CS 276 -- Distributed Computing and Computer Networks
Due by December 5, 2002 at 5:00pm
Basically, your group's task is to do something significant
within the area of networking. (How's that for vague?)
Your project should involve some form of communication over
the network and should involve an architecture and at least
some basic implementation. That is all.
- Motivation: In my opinion, the best way for
either new MS or PhD students to get started in research
is to do a literature search in an area (see homework assignments),
learn the background and basic research questions (attend
lecture), formulate an idea for a new protocol/service,
prototype that protocol/service, and refine the architecture
based on experience building the prototype. These last three
tasks are the reason for having a project.
- Project Group: The project groups will be selected
by me and will consist of roughly 25 groups of two students each.
The groups will be announced on October 3rd. Group assignments
will be made only from those students who successfully
complete Homework #0 on time.
- Motivation: The reason that groups will be
chosen according to this mechanism is that I am interested
in the opportunity to create something better than what two
individuals could produce. Allowing students to create their
own groups introduces a whole host of problems, the most
significant of which is too much homogeneity.
- Shared Reponsibility: As with any group project,
it sometimes happens that one person does not do his/her
fair share. If this happens, it is the responsibility of
the offended group member to inform me by email. This email
will be kept confidential. However, every effort
should be made to make the team effective.
- Project Areas: The area for your research project
can be anything you would like. It can be in an area of
personal interest or it can even overlap with a project in another
class. However, the emphasis is on overlap. The two class
projects cannot be identical--a project used for two classes must
have a substantial, unique component for each class. We will
discuss during the first class some project possibilities.
Furthermore, October 8th is set aside for in-class
discussion/questions about project plans/ideas.
- Project Oversight: The research projects will
be administered almost entirely by the two TAs (Uday Mohan
and Rishi Matthew). Each project group will be assigned
to one of the two TAs. Given that there are about 50
students, this means each TA will be responsible for
about 12 groups. Having the TAs responsible for the
projects means 95% of all questions, discussion, meetings,
etc. should go to them. However, I will be involved to a
small extent in evaluating project plans, monitoring
progress, and final grading.
- Procrastination: Ten weeks goes by fast.
It goes by even faster when the beginning of the quarter
is filled with administrative fumbling and the end of
the quarter is filled with demos and finals. In other
words: if you procrastinate on this project and do
not get started immediately, you will do poorly.
Even worse, it is easy for the TAs and me to
see when a project is poorly done. My advice: get
started early and make progress quickly. You
have been warned!
- Deliverables: Your project grade will
be based on the following components:
- Project Proposal: Due October 10th without
exception. Format: anything your group decides,
but you must make your plan clear.
- Project Report: Due no later than December 5th.
Must describe the motivation for doing the project,
related work, an architecture, description of the
prototype, and a discussion of what you have learned.
(HINT: Based on the grading system, you want to
use research papers that you read as a guideline
for writing your report.)
- Prototype Demo: Completed no later than
December 6th. Should be scheduled with the TA in
charge of your project.
- The Future: In the best of all
situations, your project should be unique and
open-ended. Adding to this, if you can produce
a well-written project report, you will have
accomplished one of the most difficult tasks
given to a researcher: a workshop/conference
- Grading System: We will use the
following scale to grade your projects:
- A+: Project report ready to submit to
- A/A-: Well done project and reasonably
well-done report. The report could serve
as a first rough draft for submission to
- B+/B: Basically uninteresting project
idea but well-executed and a well-written
- B-: Basically uninteresting project
with a mediocre report but basically
- C+/C: Basically uninteresting project
with a mediocre report and significant
weaknesses/incompleteness in the prototype.