Mobile computers and wireless networks are emerging technologies that will soon be available to a wide variety of computer users. Unlike earlier generations of laptop computers, the new generation of mobile computers can be an integrated part of a distributed computing environment, one in which users change physical location frequently. The result is a new computing paradigm, nomadic computing. This paradigm will aaect the design of much of our current systems software, including that of database systems. This paper discusses in some detail the impact of nomadic computing on a number of traditional database system concepts. In particular, we point out how the reliance on short-lived batteries changes the cost assumptions underlying query processing. In these systems, power consumption competes with resource utilization in the deenition of cost metrics. We also discuss how the likelihood of temporary disconnection forces consideration of alternative transaction processing protocols. The limited screen space of mobile computers along with the advent of pen-based computing provides new opportunities and new constraints on database interfaces and languages. Lastly, we believe that the movement of computers and data among networks potentially belonging to distinct, autonomous organizations creates serious security problems.