This course will be delivered using the Hybrid NUflex learning modality and I will be teaching remotely. I will join you virtually in the class at the scheduled class time using Zoom with some students in the classroom and others joining remotely. You will be able to ask questions, discuss, and interact with me and other students in real time. Remember that on your scheduled days in the classroom, you will need to practice healthy distancing and wear a face mask or face covering. I will also be available for virtual office hours on the days/times in the syllabus.
East Village 002, all meetings via Zoom (see Canvas)
On Piazza, via Canvas
Provides students with an introduction to research in the fields of computer science, information science, data science, and cybersecurity. Explores how the scientific method is applied to these fields, covers the breadth of sub-areas of speciality that exist, and gives students practice on how to locate and read scientific literature in different sub-areas. Also provides students with an overview of graduate education in these fields.
The class will once per week for a 100-minute session.
Goals and Format
By the end of this course, I expect you to:
Gain an appreciation for the diverse areas encompassing modern computer science, data science, and cybersecurity
Understand different approaches to research in computer science, including proofs, observational studies, and implementation-driven research
Be able to read and ask questions of a computer science research paper
Present and answer questions about a technical paper
Understand how graduate education in computer science works
As this course is closest to a seminar course, the structure will consist of three components: Lectures on Basics of Research The first few weeks will consist of lectures and discussions on the basics of computer science, research, and graduate studies. There will weekly assignments consisting of homework and background reading. Reading and Discussing Papers The middle few weeks of the course will consist of reading and discussing papers from different areas of computer science. The focus will be on different styles of research, and how the results are presented. Paper presentations The final few weeks of the class will consist of student presentations of research papers in groups. Each group will be expected to make 10 minutes presentations on papers of their choice (subject to constraints discussed in class), followed by leading a 10–15 minute discussion of the paper.
The official prerequisite for this course is CS 2500, or permission of the instructor. You will only need a basic knowledge of programming to take this course. This course will be largely discussion-based, and you will be expected to actively participate in class.
The class forum is on Piazza (found via Canvas). Why Piazza? Because they have a nice web interface, as well as iPhone and Android apps. Piazza is the best place to ask questions about projects, programming, debugging issues, exams, etc. To keep things organized, please tag all posts with the appropriate hashtags, e.g. #meeting1, #homework1, etc. I will also use Piazza to broadcast announcements to the class. Bottom line: unless you have a private problem, post to Piazza before writing me/the TA an email.
Schedule, Topics / Lecture Slides, and Assigned Readings
Zakir Durumeric, Frank Li, James Kasten, Johanna Amann, Jethro Beekman, Mathias Payer, Nicolas Weaver, David Adrian, Vern Paxson, Michael Bailey, and J. Alex Halderman. 2014. The Matter of Heartbleed. In Proceedings of the Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), 2014.
Patrick Pantel and Dekang Lin. 2002. Discovering word senses from text. In Proceedings of the eighth ACM SIGKDD international conference on Knowledge discovery and data mining (KDD '02). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 613-619.
Michele Tufano, Fabio Palomba, Gabriele Bavota, Rocco Oliveto, Massimiliano Di Penta, Andrea De Lucia, and Denys Poshyvanyk. When and why your code starts to smell bad. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) 2015.
Leading the discussion involves two tasks. First, you will make an approximately 10 minute presentation that describes the motivation, goals, and results of the paper. Second, after this presentation and for the remainder of the allocated time slot, you will lead the discussion on the paper. It is you just to ensure a lively atmosphere for discussion, while being careful to stay on the topic of the paper. I will let students sign up to lead the discussion for the papers they choose.
If you are an audience member, you are expected to have read the paper and to participate in the discussion. This is a seminar course, meaning that the point of the course is to have a discussion. Not participating in this part of the course is not an option. The list of the papers will be available on the course website.
This course will have weekly homework assignments reviewing readings and concepts that are discussed in each class. Homework assignments are to be done by each student individually. The homework assignments will be graded and handed back to you within a week.
Homework assignments are due at the beginning of lecture on the specified date. Slip days may be used on the homeworks; absent any use of slip days, homework will be marked 20 points off per day that they are late, up to 2 days.
