Paper Presentations
Students in CIS650 are required to present a paper during the course of the semester. In preparing your presentation, you may need to read additional papers which are listed in the bibliography of your chosen paper for background information, or additional information about the technique being used in the paper. Many of the papers chosen for the course are conference papers, which get their point across as succinctly as possible but may not give as much detail as you would like. Some of the background papers you may need are available over the web from the home pages of the authors; others are in major conference proceedings and journals which may be found in the library. If you have trouble finding a reference, check with me as I have access to the online ACM Digital Library, as well as CD's of several conferences.

The presentation should be prepared and stored on your gradient/eniac account; there is a computer in the classroom that can display Powerpoint slides as well as .pdf files. You should prepare your presentation by the class session before you will give the talk, and discuss it with me to get feedback.

Plan for your presentation to last about 30 minutes (without interruptions). You should, however, expect to be interrupted, so the actual event will last longer. Although the class will have read the paper before your presentation, you should not assume that we are experts! Therefore, your presentation should answer (at least) the following questions:

  • What is the problem being addressed in the paper?
  • What is the technique that is being used to solve the problem?
  • How does this compare with other work that has been done in the same problem area?
  • What are the major results of the paper?
  • Whenever possible, you should use examples to illustrate your points. Try to avoid endless bullets and buzz words, as this is boring. Also avoid repeating material already covered in class; for example, you will not need to explain what XML or XQuery are.

    Your final slide should summarize what you felt the strengths and weaknesses of the paper were, i.e. provide some sort of critique and elicit a response from the class. Make sure that your slides use a big enough font (e.g. at least 24 points) so that we can see the text.

    When giving the presentation, speak clearly and distinctly. Look at your audience, and face them rather than turning your back. Try to get people to interact with what you are saying. Avoid irritating mannerisms, like jingling change in your pocket, rubbing your chin, or saying ``um'' and ``ah''.

    The ability to give a convincing oral presenation is a skill that will stand you in good stead no matter what you do when you graduate from Penn. So enjoy the experience, and try to learn from it! I am happy to help however I can in this matter.