Project 2: Research Paper (COMP 5407, Fall 2007)
This individual project consists of an oral presentation in class (approx. 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).

Important Dates:
October 31, 2007: last day for area topic approval by instructor (see details below)
November 12-26 (tentatively): class presentations by students
December 5: written reports due. No extensions.

Written report. Based on relevant published research papers, the written 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), conciseness 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 (certainly A+) 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 an overhead projector, 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 consisely 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 selected topic and an initial list of reference papers must be approved by the instructor (see above deadline). Topics must be related to the course outline. For context, suggestions from and old version of this course are given here, though more recent topics are encouraged. These are perhaps best motivated by ideas from papers covered in class, and by reviewing papers from the last year or two from high-profile security conferences and workshops (this list is maintained by Carleton's Digital Security Group). Examples of potential topics include: phishing, identity theft, new authentication schemes, password protocols resisting on-line or off-line dictionary attack, memory mismanagement exploits (beyond simple stack-based buffer overflows), web security, security in social networking systems, digital rights management, malicious software, trends in malicious code, botnets, security issues related to virtual machines (VMs), human factors and computer security (HCI-security), browser security and spoofing, browser-based certificate issues, certificate infrastructures, web client authentication, determining safety of externally-supplied binary code, practical challenges for cryptographic infrastructures and digital signatures, trust management.

Last updated: September 3, 2007 10:05pm