Machine Learning
Spring 2010 Offering

Term Projects

Students enrolled in Com S 573 are required to complete a research or design project in AI on a topic to be chosen in consultation with the instructor. A written report on the project and a brief oral presentation summarizing the same is expected at the end of the semester. You may choose to work individually or in small groups (consisting of 2-3 members each) on the project. An ideal project for 573 students should be one that demonstrates some creativity, attempts to answer some interesting research question(s), or offers an interesting machine learning solution to a problem of practical interest.

If you choose to work in a group, there has to be a clear understanding of each group member's contributions to the project. This has to be discussed with the instructor and agreed upon before the work on the project begins. Each group member will be asked to complete a brief evaluation of each of the group member's contributions to the project. In the event of a dispute, the instructor's assessment (if necessary, based on a brief oral presentation on the project, by each person involved) of the individual contributions will be binding.

If your background is in another discipline (e.g., engineering, biological sciences, business, etc.) you are encouraged to pick a topic that would allow you to explore the application of machine learning to a solve a problem of interest in your area of expertise.

Suggested Topics

The list of topics given below is meant to be suggestive, but not exhaustive. Also, the description given here is rather brief, so please feel free to see me to discuss the various possibilities in greater detail. You may also look at current research by students and faculty of the Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory for project ideas. You may find it useful to browse through proceedings of ICML, UAI, KDD, ICDM, NIPS, AAAI, IJCAI and related conferences for the last couple of years for papers that you may use as a starting point for some of the projects.

Timeline (Spring 2010)
April 5 in-class - submit your project topic; an outline of what you want to accomplish during your project and how you will do it; what you have done so far and a schedule of how you will be proceeding with the rest of the project. Also, if your project is a group project, on this day you should submit your groups and  a description of what each group member is doing 
April 12 in-class - submit bibliography that will be used in your project
April 21 in-class - a short progress report, that would describe method that you are using, datasets, and preliminary results. Project webpage skeleton (page should include your info/group members info and tasks assignment, project description, source code, results, data, report)
May 5, 9:44:59 AM (Wednesday the finals week) - project due. You will need to submit your source code, data, and the final report via the script, as well as complete the website.

May 5, 9:45-11:45 - project presentations. More details to come. Depending on the number of the projects we might need additional time.


Instructions for preparing the project report / term paper

Do not underestimate the importance of writing the final report. Writing the report is just as important as coming up with algorithms, writing code and running the experiments. Even if you get very very good results, they will have no value if you are unable to communicate them in writing. 

The paper will be graded on the basis of originality, technical soundness, organization, clarity of presentation, grammar and style, adequacy of the bibliography, as well as the significance of the results. In short, it will be evaluated as though it is being refereed for presentation at a conference. You are encouraged to look at papers published in one of the major national or international conferences (e.g., AAAI, ICML, NIPS, SDM, UAI, ICDM) as a model for your term paper. You are strongly encouraged to use AAAI's latex macros or word templates avalable here.

Additional resources on research and writing can be found on the resources web page.

Copyright 1992-2010 Vasant Honavar, Department of Computer Science, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.

Dr. Vasant Honavar
Department of Computer Science
Iowa State University
Atanasoff Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1040 USA
phone: +1-515-294-4377, fax: +1-515-294-0258