CSCI-B 649/INFO-I 590: Advanced Topics in Privacy
Fall 2010

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Research Projects

Students will work on privacy-related projects in groups of one or two (because three is a crowd). The amount of work should be appropriate to the group size. You will be graded on the basis of a project description, a final project report, and you final project presentation.

Project Grading

Project proposal paper Oct 5 10%
Project proposal presentation Oct 12 10%
Project status report Nov 16 20%
Informal progress updates Weekly 10%
Final project report Dec 7 35%
Final project presentation Dec 14 15%


  • Project proposal (Oct 5): 3–5 page project description with 1-inch margins and 11-pt font.
    • Section 1, Introduction: Motivate the problem you are trying to solve. Include a couple of references of the most recent work in this area.
    • Section 2, Approach: Describe your approach for solving the problem. What is new and interesting about this approach? How is it better than existing work?
    • Section 3, Deliverables: Describe what you hope to accomplish by the end of the semester.
    • Section 4, Schedule: Propose a schedule of milestones, with a 1–2 week granularity. The goal is to have a plan. It is okay to deviate (within reason) from this plan as the semester progresses.

  • Project proposal class presentation (Oct 12): 10 minutes per group, around 4 slides total on 1) Motivation, 2) Approach, 3) Benefits over existing work, 4) Schedule and Milestones

  • Project status report (Nov 16): This report will be an early draft of your final project report. Create a template based on the instructions for the final report and include all sections. I expect the following sections to be well written: Abstract, Introduction, Overview of Approach. In this report it should be absolutely clear by now what you're doing in your project.

    Next, the Protocol/Architecture/Design section should have some technical detail on your solution and a high-level architecture of your solution (I want to see that you have started hashing out some of the details), but I won't expect a polished writeup. Include details about what you have so far and what you're planning on completing for the final report. The remaining sections should have some placeholder text (such as bullets) showing that you're at least thinking about what will go in there. Evaluation should include your current plans for evaluation. Related work should contain a sizeable bibliography of papers related to your project.

  • Final project report (Dec 7): Conference-quality project report due. 8–10 pages, 1-inch margins, two column, 11-pt font. Suggested outline:
    • Abstract (around 200 words)
    • Introduction (includes references to highly-relevant related work, i.e., state of the art for the problem you are trying to solve)
    • Overview of Approach (a nice and accessible "English" description of your approach)
    • Protocol/Architecture/Design/...
    • Evaluation (don't forget to interpret your data)
    • Discussion (discuss some of the important simplifying assumptions, and suggest possibilities for future work)
    • Related Work ("somewhat related" work goes here; directly related work goes into the Introduction)
    • Conclusions (don't summarize your work here. That's what the abstract was for. Instead provide some philosophical ruminations of your work and future possibilities, i.e., conclusions that you have arrived at as a result of your work.)

  • Final project presentation (Dec 14): 20 minutes followed by 5 minutes of Q&A per group

Late reports?

Manage your time well, and start early!

You have an automatic 4-day extension for the project description, progress report, and final report. You will be penalized 25% for every day it is late beyond this extention. You are required to submit satisfactory versions of these reports within 8 days of the deadline to pass the class.

Project ideas

You can work on any project related to privacy. Please come talk to me for specific project ideas.