This document describes the schedule for the class project. The
primary deliverable for this project is the final report, which is due
on the last day of instruction, May 5. Along the way, there are a
series of milestones at which you will turn in drafts of the final
The most important thing to understand about this process is that the
document you turn in at each stage of this process is a draft of the
final report. At each stage, you will add new material and revise the
existing material, possibly removing material that is no longer
Your final report will go in your portfolio, so
the target audience should be someone who is familiar with
the material of the class, but who may not be familiar with the
specific organization and vocabulary of this class.
You can use any document-preparation software you like, but
you will need to generate a final report in a format appropriate
for archiving, preferably Postscript or PDF.
Here is the schedule of deadlines:
- March 4: Project proposal.
- March 18: First refinement
- April 8: Second refinement.
- April 22: Draft of final report.
- May 5: Final report due.
- May 16: Expo
We will have some time in class for people to present project ideas,
with the goal of getting suggestions from the class and possibly
finding people with similar interests to work with. You can also post
messages on the class mailing list, firstname.lastname@example.org, either looking for people or ideas.
Your proposal should be a short document (1-2 pages) with answers
to the following questions:
- Who's in your group?
- What's the goal of the project?
- What techniques will you be using (workload characterization,
measurement, modeling, analysis, simulation, implementation,
- What's the minimum/maximum deliverable?
- What's your first step?
- What's the biggest problem you foresee or question you
need to answer to get started?
You should turn in one copy of your proposal for each project group.
A note on style: The documents you turn in at various stages do not
have to be complete, or polished, or formatted beautifully. But
please don't take that as a license to make them incoherent, or
verbose, or silly. You should try to present your ideas clearly and
concisely, with the goal of producing a final report that you would be
proud to show to the outside world.
You can think of the project refinements as both status reports and
drafts of the final document.
Here is a process I recommend:
- After you turn in your proposal, I will discuss it with
your group, and you may want to make changes.
- For each refinement, you should be able to add 1-2 sections
to the report, and you might be able to outline the rest.
- As you obtain results, I recommend incorporating them into the
report fairly early. You might find that when you explain your
results in writing, you notice errors or see additional opportunities.
- If there is information from a previous refinement that is
no longer true or no longer relevant, you should edit or remove it.
- At the end of each refinement, please include a section
named `Future Work' that describes what you plan to do next.
Your final report should include the following elements:
- An abstract that explains what you did. The abstract
doesn't have to include much background material, but it should
be comprehensible to someone who has not read your paper.
- An introduction that presents background information necessary
to understand your paper (with references) and explains again
what you did, but with more emphasis on why you did what you did.
- Presentation of your work. In many cases, there will be one
section for each kind of work you did; for example, if your project
involves a trace-driven simulation, you might have sections named
Measurement, Workload Model, and Simulation.
- Results. If you do more than one experiment, your results
might be scattered around the paper, or you can pull them together
in one section.
- Conclusions. It is common to end a paper with a summary of
the major conclusions of the paper.
- Related Work. If there is prior work that is relevant to your
project, you can cite it throughout the paper or you can discuss it
all in one section.
- Future Work. It is traditional to talk about additional work
that could be done on your project, even if you have no intention of
- Acknowledgements. Be sure to thank people who helped you.
Your report does not have to have all of these elements, and they don't
have to be in exactly this order. You have some flexibility to adapt
this structure to suit your project.
Your final report will go in your portfolio, along with
any relevant support material
and your reflection on competencies:
- Final report: this document should be available in a format
that is appropriate for universal access and archival storage.
Some good choices include plain text, Postscript, and PDF, but not
Word or other proprietary formats. For more information on this
topic, see http://allendowney.com/essays/no_word.html.
- Support material: If you write substantial code as part of
your project, you should include it in your portfolio.
Prepare your code in a way that you
would be proud to show as an example of your work.
You may also want to include a copyright
statement and a designation of rights.
- Reflection: Your reflection should follow the format of
the portfolio template. You should list the competencies that you
think you developed during this project and explain how the work
you present demonstrates your competency.
To get credit for the project, you must add this material to your
portfolio and send me a link to the entry by email. I will create a
page that contains links to all of your portfolio entries so that (1)
you can read about other projects, and (2) future students in this
class will be able to see past projects. If for some reason you do not
want to be included in this list, let me know and we will try to reach
Depending on what else you are doing this semester, you might choose
to present this project at Expo. If so, then each member of the team
will make an individual presentation. You will have the option to
present a poster or a short talk. In either case, you might want to
start writing your poster/slides at the same time you are working on
your final report.