Using CS5412 in Conjunction with CS5999

CS MEng students, like MEng students in other programs, are required to obtain MEng project credits under the CS5999 course number, with a faculty member who will supervise your work.  Many students are able to do projects with individual faculty members in the CS field, but a few prefer to explore project ideas that are expansions of courses like cloud computing or security.

In cloud computing, Professor Birman is willing to supervise this kind of expanded project.  It normally would run over the same period as CS5412.  When adding CS5999, quite a bit more work is required, so these projects will sometimes turn out to take a little bit longer to complete.  As a result, many demos for students doing CS5999 occur a bit late, after the majority of the CS5412 projects have done their presentations and been graded.

In any Cornell class, the professor sets the learning goals and the assessment strategy, and ultimately assigns the grades.  So this raises a question of how Professor Birman grades CS5999, and how the CS5999 grade relates to the CS5412 grade.

In fact, the grade you get in CS5412 will normally be exactly the same as the grade given to you for CS5999, meaning that your CS5999 grade won't be determined purely by the project.  It will also reflect your performance on the CS5412 prelim.  Why do we do this?  Well, these CS5999 projects are cloud computing projects, and for that you have a certain amount of knowledge you need to learn (gained from classes you attend and measured on the prelim) as well as a certain skill set you pick up by actually using the cloud to solve real systems problems.  In Professor Birman's view, a person can't do a cloud-computing CS5999 without learning the cloud computing material, and demonstrating that knowledge through an exam. And so the CS5412 prelim will count for or against your CS5412 project grade just as it would if you weren't doing the extra credits of CS5999.   You will get the same grade on CS5412 and on CS5999.

Some people feel that they really want an MEng project that is graded purely as a project, with no classroom aspects and no exams.  This particular way of obtaining CS5999 credits, however, is linked to the class.

Here is the basic process:

Please speak to the TAs or to Professor Birman with any questions.