In this assignment you will, over the course of 2 weeks, produce the first draft of your project proposal for the rest of the ERSP program.

Here are the requirements for this document, and more details are given in each section below.

  1. The proposal must be a PDF document produced using the LaTeX typesetting tool. I will not be teaching you to use LaTeX in this class, so you should find tutorials online (it's not too hard). Also, for collaborative development of LaTeX documents, I recommend
  2. You will "submit" your proposal by uploading and linking the PDF version of it to your group's project page. You will want to create a subpage or Google doc to organize all of the proposal drafts, notes, etc, that will be generated during the proposal writing process. However, there is no need to make a separate link for each part of this assignment. You can simply replace the document you had previously uploaded.
  3. This is a group assignment. You will produce only one proposal per group. I propose using a divide-and-conquer + round robin approach where you first divide up the writing work to produce an initial very rough draft, and then you pass it around to have everyone take a pass over the whole text for consistency and smoothness.

The overall outline of your proposal will be as follows (You should use each of these titles as a header in your proposal)

  • Research context and problem statement: What is the context for the work you are doing, why should people care about your work, and what is the specific problem you will solve?
  • Proposed Solution: What is your specific proposed solution to the problem you identified in part 1?
  • Evaluation and Implementation Plan: How will you know if your research was successful? And how will you organize your work to get it done in the time you have? This section will have two sub-headers: "Evaluation Plan" and "Timeline"

Part 1: Research context and problem statement

Due by class time Wed Week 6.

Before Wed week 6 your goal is to write the first section of your proposal: the "Research context and problem statement" section. In this section you should give the motivation for the area you are working in (why should people care) and the general context for the problem. You should include links to previous work (at least 3 references, but probably more!) in this section (how have others addressed this problem? Why are their solutions not sufficient?). You should conclude this section with a concise statement of the specific research problem(s) your group will be trying to solve.

The paper presentation and teaching exercises in class during week 3 gave you some practice with articulating high-level problems and breaking those problems down into subproblems. We also talked about this in the context of the paper we started looking at in week 3. Use these exercises and examples as guides in producing this part of the proposal.

We won't worry too much about length. It's the content that's important.

Part 2: Proposed Solution

Due by class time Wed Week 7.

You will continue the draft of your proposal by adding the Proposed Solution section. You will describe the specific work you will be doing, and explain how that work is a solution to the problem you laid out in the first section. Be as detailed as possible here, but make sure you present all of your work as a solution the your problem. The reader should never wonder, "Why are they doing to do that?"

Part 3: Evaluation and Implementation plan

Due by class time Wed Week 8.

Finally, you will finish the draft of your proposal by writing the Evaluation and Implementation Plan section. This section will have two subsections:

Evaluation Plan: Describe the method that you will use to ensure that your solution is successful (or to measure how successful it is). This will include information like what experiments you will run, what data you will collect, how you will analyze this data and what results would show success (or failure). Be as detailed as possible here. You can always change this later.

Timeline: Make a timeline (in as much detail as possible) for completing the work over the next two quarters. Your work needs to be mostly complete by the start of spring quarter, so plan to do most of it during winter quarter. Spring will be used for writing up the work and doing the presentations (you'll be able to do some more research during Spring, but not that much so don't count on it).

This is lot to think about for one week, so just do your best. I don't expect the report to be perfect, but I am setting a high bar for the first week to force you to try to nail down what exactly you will do for your project this year. Please contact me if/when you have questions.

"Submit" your report by linking it from your group's main research page.

Refine your proposal

During class Wednesday of Week 8, take another pass through the proposal and refine it based on the information you received on how to review a proposal during our previous lecture.