CS 294-105: Class Reports


If taking CS 294-105 for 2 units, in addition to completing homeworks, presenting an empirical analysis to the class, and participating in class discussion, students also write a report documenting a thorough empirical analysis they have undertaken. It is fine to base the report on the same data as presented to the class during the semester. If doing so, be sure to incorporate relevant feedback received during the presentation. Reports are due Monday Dec 15 at 2PM. The report should include:
  1. Background material sufficient to understand the problem domain, data you are using, and analysis considerations. It is fine to craft this to me as a particular reader if you wish. (So, for example, the background could be very short or even skipped for topics I've worked on; and should be pitched for a general CS audience for topics outside of networking and security, which is what I focus on.)
  2. An overview of your analysis target(s). Include any reflections you have on the implications of those targets (e.g., particular data or analysis challenges that they pose).
  3. A thoughtful presentation of the measurements on which you base your analysis: how you gathered it, a summary of their salient features, and an assessment on any issues (such as biases) arising from the particular measurement process.
  4. An examination of data quality issues. Explain what you assessed in this regard (including potential issues that turned out not to be problems).
  5. If appropriate for your particular analysis target, discuss the data exploration you undertook to illuminate the nature of the data as it relates to what you want to analyze.
  6. Discussion of your analysis process and associated issues.
  7. Brief discussion of argumentation for presenting your results. That is, which aspects of the preceding facets of empirical analysis (presentation of measurements, data quality, data exploration, analysis process) would you include in a paper presenting your results? What "narrative" would you employ and what new illustrations would you want to create, if any? This unfortunately isn't a topic that we've been able to spend much class time on, so you do not need to delve into these considerations in any depth. This is more an opportunity for you to get feedback on your proposed argumentation approach.
It's fine to use a regular-style research paper as your starting point if you've already written one. I won't particularly consider "Related Work", questions of novel contributions, or the like, but don't mind their presence in your report. Illustrate generously. It's fine to have way more plots/tables than you would include in a research paper. (Though you should also show judgment on not including so many figures that it's overwhelming to read.) Be sure the plots are large enough to be easily read - there's no page limit for the report!

What to Turn In

Submit either PDF or HTML, via email attachment. I will primarily be reviewing reports from hardcopy, so the writeup needs to print clearly and with sufficiently large text (11 point font) and figures. If you use color figures, mention that in your cover note so I can send it to an appropriate printer.

In addition, also submit your document source. It doesn't need to build (e.g., okay to leave out LaTeX packages and figures; it can be helpful to include your bib file, though). I sometimes use source as a convenient way of commenting on different parts of writeups.

Reports are due Monday Dec 15 at 2PM.

Finer-grained Writing Considerations

Here are some pointers regarding writing your report (subsetted from a more general list from CS261N):

What If I Still Have Questions?

Ask away! Post to Piazza, or if you prefer, send me email or talk after class or at office hours.