Independent Work Seminars
The Computer Science Department offers Independent Work Seminars, which allow students and a faculty adviser with shared interests to meet as a group and work on related projects.
Background and Motivation
The main motivation for these seminars is to provide a way for students working on similar projects to get assistance and feedback from their peers.
The IW seminars bring together groups of students working on related problems. Each student chooses and works on their own project, just as in any other IW. The only difference is that meetings occur with faculty and other students in seminar-style once per week at a scheduled time. During the meetings, the students discuss what they are doing, provide feedback to other students, and generate ideas for future work. The seminars provide a great forum for honing small-group presentation and discussion skills that will be essential after graduation. Individual meetings with the faculty adviser can also occur weekly during agreed-upon times throughout the semester.
Within these seminars, it is possible for groups of 2-3 students to work on different parts of the same large-scale project. As an example, a few students might work together on a system for collaborative grading of assignments in MOOCs (massive open online courses) with one student developing the user interface, another designing the algorithms for assigning problems to graders, and a third implementing a system for integrating grader responses in the back-end server. Every student is responsible for writing a paper and making presentations individually, but it might be possible to achieve much more with a collaborative effort than with a set of individual ones (the whole is greater than the sum of parts). In any case, team efforts could be more fun and engaging for the participating students.
What are the Topics for the Independent Work Seminars for Spring 2024?
Click here to go directly to the full seminar descriptions, or click on a linked seminar title to go directly to that seminar's full description.
Who Should Sign-Up for the Independent Work Seminars?
All students who plan to do independent work for the first time should sign up for an IW seminar. Specifically, this includes all AB juniors and all BSE students signed up for COS 397/8 or 497/8 for the first time. Though the seminars are targeted at first-time independent work students, they are open to any COS junior or senior who is not working on a senior thesis. The content of the IW seminars includes not only independent work on a project, but also guidance about how to choose projects, evaluate progress, design experiments, collaborate with others, make presentations, and other project management skills. These skills are essential for becoming an effective researcher, and provide great training for working in a company or startup. Thus, the seminars are perfectly suited for students doing their first semester of independent work.
If you already have done a previous semester of independent work or want to work on a project outside the scope of the topics offered in any of the IW seminars, then you can make arrangements with a Princeton faculty to advise you one-on-one. To do so, contact the faculty now that you are interested in working with to discuss potential project ideas (probably email is best). If you find a faculty member that agrees to advise you one-on-one, then you can indicate that selection on the IW sign up form by indicating a title, description, and faculty adviser for your project. Please also login to TigerHub and enroll in either COS 397, S99 (BSE juniors) or COS 497, S99 (BSE seniors) for one-on-one projects.
How do I Sign-Up for the Independent Work Seminar?
Enrollment in the IW seminars for the spring is different that enrollment in the fall.
To enroll in a COS IW seminar for Spring 2024:
- AB Juniors: No enrollment in TigerHub required. Login to the COS IW portal and rank your IW seminars in the Spring 2024 IW Sign-Up form.
- BSE Juniors: Enroll in COS 398, S99 AND login to the COS IW portal and rank your IW seminars in the Spring 2024 IW Sign-Up form.
- BSE Seniors: Enroll in COS 498, S99 AND login to the COS IW portal and rank your IW seminars in the Spring 2024 IW Sign-Up form.
Students will be assigned to a spring IW seminar. We try our best to accommodate students into one of their top three seminar preferences, but this is subject to available seats and student interest. Students are not guaranteed a spot into a particular seminar. If you have a question about this, please email Mikki Hornstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past Independent Work Seminars
Learn about more about past Independent Work Seminar offerings.