CSC2229 - Final Project

Final Project Guidelines and Schedule

Final projects are completed by groups of 1-3 students. For each deliverable step, a single file (pdf only) should be submitted electronically to the instructor's e-mail address. If the project involves any simulation, data analysis, …, all the necessary files must be uploaded to a web page, and the link should be sent in the same e-mail as the pdf file. In all deliverables, please make sure that all the pages (and especially the figures) can be viewed properly in a pdf viewer.

  • Project proposal (2 pages + references)
    • Due: 5pm Fri. January 31.
    • For your project proposal, you are required to do a literature review on a wide range of topics related to SDN.
    • First, form your group.
    • Second, go through the top venues related to SDN (e.g. HotSDN, SOSR, SIGCOMM, etc.) and identify a long list of 15-16 papers. These papers can be on any topic related to SDN. You should not focus on a single narrow topic here. Cover at least 2-3 high level topics.
    • Skim all of those papers. This step should not take more than 5-10 minutes per paper. You might want to first read the article by Prof. S. Keshav on [“How to Read a Paper”]. This is what the article refers to as the “first pass”.
    • Once you have skimmed these papers, select a short list of 4-5 of the papers for a “second pass”. Ideally these papers have a common theme that you have been able to identify in the first pass. This phase should not take more than an hour for each paper.
    • Once you have finished the second pass, you need to write a one paragraph summary (200 words max) for each paper.
    • Finally, select 2-3 papers from your short list, and read them in depth (third pass according to Keshav’s article). In this phase, you need to completely understand the results of the paper and in essence you should be able to replicate the work. This might require reading other papers to understand the work in depth, and the state of the are in that area.
    • Once you have fully understood the work in your final list, write a brief critique about the work. Your goal is to identify something that can be improved in the paper: an inaccurate assumption that should be fixed, a weak evaluation, any problems with the methodology, or even to show how the results can be improved and generalized. You should explain how you are going to make that improvement in your final project.
    • I highly encourage you to stop by my office hours and discuss your ideas after you have done your initial research and before submitting your proposal.
    • Deliverables:
      • The first page of your proposal should include the name of the students, and the summary of your short list papers (4-5 papers each summarized in one paragraph of 200 words max).
      • The second page is the description of your project based on the final 2-3 papers in your final list. Here explain what is the problem you are trying to solve, the shortcomings of the prior work in the area, and how you think you can fix/improve those. This part should also clearly identify what the final deliverables of your project are, and the timetable of milestones you want to reach.
      • Finally, you should have a third page listing all the papers in your long list. For this list of references, please use the IEEE bibliography style.
  • Intermediate report (5 pages max)
    • Due: 5pm Fri. Mar. 6th.
    • The following should be the same as the final report:
      • Table of contents
      • Introduction/background/references
      • Should have placeholder for final results and conclusions.
    • Should Include: table of contents of final Report, background and motivation; problem statement; who did what so far; remaining work for rest of semester.
  • Final presentation
    • All presentations in class on the last two weeks of classes.
    • 25 minute presentation of project results.
  • Final report (8 pages max)
    • Due: Noon Mon. Apr. 3rd.

Final Presentation Instructions

  • Although each talk is given 25 mins, the talk should last only 20 mins. The remaining 5 mins would be for questions. The 25 minute limit will be strictly imposed without exception.
  • You can bring your own laptop for presentation, or you can send me the powerpoint or keynote files the day before your presentation.

Presentation Guidelines (from Stanford's EE384xy):

Giving an effective technical presentation requires a lot of preparation and practice. For example, in preparation for a 15 minute conference talk, it's quite common for a researcher to spend several days preparing, and give several practice talks along the way. Here are some guidelines to follow while preparing your presentation.

  1. In the beginning, forget the slides.

    The most common mistake in giving a talk is to focus too much attention on the preparation of your slides. Remember that the talk is what comes out of the speaker's mouth, not the slides. Resist the temptation to spend all your preparation time working on pretty powerpoint slides. Instead, prepare the outline and script of your talk first, and only then think about how slides might help to illustrate some of the key points you are trying to make. A good rule of thumb is to spend 75% of the preparation time on your outline and script, and 25% of the time preparing slides. Remember that the world's best orators give great talks without slides!

  2. Write a 1-paragraph abstract that summarizes your talk.

    Before you start preparing the outline and details, write down a brief abstract. It's worth spending some time on it. (For what it's worth, even though I've given hundreds of talks and lectures, I still do this before every talk and lecture I prepare).

    Try to write, in the most concise and clear way, a brief summary of the talk. What problem are you solving, and why is it interesting? What is the context in which you are doing the work? What is the essence of your work, and your results? What is the "ah hah!" factor --- what do you want your audience to take away from the talk? If you can't write a 1-paragraph summary, it tells you that you don't have a clear idea of what the talk is about. Once you have a good paragraph written, you can be sure that the talk will be a lot easier to prepare.

  3. Prepare a bulleted outline of the whole talk.

    Prepare an outline - perhaps in the form of 30-40 bullets - that shows the flow of the whole talk. This will help identify missing or redundant sections; and will help balance the amount of information you include in each part of the talk. It is often tempting to spend too much on one, unimportant detail, leaving too little time for the important stuff.

  4. Script the whole talk, and learn it.

    Yes - I mean it. Write down, word for word, your whole talk. You'd be amazed at how many people do this -- even skilled speakers who give talks often. If the President can give speeches from a teleprompter, it tells you something about what makes a good talk. In many fields of the humanities, researchers read all their talks from a script.

    The trick is to script the whole talk, read it aloud many times and then learn it. Then the day before your talk, throw away your script. You'll remember the key sentences and points, and by not reading it you'll make it sound more natural. Having a script will make your talk get off on the right foot, and help overcome nervousness. Perhaps most importantly, a script will help you avoid missing out some important points, and will help you make best use of the small amount of time you have.

  5. Pick/design some slides to illustrate key ideas.

    Think about what slides you need to illustrate your script. Your slides do not have to paint a complete picture on their own. It is a common misconception that the slides should be readable and meaningful without the speaker. This is baloney. If this were true, we wouldn't need the speaker! Think of them as illustrative tools, to help explain key ideas. It is not a good idea to use them to jog your memory; that is what your own notes are for.

  6. Practice the talk with the script several times.

  7. Throw away the script.

    Once you have practiced the scripted talk a few times, throw your script away. You will remember the key phrases; and in the moment, you will link it together more naturally than you would by reading it.

  8. Give the presentation.

    If all this seems like a lot of work, it is. Giving a good talk involves many hours of preparation.