Each student will form a team of two to identify a research area and recent paper authored by a current faculty member at Northeastern. Groups must discuss their paper choice with the instructor or TA to get approval to proceed. The students must read the selected research paper to understand the topic and ask questions pertaining to the research questions, approach, findings, and future work. They must then meet with the faculty member (or postdoc/Ph.D. student if the faculty member is unavailable), and discuss these questions in addition to discussing opportunities to contribute to a research project. At the end of the course, each team will make a brief (5-10 minute) presentation about the research paper and their experience meeting with the faculty member (or alternate).
There are no exams in this course.
You are expected to attend each class meeting, as attendance and active participation during meetings comprises a large fraction of your grade. If you must miss class (e.g., you are ill or have some other obligation), please contact the instructor to discuss how to make up the time missed in class.
The breakdown of the grades in this course is:
40% Attendance and participation
30% Weekly homework assignments
30% Paper presentation
Each homework will include a breakdown and description of how it will be graded.
Any requests for grade changes or regrading must be made within 7 days of when the work was returned. To ask for a regrade, attach to your work a page that specifies (a) the problem or problems you want to be regraded, and (b) for each of these problems, why do you think the
problem was misgraded.
To calculate final grades, I simply sum up the points obtained by each student (the points will sum up to some number x
out of 100) and then use the following scale to determine the letter grade: [0-60] F, [60-62] D-, [63-66] D, [67-69]
D+, [70-72] C-, [73-76] C, [77-79] C+, [80-82] B-, [83-86] B, [87-89] B+, [90-92] A-, [93-100] A. I do not curve the grades in any way.
All fractions will be rounded up.
It's ok to ask your peers about the concepts, algorithms, or approaches needed to do the assignments. We encourage you to
do so; both giving and taking advice will help you to learn. However, what you turn in must be your own, or for projects,
your group's own work. Looking at or copying code or homework solutions from other people or the Web is strictly prohibited.
In particular, looking at other solutions (e.g., from other groups or prior CS 3950 students) is a direct violation.
Projects must be entirely the work of the students turning them in, i.e. you and your group members. If you
have any questions about using a particular resource, ask the course staff or post a question to the class forum.
All students are subject to the Northeastern University's
Academic Integrity Policy. Per CCIS policy, all
cases of suspected plagiarism or other academic dishonesty must be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and
Conflict Resolution (OSCCR). This may result is deferred suspension, suspension, or expulsion from the university.
Accomodations for Students with Disabilities
If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic accommodations in this course and have not yet met with a Disability
Specialist, please visit www.northeastern.edu/drc and follow the outlined
procedure to request services. If the Disability Resource Center has formally approved you for an academic accommodation
in this class, please present the instructor with your "Professor Notification Letter" at your earliest convenience,
so that we can address your specific needs as early as possible.
Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources here: http://www.northeastern.edu/oidi/titleix/
The university has put into place a robust plan to make the campus healthy and safe for all --- but you must do your part. On August 22, all students received an email from Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Madeleine Estabrook on the expectations for behavior both on campus and off campus. Please read it carefully today.
Gatherings on or off campus must conform to healthy practices as outlined by university and Massachusetts state guidance. If you host or attend an inappropriate party or gathering, you run the very real risk of immediate removal from the community.
Wear a mask indoors and outdoors as you maintain a 6-foot distance from everyone.
Get tested every three days using the COVID-19 Test Scheduler (Covid19-testing.northeastern.edu.) We may require more frequent testing as the semester progresses. It’s quick, easy and will help us to quickly identify and care for anyone who tests positive. I will not be told the identity of anyone who tests positive, and you do not need to share that information with me or anyone else unless you want to. If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by a member of the university’s telehealth team who will provide you with next steps.
If you come to class without a mask, I’ll ask you to go and get one on campus. You can get a mask at the Visitor Center or at the Curry Student Center Help Desk. If you refuse to wear a mask in class, I won’t be able to continue the class. If you are not sitting six feet apart from your classmate, I’ll ask you to do so. We won’t be able to eat or drink in class (except water). If you test positive, you will need to enter isolation as directed by the university’s telehealth team. I expect that you will not come in-person to class and that you will follow the guidance from the university telehealth team to isolate and get appropriate healthcare if needed.
Staying safe is a responsibility that we all must take seriously. Keep in mind the “Protect the Pack” theme. Remember that our individual actions will help everyone stay safe this fall.