The first type is based on the study of several papers in a subject area that is not directly covered but related to the materials in the course. The student is expected to summarize the main ideas in the papers, show understanding of the main contributions, criticize their weaknesses, and explain how the works fit in the bigger picture. Any efforts in trying to resolve outstanding issues and missing gaps are encouraged.
The second type is based on pursuing some open problems suggested by discussions in the course, or any new ideas related to the course materials. The attack on these problems can be via analysis, experiments or simulations. While these projects are in general more open-ended than the first type, the level of difficulty of the problems will be taken into consideration in evaluating the results of the projects. Students are encouraged to propose their own problems which may stem from their own research; however, it is expected that the results reported in the project are from work done for this specific purpose, i.e. not from research done previously.
Due to the size of the class, students are encouraged to work on projects in group of two. However, if someone wants to do a project on their own, that's alright too. Of course, the projects will be judged accordingly.
There are three requirements. First, a 1/2 to 1-page proposal, outlining the problem area to be studied and relevant references, are due by Tuesday, Feb 27. Second, a presentation of the project is to be made in class during the last three weeks of class. Each student will be alloted about 20 minutes, and everyone is expected to present. Third, a final report is due on May 6, the last day of class.