Overview

The final group research project is meant to be a semester-long, very significant piece of work that demonstrates your developed understanding of probabilistic programming. The general aim should be for your project to be publishable in a top-tier machine learning, programming language, statistics, vision, natural language processing, or similar conference.

The project should naturally build on the code and understanding that you develop throughout the semester so excellence of work-product on homeworks will be reflected in terms of excellence of final project. That is to say that, amongst other things, the software development effort expended early in the course will provide the necessary foundation to conclude a successful final project despite having only 1.5 months to work exclusively on the final project. Of course, partnering with a more experienced student may make it possible to start earlier in the semester on the final project itself.

It is not imperative that the research project is successful, i.e. that it produces a true publication-worthy “win-plot.” High marks will be more easily achieved by ambitious and interesting projects that fail in telling and well-documented ways than safe projects that produce an expected but positive result.

Groups consisting of 2 people are strongly preferred. A project team may consist of up to 4 people maximum. Such a large group would be expected to do more than double the work of a two person group. Single member groups are strongly discouraged but may be considered in exceptional situations.

One of three different kinds of projects can be undertaken:

  • Programming a new system or expanding the capabilities of an existing system.
  • Developing a novel artificial intelligence application using an existing system.
  • Making a fundamental algorithm or methodological development.

You will fail to complete a satisfactory final project if you wait until the last minute to begin the project.

Deliverables

Schedule

  • See Syllabus : Proposal due (pdf, uploaded to gradescope).

    • The proposal will be graded and will count as 20% of the final project grade. The proposal should take the form of a research abstract, i.e. it should include a title, authors, abstract, introduction, background/related work, suggested methodology, expected conclusions, and references. Note that the only significant missing pieces should be the actual methods and results. It should be extremely clear what the problem being addressed is. “Stand-in” figures that show what the expected results will look like are required.

    • All sections will grow in the final project report, but those listed should appear in the project proposal in reasonably complete form. Of particular interest are a description of the problem to be solved, a literature search, and expected conclusions to be drawn from a successful project.

    • Project proposals that do not outline a project with sufficiently high complexity will be given zero credit and groups that author such proposals will be required to resubmit project proposals on a weekly basis thereafter until the proposal reaches a sufficient level of complexity to warrant a passing grade. Resubmissions will receive strictly lower grades than proposals that pass the first time.

  • Assigned final exam slot : Final papers due and final project presentations are due at this to be determined time.

    • The presentation will be graded and will count as 10% of the final project grade. Each group will present their results via a presentation in front of the whole class (single presenters are preferred). The duration of each presentation will depend on the total number of groups formed, but almost certainly will not exceed 20 minutes.

    • A paper copy of the final project report must be delivered to the instructor’s departmental mail slot by 12:00am, midnight, at the beginning of the day scheduled for final project presentations. Failure to submit a physical copy of the final project report by then will result in a grade of 0 for the final project.

    • Slides for the presentations (plan on 1-2 per minute of presentation) must be delivered electronically to the instructor via the class email by 12:00am, midnight, at the beginning of the day scheduled for final project presentations. Failure to submit .pdf slides by then will result in a grade of 0 for the final project. The presentation should introduce the problem, highlight the methods used, and cover analysis results. Each group will be subject to 5-10 minutes of questioning from the instructor, potentially guest reviewers, and the other students in the class about all aspects of their project. Having backup slides (slides prepared, but not used in the presentation) for questions about methodology detail will be expected of all groups.