Digital technologies to support Covid-19 response on campus: A case study in the use of WiFi

Gregory D. Abowd, Thomas Ploetz, Munmun De Choudhury, Lauren Steimle, Dima Nazzal, Natashia Boland, Yonatan Mintz, Aditya Prakash, Polo Chau, Alex Endert, John Stasko, Matt Sanders
Vedant Das Swain, Mehrab Bin Morshed, Hyeokhyen Kwon

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly caused a lot of disruption in how universities operate. Proactive campuses use a combination of testing, tracing, and encouraging safe practices to contain infectious spread while still maintaining some semblance of operation. In this video, we will present some work on using WiFi authentication logs to support contact tracing (identifying potential contacts) as well as understanding the impact of policy (e.g., online teaching only) on infectious spread. The WiFi log data is an interesting stream of passive data that has both advantages and disadvantages when compared with other forms of passive data. We will discuss that comparison, highlighting some of the privacy challenges.


We are interested in ubiquitous computing and the research issues involved in building and evaluating ubicomp applications and services that impact our lives. Much of our work is situated in settings of everyday activity, such as the classroom, the office and the home. Our research focuses on several topics including, automated capture and access to live experiences, context-aware computing, applications and services in the home, natural interaction, software architecture, technology policy, security and privacy issues, and technology for individuals with special needs.