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In principle, activity recognition can be exploited to great societal benefits, especially in real-life, human centric applications such as elder care and healthcare. This article focused on recognizing simple human activities. Recognizing complex activities remains a challenging and active area of research and the nature of human activities poses different challenges. Human activity understanding encompasses activity recognition and activity pattern discovery. The first focuses on accurate detection of human activities based on a predefined activity model. An activity pattern discovery researcher builds a pervasive system first and then analyzes the sensor data to discover activity patterns.