CIS 700/003: Project guidelines

My primary goal for this course is to introduce students to new research opportunities in the field of distributed systems with multiple administrative domains. Ideally, we will generate new research ideas, and the class project gives us an opportunity to explore some of these ideas together.

For the class project, you can choose to do either a research project or a survey paper. PhD students are strongly encouraged to choose the research project.

Option 1: Research project

You can propose a research project that is related to one of the topics covered by the course. One way to choose a project topic is to identify some aspect of your current research that is related to multiple administrative domains. This has the advantage that you can use the results in your thesis and/or in a subsequent publication. Another way is to choose a new project you are excited about, or you can come see me for a list of suggested projects. In any case, it is a good idea to talk to your advisor about your project before you submit the proposal. I'd also be happy to provide feedback.

You should work on the project individually or in teams of two. I will consider exceptions from this rule only if you can convince me that your project is too ambitious to be completed by a team of two.

Option 2: Survey paper

You can write a survey paper that covers at least three papers from any topic covered in class. Your paper should 1) identify the main challenges and problems in the area you are surveying, 2) compare the solutions proposed by the papers and outline strengths and weaknesses of each, and 3) sugegst future research directions that might be of interest to you. The survey paper must be done individually.

Project Milestones

Milestone Due Deliverables: Research project Deliverables: Survey paper
Project proposal (10%) Feb 9
12 noon
Your proposal should describe:
  • The problem you are trying to solve.
  • The approach you are planning to use.
  • How you intend to evaluate your solution.
  • At least two papers related to the problem.
  • Your proposed milestones.
Your proposal should describe:
  • The problem or research area covered by your survey.
  • A set of at least three papers you plan to survey.
  • Reasons why your choice of papers is appropriate for the planned survey.
Format: PDF file, two columns, 10-point font, single-spaced, up to one page. Submission is via email.
WiP (10%) Mar 4 We will do a 'work in progress' session in class. This is a format that is common at conferences like SOSP (example). Every team should prepare a five-minute presentation that conveys the essential idea of their project (or the key challenge of the area they are surveying) and ideally gets the audience excited about it. The five-minute limit will be enforced rigorously (by me, with a stopwatch). You must submit your slides in PPT or PDF one hour before class.
Status report (15%) Mar 16 Your status report should describe:
  • The problem you are solving.
  • The specific approach you took.
  • Related work.
  • What has been accomplished so far.
  • What remains to be done.
  • Proposed milestones until the project report.
Your status report should be an outline of your survey.
Format: PDF file, two columns, 10-point font, single-spaced, up to two pages. Submission is via email
In-class presentation (20%) Apr 22+26 10-minute presentations plus two minutes Q&A
Final report (45%) Apr 27 Your final report should be structured like a workshop paper. That is, it should have a short abstract, an introduction, a description of related work, an evaluation (research project only), and a conclusion.

Format: Two columns, 10-point font, single-spaced, up to six pages.