Course Project Spring 2016

Your course project should consist of original research and address an important, interesting open problem related to computer security — ideally cloud or distributed systems security. It's up to you to find a good topic, but I'd like to discuss your ideas with you in order to help refine them.

You'll be working in groups of 2–3. The larger the group, the more I'll expect you to accomplish. The end products of your project will be a 20 minute presentation given to the class during finals week as well as 5–8 page paper that, ideally, is of sufficient quality and novelty to submit to a workshop or conference in computer security. There will also be several milestones throughout the quarter:

Pre-Proposal Discussion — Due 4/8

Form a group and tentative project and idea, and schedule a meeting with me to discuss and refine it.

Written Proposal — Due 4/18

Write a 2–3 page description of your project and email it to me. It should include:

  1. Group: Group member names and CNetIDs.
  2. Title: What would you call the eventual paper or product?
  3. Problem: A description of the problem you will address and why it is important.
  4. Context: A survey of related work and past approaches to the problem.
  5. Approach: How you will address the problem and how your approach differs from past work.
  6. Evaluation: How you will test how well your approach works (e.g., experimental measurements).
  7. Scope: What you plan to accomplish and deliver by each of the checkpoints and by the end of the quarter.

Checkpoint I — Due 5/6

Write a concise status report (no more than two pages) and email it to me. It should answer the following questions:

  1. Progress: What have you accomplished so far? What do you have left to do?
  2. Schedule: Are you on track to complete what you proposed?
  3. Obstacles: Have you encountered any surprises or unexpected problems?
  4. Workarounds: If you're having problems, how do you intend to solve them or work around them?
  5. Preliminary results: Can you draw any preliminary conclusions from your results so far? Include data.

Checkpoint II — Due 5/23

Email me a second status report following the format of the first.

Project Presentations — In class during finals week

Give a 20 minute conference-style talk on your project.

Final Paper — Due 6/10

Your group's final project report should be 5–8 pages and written in the style of a workshop or conference submission, like most of the papers we have read this quarter. Please include at least the following:

  1. An abstract that summarizes your work.
  2. An introduction that motivates the problem you are trying to solve.
  3. A related work section that differentiates your contributions.
  4. Section(s) describing your architecture or methodology.
  5. Results and/or evaluation section(s), with data or figures to support your claims as appropriate.
  6. A brief future work section explaining what is left to do.
  7. Appropriate citations and references from the literature.

See also: Advice on writing technical articles.

Like a real workshop submission, the length of your report should not exceed 8 typeset pages, excluding bibliography and well-marked appendices. There is no limit on the length of appendices, but graders are not required to read them. The text must be formatted in two columns, using 10 point Times Roman type on 12 point leading, in a text block of 6.5” by 9”. I strongly encourage you to use LaTeX and the USENIX template files. Please submit your report via email to me.

Submitting Your Work for Publication

As mentioned above, you should aim to produce a work of sufficient quality and novelty to submit to a workshop or conference in computer security. I'd be glad to discuss potential venues with you.