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Independent Work Seminar Offerings - Spring 2017

Please scroll down to review Seminars IW 02 - IW 09



 ***SEMINAR IW 02  HAS REACHED CAPACITY, please select from the remaining seminars.***

CLOSED - Title:  COS IW 02 -  UN Sustainable Development Goals.   – 12 Students CLOSED

Instructor:   Sandra Batista

Meeting Time:  Friday 11 AM – 12:20 PM - CS301

The UN has proposed 17 sustainable development goals: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ These goals seek to improve the quality of life for people around the world, for example by eliminating hunger, improving living conditions, and improving education. We can use our technical skills to help. In this seminar you will participate in a project to support these goals. Some sample potential projects include the following topics: 1. Contribute code to help protect biodiversity and forests in the Philippines. The conditions are monitored using tablets, so there may be a chance to help with applications for this project. 2. Use your knowledge of machine learning to contribute to an adaptive math learning platform. This is a tablet application that caters content to students and is already being used by students in developing nations. 3. The government of Mauritius had created a very good platform for people to register for social services. The only problem is that most people who need the services do not have computers and Internet access.   However, many (~90%) have mobile phones and service. Contribute to the development of a mobile app,  so people can register for social services.


***SEMINAR IW 03 HAS REACHED CAPACITY, please select from the remaining seminars. ***

CLOSED - Title:  COS IW  03 Seminar: Random Apps of Kindness  - 6 Students - CLOSED

Instuctor – Alan Kaplan 

Meeting Time:   Thursday, 9:30am - 10:50am - CS301

Today there are more than 2.5 billion smartphone users globally, and by 2020, some estimates project over 6 billion smartphone subscriptions.  This is an incredible number of mobile computers, each with mobile broadband connections, and a host of sensors, including cameras, GPS, accelerometers and barometers. 

The overall goal of this IW seminar is to design, develop and experiment with mobile technology that can be used to help individuals or communities.  The goal is not just to "write an app, " but rather to produce some innovative approach to a problem and demonstrate/evaluate its utility and benefits. Application areas include, but are not limited to: environment & climate, social activism, civic computing, healthcare, philanthropy and crowdsourcing. In general, IW projects  must have an impact - locally, nationally or even globally.   Some examples of past projects include: safe bike navigation, urban garden planning, drowsy driver detection and physical therapy exercise assessment.

All projects in this seminar will utilize Android as the core development platform.  Students are highly encouraged to use and/or extend open source platforms.  Projects may utilize any combination of Android devices, coupled with cloud-based backends (e.g., AWS), open APIs/data (many), hardware sensors (e.g., Raspberry Pi), augmented reality (e.g., Google Cardboard)  and programmable UAVs. 


CS IW 04 - Help Future Princeton Students Learn Computer Science!  - 12 Students

Seminar Leader:  Robert S. Fish

Seminar Time: Tuesday, 3 pm – 4:20 pm - CS301

How would you like to have an IW project that could have lasting value for Princeton CS students?  This seminar focuses on projects that try to enhance the computer science learning environment at Princeton.    Recent years have seen a tremendous upsurge in both the interest and deployment of online learning platforms.  Here at Princeton, some classes use a hybrid approach with online learning being supplemented and enhanced through classroom-based precepts and face-to-face one on one sessions. However, even with this method, some students struggle to keep up with the pace of these courses.  To remedy this, there is some thought that people need training that combines a degree of self-pacing, as well as a variety of modes of learning.

In this seminar, students will choose some computer science concept from COS 126, 217, 226 or other Princeton Computer Science courses.  You might pick some interesting concept which you think you can explain well to other students.  Some examples might be 1) the dynamic operation of various gates and circuits in the TOY architecture or 2) visualizing function calls and the run-time stack frame for different functions (return types, parameters, optimizations on/off).   For their projects, students will design and build an online learning experience that is targeted at this concept.  It can include videos, graphic visualizations, quizzing mechanisms, or anything else that you can think of to help learn the concept.   The project may also include a testing mechanism by which mastery of the concept may be assessed.  A bonus would be utilizing the system to compare learning with it to a conventional approach.

Students may team up on these projects, creating a joint idea for a learning environment, with each student concentrating on some aspect of the software with a division of labor of frontend, backend, assessment, data analysis, etc.  The learning and use of open source tools, including tools such as Django, the D3 visualization library, and Open EdX, etc. is encouraged in order that students may create the most effective online learning environments. 

Some examples of past projects include an automated COS 226 quizzing system, visualizations of stack and heap data structures, and a user interface to improve student progress tracking.


