Kelly Shaw to Explain Why Smart Home Devices Do Not Always Work Correctly

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 26, 2021—Kelly Shaw, associate professor of computer science at Williams College, will present the final installment in the 2021 Faculty Lecture Series with her talk titled “Smart Home Devices: Why They Don’t Always Work Correctly.” Shaw’s online lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Thursday, April 1, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.

In her talk, Shaw will introduce Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, explaining how internet-enabled devices can interact with one another and with users by using computing and data storage resources in the cloud. She will describe multiple ways that unexpected and incorrect behavior can occur in these systems, including examples from work with commercial smart home platforms. Finally, she will share approaches she and her collaborators have explored for detecting and correcting these issues in IoT systems.

Please use the following link to join the webinar:
Passcode: 814672

Shaw’s work explores ways to improve the interaction between computer hardware and software in order to make applications run faster while functioning correctly. Ensuring correctness can be challenging in many modern systems because these systems are comprised of different types of processors that work collectively on a shared problem. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a growing domain of computing where applications can be constructed out of a variety of internet-enabled devices that interact with their physical environment. For example, an individual can create a home monitoring system that is comprised of smart locks, motion detectors, and smoke alarms that can send alerts to smart phones when activity is sensed. As many smart home enthusiasts have discovered, these systems do not always function as correctly as hoped. Shaw’s recent work examines ways to verify the correctness of these IoT systems and designs approaches for enabling correct operation.

The Faculty Lecture Series was founded in 1911 by Catherine Mariotti Pratt, the spouse of a faculty member who wanted to “relieve the tedium of long New England winters with an opportunity to hear Williams professors talk about issues that really mattered to them.” From these humble and lighthearted beginnings, the Faculty Lecture Series has grown to become an important forum for tenured professors to share their latest research with the larger intellectual community of the college.

The Faculty Lecture Series is organized by the faculty members of the Lecture Committee. The aim of the series is to present big ideas beyond disciplinary boundaries.

For more information, visit the events calendar on the Williams College website at

Published March 26, 2021