The first problem set will be handed out on Feb. 2 and due on Feb. 16. The second problem set will be handed out on Feb. 16 and due on March 2. You may discuss the problem sets with other students in the class, but since the goal is to practice skills, the actual writing up of the solutions must be done separately. (In particular, this means that your solution should not word-for-word resemble another student's.)
As a way to get everyone thinking about the research issues underlying the course, and to prepare for the project, there will be a short reaction paper of roughly 5 pages in length. You can work in groups of up to 3 people on the paper. The reaction is a good way to work on formulating a topic for the course project, and your group for the reaction paper can become your group for the project (which also can be done in groups of 3).
The reaction papers will be due on March 23.
The reaction paper should be structured as follows. First, you should read at least two closely related papers relevant to a particular section of the course, at least one of which is not linked from the course home page. You should then write approximately 5 pages in which you address the following points:
Reaction papers should not just be summaries of the papers you read; most of your text should be focused on synthesis of the underlying ideas, and your own perspective on the papers. To make this concrete, you should make sure that you devote much of the content to the last bullet above: promising directions for further research. In particular, the reaction paper should contain at least some amount of each of the following types of content:
The first step in the project will be a short roadmap document. This is meant just to be a brief description of what you're intending for the project -- about a page in length, with a discussion of relevant background work and tentative plans for how you'll proceed. If your project is based on your reaction paper, then you don't need to repeat things you've said in the reaction paper -- it's enough to describe how you're planning to turn the ideas from the reaction paper into a larger project.
The roadmap document will be due April 13.
The basic genres of project are the following:
The result of the project will typically be a 10-15 page paper, describing the approach, the results, and the related work. The references on the course home page serve as examples of what such papers tend to look like; of course, the overall form of the paper will depend on the nature of the project.
In addition to the write-up of the project, there will be a presentation of the projects in class by each group. The presentations will take place in the range from April 30 to May 9; the exact time slots will be worked out later in the semester. The final write-up of the project will be due May 16.
You are expected to maintain the utmost level of academic integrity in the course. Any violation of the code of academic integrity will be penalized severely, and can lead to failing the course.
Plagiarism deserves special mention here. Including text from other sources in a reaction paper or project write-up without quoting it and providing a proper citation constitutes plagiarism. This is a serious form of academic misconduct, and instances of plagiarism will very likely result in failing the course. Plagiarism is not just word-for-word copying; it also includes cases in which no full sentence has been copied from the original source, but large amounts of text have been closely paraphrased without proper attribution.