 ***SEMINAR IW 05  HAS REACHED CAPACITY, please select from the remaining seminars.***

CLOSED  CS IW 05 Developing a Technology Startup Venture - 12 Students - CLOSED

Seminar Leader: Jaswinder Pal Singh

Seminar Time: - Monday, 9 AM - 10:20 AM - CS301

In this seminar, students develop and build a product/service and plan for a software technology startup. The startup may be a for-profit company or a non-profit organization. Students will be expected to develop and refine an idea, perform appropriate market research, develop an product or service, iterate on the product via user feedback or research as appropriate, and develop a startup-appropriate financial plan for the organization. Projects will be expected to develop and demonstrate a prototype or a "minimum viable product," and ideally to test it in market to the extent possible or appropriate. A typical project will also report quantitatively on results of market research as well as quantitatively or qualitatively on customer research and iteration, and will have a quantitative and justified business and financial model. Projects that go deeper in some of these areas will do less in others, but we expect projects to learn about both the product/technology and the business sides. 
Students may work in teams or individually, and will be expected to develop their own ideas, though help in ideation will be available. Students or teams concurrently taking COS 448 will be able to discuss with the seminar leader extending their COS 448 project to be appropriate for this seminar as well, and thereby obtain credit for the independent work as well as the class. This is a good opportunity to understand what goes into building a startup, and to actually develop an actual product or service and test it in market. Students enrolled in this seminar but not in COS 448 will (space permitting) also be able to attend the lectures in COS 448 (only if they desire, not required), including guest lectures by leading executives from industry and academia.


CS IW 06 Comparison Surveys in Machine Learning – 12 Students

Seminar Leader:  Sandra Batista

Seminar Time:  Wednesday, 11-12:30 AM - CS301

This seminar would permit students to conduct survey studies in ML techniques. The students would select several (around 3) ML techniques in order to analyze and compare the results from techniques across the same data sets. Aside from giving the students the chance to conduct a thorough literature review that could be very useful for further IW or senior theses, students will develop skills in data analysis and especially in interpreting the results from the application of ML methods. Students have a wide choice of data sets. A very good resource for data is the UCI ML repository: http://archive.ics.uci.edu/ml/datasets.html This is an excellent opportunity to explore related works in preparation for a senior thesis in Machine Learning.


 ***SEMINAR IW 07  HAS REACHED CAPACITY, please select from the remaining seminars.***

CS IW 07  Measuring the Societal Impact of Technology – 12 Students

Seminar Leader – Arvind Narayanan

Seminar Time – Tuesday  3 PM – 4:30 PM - CS302

When we create digital technologies we hope they will make the world a better place. But sometimes they have questionable societal consequences. Examples range from fake news spreading via Facebook (and its alleged impact on elections) to surreptitious tracking of shoppers in malls based on signals emanating from smartphones.

In this seminar, your goal will be to identify a potential negative impact of technology, empirically study and quantify it, and devise ways to mitigate the effects. You could propose your own project or collaborate with CITP fellows or graduate researchers. Existing projects where you could collaborate include the Web Transparency and Accountability project that aims to uncover how we are tracked online, and a project that studies how machine learning systems assimilate human biases such as racial prejudices and gender stereotypes.

Projects will be eligible for the Technology and Society certificate. Your work should have a core empirical component, as opposed to a purely qualitative study of the effect of technology on society.


CS IW 08   Practical Solutions to Intractable Problems – 12 Students

Seminar Leader - Zachary Kincaid

Seminar Day/Time -  Monday,  3 PM - 4:30 PM - CS301

In theoretical computer science, a problem is typically considered to be tractable if it can be solved by a polynomial time algorithm. There are many natural problems for which no such algorithm exists: finding a 
satisfying assignment to a boolean formula, finding a winning strategy  for a game of checkers, finding an input that makes a program crash,  etc. While theory dictates that all algorithms for such problems must 
have poor worst case behavior, it is often possible to avoid the worst case in practice.  For example, despite the fact that boolean satisfiability is NP-complete, modern SAT solvers can scale to millions of variables and clauses for the kinds of formulas that arise in typical applications, such as verification, synthesis, and planning.

In this seminar, students will engage in research on how intractable problems are solved in practice.  A typical project is to choose a problem of interest and design, implement, and experimentally evaluate a 
technique for solving that problem.  The technique could involve exploiting existing tools (suchas SAT solvers, theorem provers, or integer programing solvers) or designing a new algorithm (perhaps based 
on the principles of heuristic search, relaxation, or approximation).


CS IW 09    These Aren’t The Drones You Are Looking For: Mitigating the Privacy and Security Implications of Drones – 12 Students

Seminar Leader -  Marshini Chetty 

Seminar Day/Time – Tuesday, 9:30 AM – 10:50 AM - CS301

Drones are fast being hailed for a variety of everyday purposes such as delivering packages, taking video footage in hard to reach places and helping catch criminals. Yet as drones become ubiquitous in society, we need to consider the privacy and security implications of these unmanned aerial vehicles that are capable of remote flight, video recording, and carrying a payload. In this seminar, you will learn about what a drone is, what the major privacy and security implications are of drones, and what current regulations and policies exist that govern the use of drones.

 Projects will focus on creating apps or systems that help to mitigate privacy and security issues of drones from the perspective of three stakeholders: 1) Drone operators (someone who controls a drone); 2) Drone bystanders (someone who encounters a drone in their day to day activities); and 3) Drone regulators (someone who needs to create policies to regulate the use and operation of drones). All projects will follow user-centered design techniques and principles because this topic will be examined from the perspective of usable security and human-computer interaction.



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