Students will work on an 8–10 page (double spaced)
term paper in groups of one or two students (groups of three are
not allowed). The paper should identify an interesting topic related to
security or privacy and provide a survey of existing solutions and
research related to this topic (I expect about 5–8 research
papers to be referenced in addition to commercial and other resources). Additionally, the student must
provide thoughtful directions for future work and research on this
Grading of research paper
For each deliverable, each student will need to complete an additional
OnCourse 'assignment' where you characterize your individual
contribution to the a) background work on the project and b) writing of the
paper. Both aspects are equally important in determining your
individual grade. I expect both students to contribute significantly
to both aspects. In particular, if you leave most of the writing to your
project partner, your grade will be significantly reduced. Aim for
no more than a 60-40% discrepancy in your individual
contributions to each component.
Proposal (Feb 19)
1 page paper description with 1-inch margins, 11-pt font, single spaced.
Outline for proposal:
- Section 1, Introduction: Motivate the problem/issue you
are trying to explore. Why is it an interesting issue?
- Section 2, Approach: Describe your approach for
exploring, surveying and analyzing the various aspects of the
problem/issue. What are some resources you have found already? Need some preliminary ideas here to show you have a plan.
- Section 3, Schedule: Propose a schedule of milestones, with a 2 week
granularity showing how you will make steady progress towards your
final report. The goal is to have a plan. It is okay to deviate
(within reason) from this plan as the semester progresses.
Final report (Apr 24)
Final report due. 8–10 pages,
1-inch margins, 11-pt font, double spaced.
Outline for term paper:
- Introduction (1-2 pages): Motivate the problem/issue you are
addressing in your paper. Why is it an interesting issue?
- Approach (half page): A short section describing how you analyze
the issue in the rest of the paper. For example, "In Section 3, I
will survey the existing techniques to address this problem, and
in Section 4 I provide suggestions on how to better address the
issue." Frame the rest of the paper for the reader, so that the
reader understands how you analyze the problem you motivated in
- Survey of Existing Techniques/Solutions (4-5 pages): This section
forms the meat of your term paper. I expect you to demonstrate
that you have understood the space of existing techniques and
solutions, including those from the research literature. Your paper should give me a good
picture of what's been done to address the problem.
- Suggestions (1-2 pages): I expect about a page or two of your
thoughts on suggestions for future work. How can the current
situation be improved?
- Conclusions (1 page): Summarize your findings in the first
paragraph, and in the second paragraph conclude with your
philosophical ruminations about the problem, what needs to be
done, and where we stand.
- Bibliography/References (1 page): Plagiarism will not be
tolerated. In any scholarly paper, you must cite all your
sources in your main text, and include a reference to the
bibliography for details.
Final presentation (Apr 28)
"3 minute madness": We will have 2–3 minute presentations where
you will quickly tell the rest of the class about the interesting
problem you explored and what your salient findings were. End with one
or two recommendations, e.g., if your project explored cloud security
and privacy, you could end with "if you want a
secure cloud storage alternative, we suggest X because ..."
Manage your time well, and start early!
You have an automatic 3-day extension for each of the proposal, status, and
final reports. You will be
penalized 25% for every day it is late beyond this
You can work on any topic related to computer security and privacy. Please come talk to me
for specific topic ideas.