I-433 Systems & Protocol Security & Information Assurance (Spring 2017)

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Warning: The various due dates on this page are subject to change during the first 2 weeks of class

Research Paper

Students will work on an 8–10 page (double spaced) term paper in groups of one or two students (groups of three are not allowed). The paper should identify an interesting topic related to security or privacy and provide a survey of existing solutions and research related to this topic (I expect about 2–3 appropriate research papers to be referenced in addition to commercial technologies and other resources). Additionally, the student must provide thoughtful directions for future work on this topic.

Grading of research paper

Proposal document Feb 19 15%
Final presentation Apr 21 15%
Final report Apr 23 70%

For each deliverable, each student will need to complete an additional OnCourse 'assignment' where you characterize your individual contribution to the a) background work on the project and b) writing of the paper. Both aspects are equally important in determining your individual grade. I expect both students to contribute significantly to both aspects. In particular, if you leave most of the writing to your project partner, your grade will be significantly reduced. Aim for no more than a 60-40% discrepancy in your individual contributions to each component.

Proposal (Feb 19)

1 page paper description with 1-inch margins, 11-pt font, single spaced.

Outline for proposal:
  • Section 1, Introduction: Motivate the problem/issue you are trying to explore. Why is it an interesting issue?
  • Section 2, Approach: Describe your approach for exploring, surveying and analyzing the various aspects of the problem/issue. What are some resources you have found already? Need some preliminary ideas here to show you have a plan.
  • Section 3, Schedule: Propose a schedule of milestones, with a 2 week granularity showing how you will make steady progress towards your final report. The goal is to have a plan. It is okay to deviate (within reason) from this plan as the semester progresses.

Final report (Apr 23)

Final report due. 8–10 pages, 1-inch margins, 11-pt font, double spaced.

Outline for term paper:

  • Introduction (1-2 pages): Motivate the problem/issue you are addressing in your paper. Why is it an interesting issue?
  • Approach (half page): A short section describing how you analyze the issue in the rest of the paper. For example, "In Section 3, I will survey the existing techniques to address this problem, and in Section 4 I provide suggestions on how to better address the issue." Frame the rest of the paper for the reader, so that the reader understands how you analyze the problem you motivated in the Introduction.
  • Survey of Existing Techniques/Solutions (4-5 pages): This section forms the meat of your term paper. I expect you to demonstrate that you have understood the space of existing techniques and solutions, including those from the research literature. Your paper should give me a good picture of what's been done to address the problem.
  • Suggestions (1-2 pages): I expect about a page or two of your thoughts on suggestions for future work. How can the current situation be improved?
  • Conclusions (1 page): Summarize your findings in the first paragraph, and in the second paragraph conclude with your philosophical ruminations about the problem, what needs to be done, and where we stand.
  • Bibliography/References (1 page): Plagiarism will not be tolerated. In any scholarly paper, you must cite all your sources in your main text, and include a reference to the bibliography for details.

Final presentation (Apr 21)

"3 minute madness": We will have 2–3 minute presentations where you will quickly tell the rest of the class about the interesting problem you explored and what your salient findings were. End with one or two recommendations, e.g., if your project explored cloud security and privacy, you could end with "if you want a secure cloud storage alternative, we suggest X because ..."

Late reports?

Manage your time well, and start early!

You have an automatic 3-day extension for each of the proposal, status, and final reports. You will be penalized 25% for every day it is late beyond this extension.

Topic ideas

You can work on any topic related to computer security and privacy. Please come talk to me for specific topic ideas.