforts that Dr. Abowd initated is the Aware Home Research Initiative, which he founded in 2000 and directed until 2008.

Dr. Abowd received the degree of B.S. in Mathematics in 1986 from the University of Notre Dame. He then attended the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom on a Rhodes Scholarship, earning the degrees of M.Sc. (1987) and D.Phil. (1991) in Computation from the Programming Research Group in the Computing Laboratory. From 1989-1992 he was a Research Associate/Postdoc with the Human-Computer Interaction Group in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York in England. From 1992-1994, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Software Engineering Institute and the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University.

In the Fall of 1999, the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine did a profile on Dr. Abowd and some of his research from the 1990’s. You can read the article here. Much more news about his research group, both personal and professional, can be found here.