The project proposals can be relatively short (1-2 pages or as necessary). You can submit a longer project proposal if you would like, especially since some of the text can be re-used in the full project proposal and the project report. The more details you provide, the more feedback I can give you.
The goal of the project proposal is to make you think hard about what you want to do; do some preliminary background work; and to start to develop some of the details. For me, it will be a chance to give you feedback both on (a) whether your project is a good one, and (b) whether what you propose is achievable within the very short period of time left to complete the project. Keep these objectives in mind when writing the proposal. Also keep in mind that I will post all of the project proposals on the course web site--you will give feedback to others about their proposals and you will receive feedback about your proposal.
The project proposal should include three parts. The three parts: Overview, including motivation and briefly what the related work is; Project Idea, which includes as much detail about what you are actually building; and Project Evaluation, which includes a description of how you plan to evaluate your work and show it to be "good" or "better".
Your project proposal should also include any relevant "meta-information", for example, if you are working with team members, include a list of who they are, and generally what responsibilities each will perform. Remember that groups can be 1-3 people. It might also be helpful to include a rough timeline, though this timeline will probably be more valuable for you than it will be for me Finally, if you have any unusual needs or there are any unusual "risks" that might keep you from completing your project, include those as well.
Both the preliminary and final project reports should be written using the 2010 IEEE Infocom conference submission guidelines. You can find style guides at http://www.ieee-infocom.org/paper-layout.html. Towards the bottom of the page, there are sample documents for Microsoft Word and Latex (use the US Letter version not the A4 version. Only papers in DOC or PDF formats will be accepted. The page limit for IEEE Infocom is 9 pages, but you can ignore this requirement.
The reason for submitting a preliminary project report is threefold. First, giving serious thought to the content of the paper before you do your presentation will actually help you improve the organization of your presentation. Second, doing an early version of your project report will help force you to focus on writing the report relatively early. And finally, other members of the class and I will do as much as possible to give you feedback about your report before the final version is due.
Again, all preliminary project reports will be posted on the course web site. These will be useful to other students as background for your presentation.
Finally, feel free to "negotiate" with other groups to review their project report if they will review yours. You'll also want to review other reports for good ideas on how to organize your own report.
As you can tell, I'm making a serious effort to give everyone as much feedback as possible, as much of an opportunity to see what others are doing, and as much practice as possible in thinking critically about others work.
The goal of the preliminary project proposal is to give you feedback in just enough time to make changes for your final push to complete your project.
More details and recommendations on presentations will be covered later in the course.