SML: Projects



The project nets you the lion's share of the course credits, namely 60% of them. Hence it is in your interest to do it really well.

  • Maximum team size is 4, and a typical team should have 3 members.

  • The project is comparable to an academic paper that you might send to a journal. That is, it isn't sufficient to just run a few MATLAB scripts and plot a bunch of figures.

  • In terms of topics, I am happy with both implementations which build systems processing considerable amounts of data, novel algorithms or proofs and new theory. However, your designs need to pass the scalability test. In other wods, it's perfectly OK to prove theorems if they relate to a new algorithm which is scalable over many machines. Obviously if you have a mix of all three things it's best. A perfect score would be work of the level that can get into a good journal such as JMLR and discusses scalable machine learning.

Midterm evaluation

  • For the midterm project evaluation each team gets to pitch their project to the class and me for 10 minutes.

  • You may use a maximum of 8 slides including title slide for this (a good number would be 5). The slides must be readable from the back row of the class.

  • You need to produce a documentation of at least 4 and at most 10 pages of a reasonable font size (10-12 point font), e.g. in the AMS papers style.

Heilmeier's criteria

You should be able to address Heilmeier's criteria, as adapted for the purpose of this class. This type of reasoning will help you with choosing your own research agenda, writing grants, convincing colleagues, securing VC funding, and writing papers. So it's good practice.

  • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.

  • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?

  • What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?

  • Who cares? If you're successful, what difference will it make?

  • What are the risks and the payoffs?

  • How long will it take and what have you achieved so far?

  • How will you determine success?

Final project presentation and report

  • You'll get 20 minutes to present your work. This includes discussions and any show and tell that you'd be doing.

  • Maximum number of slides is 20. As before, a good number would be less than that.

  • You need to produce a paper describing what you did in up to 20 pages. You can use the ACM Templates if you want.

  • It should include pointers to code, data, etc. such that the work is sufficiently reproducible.

  • Some suggestions regarding paper writing:

    • You need an abstract, introduction, a discussion of related work, a description of the main idea, a description of the data, experiments, and a summary.

    • Symbols must be defined before being used. The human mind works like a compiler in this case.

    • You need to be precise in the main body of the paper. The introduction can be used to provide the intuition.