Students will complete a significant course project that will explore a new research idea and this will consitute the majority of their grade. The intention is that these projects represent near-publication quality research and that some will evolve into conference submissions. Students are encouraged to work in groups of two or three, and should ideally select project partners that have complementary expertise. Experience shows that developing tools and infrastructure consumes most of the effort in systems research projects and so students should try and select topics that dovetail with their current research interests and for which they already have some existing research infrastructure.Important Notice: Your project results will be made publicly available on the class web site to allow others to give feedback on your work. This is in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the MIT Student Information Policy.
The class web site will hold copies of all the work done by each group, and so all presentations and papers must be delivered in electronic form (in addition to hard copy of papers) by emailing attachments to email@example.com. Slide presentations can be delivered either in PowerPoint or PDF formats. Papers must be delivered in PDF format - no exceptions. (Please use Times font in Latex to give better quality PDF.) The final project report must be in a standard 10 page conference paper format. You can use a two-column format, but do not use smaller than 10 point font for the main text. You'll probably also want to use the same format for your draft reports as this will save effort towards the end of term. You might want to use the standard ACM SIG format templates. This will minimize the formatting changes you'll have to make when you submit your paper to a real conference!
For some good advice about performing publishable systems research and
writing up results, read the following short paper:
Roy Levin and David D. Redell, "An Evaluation of the Ninth SOSP Submissions, or, How (and How Not) to Write a Good Systems Paper"
To give an idea of the scope and scale of a typical class project, take a look at some of these project sites from other classes:
There are several project deadlines which have been designed to spread project work out over the whole term. Each deadline includes both a class presentation and delivery of a written report. The purpose of the class presentations is to get feedback from other students in the class and also to give you practice in delivering succinct summaries of your work. Each student in every group should give at least one of the class presentations. Except for the final project presentation, you must print transparencies for an overhead projector to reduce switchover time between groups. You may use a laptop projector in the final presentation if desired. You must also deliver a PowerPoint or PDF version of your slides to be placed on the class web site. The written reports must be turned in both as a hard copy and as a PDF file to be put on the class web site.
Each group will make a 2 slide, 4 minute presentation of the project proposal in class. The first slide should describe the idea that will be investigated. The second slide should detail the proposed plan of work including tools and other infrastructure. You must turn in a PowerPoint or PDF version of the slides for the class web site.
In addition, each group must turn in a one page written project proposal, both as hard copy and as a PDF file to be included on the web site. The written proposal must include: project title, list of group members, description of research topic, and a plan of work. The plan of work should include a timeline, a list of tools and other infrastructure that will be used, and also a breakdown of who'll be doing what.
Each group will make a 8 minute presentation of their current progress in the project. The presentation should include any interesting early results or on any changes in project direction. You must turn in a PowerPoint or PDF version of the slides for the class web site.
In addition, each group will prepare an outline of their final written report. This should include an abstract, a completed related work section, an initial version of the methodology section, and an initial bibliography. This report should be supplied both in hard copy and as a PDF file.
Each group will make an 8 minute presentation of the current status of their project. You must turn in a PowerPoint or PDF version of the slides for the class web site.
In addition, each group will deliver an updated draft of their final report. This should include a completed methodology section and a preliminary results section. This report should be supplied both in hard copy and as a PDF file.
Each group will make a final 20 minute presentation of their work. This presentation will be open to the general MIT community to enable you to show off your work. You must turn in a PowerPoint or PDF version of the slides for the class web site.
A hard copy of the final project report must be handed in to NE43-620 by 5pm on December 12. This is a hard deadline, no extensions will be granted. You must also send in a PDF version of the final report. (Note: there will be no class meeting on December 12.)