Dalhousie University    [  http://web.cs.dal.ca/~vlado/csci6509/project.html  ]
Winter 2015 (Jan5-Apr10)
Faculty of Computer Science
Dalhousie University

CSCI 4152/6509 - Course Project

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The course project for graduate students (CSCI 6509) should follow the basic structure of a typical research project, such as the research work on a thesis, only on a smaller scale. The undergraduate students (CSCI 4152) can choose as well to do a research project, or they can do a more purely implementation-focused project.

You can form project teams of up to four students, or work individually.

The final paper should be in the form of a technical report. The presentations will be up to 8 minutes long, followed by 4 minutes for questions. The graduate students (CSCI6509) will give individual presentations, while undergraduate students (CSCI4152) can give individual presentations or team presentations.

Regarding presentation dates, please take a look at the free time slots on the course calendar and let me know by email your preference. The presentations will be scheduled based on first-come-first-served basis.


Note about emails: All emails related to the course must have the course number included in the subject, such as CSCI4152, CSCI6509, or, the best option, CSCI4152/6509.

In more details, your subject lines for two required emails must be:

P0 – Project Topic Proposal

Worth: 1% of the final mark.

You will need to choose a topic for your project. By the due date, you need to send to the instructor an email in plain text with the following information:

  • tentative title,
  • the list of team members, and
  • one paragraph description of the topic. Please do this as soon as you have chosen a topic. If two or more students or groups have the same or very similar topics, the one that sends P0 later may be required to change the topic. If the topic is not sufficiently relevant to the course, you may be asked to change it.

    P1 – Project Statement

    For CSCI6509: 5% of the final mark, and for CSCI4152: 3% of the final mark.

    The project statement must be submitted using SVN. You must submit it in your project directory named P-nn, where nn is the number of your project. The location of this directory in SVN is explained in the email sent to the email list. The project statement must be submitted as a PDF file named p1.pdf. If you want, you can also submit additional documents (such as Word or LaTeX version, or a plain text version). The P1 document should be about 2 pages long. It must include:

    1. Project title,
    2. Names of the member(s) of the group,
    3. Problem statement,
    4. List of possible approaches with citations to relevant work,
    5. Project plan for the rest of the term, and
    6. List of references.
    The statement should identify a feasible project. P1 will be marked based on its completeness, clarity of presentation, and research on and analysis of related work.

    P – Oral Presentation

    Worth: 10% of the final mark, including class participation.

    You are required to submit the slides of the presentation at least 24 hours before your presentation using SVN. The slides file should be named 'presentation' with the appropriate extension. If you are making an individual presentation, the file should be submitted in your SVN directory in the subdirectory named 'presentation'. If you are an undergraduate student and presenting as a team, you can use your project SVN directory to submit the presentation file. The slides can be original slides, or a slides handout (e.g., 6 slides per page), and they must be in PDF or PowerPoint format. You can submit additional files as well, such as presentation.tex. I will assume that you will use your computer for presentation, but if you need a computer please send a request to the instructor, and a computer will be provided to you. If you use the instructor's computer, you can only use PDF or PowerPoint slides, without use of Internet or running any other programs.

    Duration: The presentations should last up to 8 minutes, with 4 additional minutes reserved for questions and changing speakers, for the total of 12 minutes.

    Content: There is a significant flexibility in choosing the topic of your presentation, but it should be related to the project. It could be the work you have done up to that time, or what you plan to do. It is a good idea to include research or other related work that you did so far. You could also present a related method from the textbook or another paper.

    Evaluation scheme for presentations:

    R – Project Report

    Worth: grads 24% / ugrads 16% of the final mark.

    The written project report is submitted in printed and electronic form; i.e., in class and using SVN. The SVN submission must be in the project directory (P-nn). The main report must be named report.pdf. You can also submit additional code, data, and other files that you find relevant. The reports are kept in archive with the instructor for several years.

    A typical structure of a research project is:

    This structure is just a guideline and parts may not be relevant to your project. There are no fixed requirements about the length of the paper, since it may depend on the type of the project and number of people in a group. It is expected that a project report contains at least 8 pages, and it may be sufficient for an A+ project if some implementational or experimental work has been done.

    Some Project Report Style Notes

    The project report should be written in a good style from a technical Computer Science perspective. This is a bit loose specification. A couple of additional hints are provided below:

    An example of how to choose a project topic and work on it

    1. Choose an NLP-related problem that is important and interesting in your opinion. You should have some ideas about how it could be solved, and about what interesting results you could obtain by the end of term. The discussed problem should be feasible in this sense, but it should not be trivial.
    2. The next step is to search through existing published work and find out about existing solutions on the same problem, or to the closest similar problem. You can start with the textbook.
    3. Design your method, implement it, and run experiments; possibly try method variations.
    4. Analyze results. Revisit your methodology if needed.
    5. Finish the report. Keep writing during the term.

    While the above guidelines describe a typical research project in NLP, you can also consider some alternative forms:

    Alternative Project Types


    1. NLP Research Links on the course web page
    2. http://acl.ldc.upenn.edu/ — ACL Anthology
    3. Google scholar and other scientific Internet resources

    Course Themes for This Term

    These themes are chosen as themse for research and appliaction focus. This means that some questions in assignments will be tageted towards them, and if students do not feel strongly about any particular topic for their project, they will be encouraged to work on these problem areas. These themes are also related to to some current research and industrial projects going on.

    Topics of Some Previous Course Projects

    The topics of some previous course projects are included in the lecture notes;
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