Algorithms for Information Networks: Coursework
Spring 2005

The assigned work for the course will consist of a short reaction paper and a more substantial project.

Here is a more detailed description of the reaction paper and the project.

Reaction Papers

The course is primarily based on material from the past 5-7 years; this means that most of it exists in the form of papers on the Web, and the existing literature raises a lot of interesting issues that have yet to be explored.

As a first assignment, and a way to get everyone thinking about the research issues underlying the course, there will be a short reaction paper of roughly 3-5 pages in length. You can work in groups of up to 3 people on the paper.

The reaction papers will be due on Feb. 21.

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 3-5 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. Ideally, the reaction paper should contain at least one of the following (or, ideally, both):


The final piece of the work for the course will be a project. You can work on this in groups of up to 3 people, and it is largely up to you to define the topic and scope of the project.

The first step in the project will be a short `proposal,' which should be a write-up of about 3 pages, containing references, that describes the plans for the project, a summary of the relevant background work (both from papers on the course home page and elsewhere), and any preliminary results.

The project proposal will be due on Mar. 28.

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.

The project write-up will be due on April 27.

The final stage will be a presentation of the projects in class by each group. The exact schedule for the project presentations will be worked out later in the semester.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

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. There are a number of documents on the Web that provide a good sense for what is allowed; I personally find pages 16-22 of Cornell's Academic Integrity Code at to be very useful for this.