CS851: Biologically-Inspired Computing
ProjectStudents will work either alone, or in small groups, on a research project related to biologically-inspired compting. Students are strongly encouraged to find project topics that relate to their ongoing thesis research (or that will help them find a thesis topic if they are currently searching for one).
Your projects should be a research projects. This means they should start by posing a question no one is able to answer today, explain what it is worthwhile to answer that questions, and produce theoretical and/or experimental results that help answer that question. Projects should include a summary and analysis of related work, but that should not be the primary focus of your work.
Your project may be on any topic that you can convince the seminar organizers is relevant to the seminar theme and will be interesting and worthwhile. The scope of your project should be small enough so that you can complete it this semester. Projects can (and hopefully will) include larger issues that will be addressed after the seminar ends to make your results ready for submission to a conference or workshop. The best projects should lead to conference papers and contribute to your thesis. All project proposals should describe work that could lead to a externally publishable paper if successful.
- Tuesday, 11 February: One page project mini-proposal. Your mini-proposal should describe the question you intend to answer, and why it is interesting. Your mini-proposal should also explain how the project relates to the research you are already doing (or planning to do).
- Tuesday, 11 February (and any class after): Elevator Speeches. (Described below.)
- Thursday, 27 February: Project proposal. (Described below.)
- Thursday, 17 April - Tuesday, 29 April: Project presentations. (Details available later.)
- Tuesday, 29 April: Project final report. (Details available later.)
Elevator SpeechesImagine you are in an elevator with a very busy, rich and important person. You have ninety seconds (elevators in buildings with rich and important people in them tend to be faster than the one in our building) to convince her your project is so exciting she should read your proposal and consider funding it generously. In ninety seconds you should be able to explain the problem you hope to solve, why it is interesting (to someone not an expert in your area), and what you are doing to solve it. A successful elevator speech elicits a question from the listener after the elevator doors open; an unsuccessful one drives the listener away as quickly as possible.
On Feburary 11, we will call randomly on some students to give an elevator speech about your project. At any class after that, we may randomly select students to give elevator speeches about your project. After the project proposal has been submitted, elevator speeches are expected to also include information about how well you have met the latest milestones in your research plan. Being able to give a good elevator speech may be even more important to your future career in research or industry than being able to do good research and write well, so it is worth practicing this whenever you get the chance.
Project ProposalThe project proposal should include:
We expect most project proposals will be about 5 pages long, but there is no strict length requirement or expectation.
- Clear Statement of the Problem — what question is your project seeking to answer? If your project is successful, what will the research community know after you are done that it does not already know.
- Motivation — why is your problem interesting and important?
- Related Work — this doesn't need to be complete yet, but should be enough to show the problem is relevant and interesting and make it clear what has and has not already been solved by other researchers. You should make sure to relate the related work to your project, not just summarize a lot of papers you have read. For every work you describe, your related work section should explain clearly why it is relevant to what you want to do.
- Research Plan — concrete description of what you plan to do. Your research plan must include clear milestones for every week until 29 April (the final project due date).
- Evaluation — description of how you will decide if the project is successful. How do you know if you have answered the problem question? Note that your project does not need to be a successful research project to satisfy the requirements for the course project, but you do need some way of evaluating the success of your project.
Upcoming ConferencesProjects relevant to this course could be targeted to a wide variety of conferences and workshops. A few that may be good choices for some of your projects are listed below, but depending on your topic and interests, there may be other more suitable venues (as well as conferences with later deadlines).
7th European Conference on Artificial Life (Deadline: 1 March)
European Software Engineering Conference and ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (Deadline: 14 March)
ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (Deadline: 24 March)
The First International Workshop on Engineering Self-Organising Applications (Deadline: 31 March)
New Security Paradigms Workshop 2003 (Deadline: 4 April)
University of Virginia
Department of Computer Science
CS 851: Biologically-Inspired Computing