CS 1401 "Research Contact" Assignments

One goal of this course is that you become aware of the research going on in this department and understand that research is one career path open to you. To meet this goal, you are required to participate in two "research contacts" during the semester. Each research contact is worth up to 15 points and will require one to two hours of time to complete. Together, the two research contacts count for up to 30 points (which is the same number of points as 3 quizzes, or 1.5 homework assignments).

A "research contact" is one of the following:

The first research-contact assignments must be completed no later than Tuesday, February 28, 2006; the second research-contact assignments must be completed no later than Tuesday, May 2, 2006. The procedures and grading criteria for each type of research contact are explained below.


Requirement: Participate as a subject in an approved experiment. Approved experiments will be listed on the class web page and announced in lab. There are currently two experiments approved, and we expect additional studies to be approved later in the semester.

Note that some experiments will have restrictions on who can participate; common restrictions include your preferred language (because some experiments are conducted in Spanish, for example), your gender (because many experiments require that equal numbers of men and women participate in the study), or that you must sign up with a friend (because the experiment requires two people who are comfortable working together). If you do not qualify for a particular experiment, then you cannot participate in that study. You likely will qualify for other studies, though.


If for any reason you cannot make an appointment, call in advance and cancel your appointment. Failure to show up for a scheduled experiment will increase your research contacts requirement by one. In other words, if you no-show for one experiment, your research contact requirement will be increased to three contacts (10 points each). If you no-show twice, your requirement will be increased to four. This is because when you fail to show up for a scheduled appointment, you both waste the time of the student who is running the experiment and prevent another student from doing the experiment at that time.

Grading Criteria: Full credit (15 points per study) for showing up ON TIME and participating in the experiment.

Research Presentations

Requirement: Attend a research presentation, either a research talk or a thesis defense, and write a one-to-two page report on the presentation.

The department has research presentations about twice a month, generally on alternate Wednesdays at 10:30. Thesis defenses are scheduled as students complete their research, typically four or five per semester. Announcements for talks and defenses are posted on the bulletin board to your right as you enter the Computer Science building. Presentations are about an hour in length, and most will take place in Room 221 on the main floor of the Computer Science building. Most talks and defenses are scheduled only five to seven days in advance, so check frequently.


NOTE: We do not expect you to understand every detail of these talks; most of them will be assuming a level of knowledge about Computer Science that you have not yet attained. We do expect you to do your best, however. For most talks, you should be able to pick up Why the work is important and What they did to demonstrate that their work is correct, even if you don't understand some details. For example, it would be okay to report that the speaker described an experiment in which two versions of a system were compared to see which was faster but you didn't completely understand how the systems differed, or that the speaker presented a proof about the complexity of an algorithm but you didn't understand the proof. Generally the first few minutes and the last few minutes of a talk are the easiest to understand, so don't panic (or fall asleep!) if you don't follow some of the details in the middle.

Grading Criteria: Each paper will be worth up to 15 points, as follows:


Requirement: Interview a Computer Science student who is a member of a research group, and write a one-to-two page report of that student's research.


Grading Criteria: Each paper will be worth up to 15 points, as follows: