University of Virginia, Department of Computer Science
CS851: Biologically-Inspired Computing


Students 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.


Elevator Speeches

Imagine 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 Proposal

The project proposal should include: We expect most project proposals will be about 5 pages long, but there is no strict length requirement or expectation.

Upcoming Conferences

Projects 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)

CS 655 University of Virginia
Department of Computer Science
CS 851: Biologically-Inspired Computing