Project 2: Research Paper (COMP 5407W, Jan-Apr 2017) - last updated Jan.4, 2017

This individual project consists of an oral presentation in class (20-30 minutes) and a formal written report (maximum 20 pages), on a course-related topic of current interest in the research community. To avoid substantial overlap in class presentations, topics must be approved by the instructor (first-come first-served basis). To avoid double-credit, topics should not substantially overlap research projects begun prior to this course, e.g., with a thesis supervisor.

Important Dates:
Feb.27, 2017: last day for area topic approval by instructor (see details below)
Mar.14-30, 2017: class presentations by students
Apr.6, 2017: written reports (hard-copy, due at start of class). No extensions.

Written report. Based on relevant published research papers, the report must be written in the style of a research paper (abstract, introduction, numbered sections, etc.), with proper academic citation of all sources relied upon. Grades will be awarded for demonstrating a solid understanding of the area, insight (e.g., filling in explanatory gaps or smoothly integrating results of several papers), and clarity. Besides technical content, editorial style is important; grades will be deducted for poor presentation (grammar, spelling, punctuation), poor organization, ambiguity and vagueness. For top marks in the written portion, students would generally be expected to make novel extensions to existing research, or be well on their way to a publishable paper. The written report should provide, as a minimum, a research survey including:
  1. an outline and summary of the selected problem(s) and existing solutions in the area;
  2. identification and explanations of important recent results and trends; and
  3. discussion of important open problems and future research directions.
Oral presentation. The class presentation should include a subset of the above, and as a minimum a clear description of the main problems being addressed in the area, and solid motivation (e.g., why the problems are important). It may involve use of a laptop plus data projector, handouts, etc. (all arranged by the student).

Implementations: Software implementations are not expected, but may be included at the student's option. If included, marks for the implementation aspect will be dependent on communicating clearly and concisely what was learned from the implementation, and explaining its novelty or importance to the project. Prior consultation with the intructor is strongly recommended.

Topics: The project proposal must be approved by the instructor (see above deadline); this is best done by sending an email including the proposed topic name, a paragraph defining its scope and goals, and and an initial list of reference papers (including paper title, author names, conference name and date). Topics must be related to the course outline. For context, suggestions from a very early version of this course are given here (several of these are now outdated; topics attracting more recent research activity are expected). For topic ideas, review the topics in the detailed course outline, class discussions, papers cited by those covered in class, and recent papers from high-profile security conferences and workshops (this list is maintained by Carleton's Computer Security Lab). It is strongly recommended that the major paper(s) forming the basis of the project are recent (2014, 2015, 2016) and from the "big four" international security conferences: USENIX Security, ACM CCS, NDSS, IEEE Symp. Security and Privacy. Consider visiting the "technical program" page from each of these conferences for these recent years; they provide the paper titles, author names, and often abstracts and links to the full papers.