CS486/CS686 Course Project

Proposal (no mark)

Only students who have submitted a proposal following the stipulations below will be allowed to submit a final project.

Report (30% of final mark for CS686 and 5% bonus for CS486)

For CS486:

For CS686:

Ethical Approval

Important: If your plan to involve human participants in your project (e.g. do a survey, test an instrument), you must get ethical approval, and you must start this process immediately as it can take six weeks or more. See Office of Research Ethics and in particular this page for details. I don't have a blanket ethics procedure for the course, as projects are too varied to allow for that, so each student or group is responsible for their own ethics applications if needed.

Evaluation (CS486 students)

The project reports will be evaluated on three main criteria, with weights as shown. These are used as guidelines for the instructor when evaluating the work. To get full marks, undergraduate student projects should be clearly written, easily understandable, and demonstrate the students have closely examined and analyzed the problem. Group projects will be expected to be proportionally more involved. A group must indicate in their final report who is reponsible for which parts.

Evaluation (CS686 students)

The project reports will be evaluated on four main criteria, with weights as shown. These are used as guidelines for the instructor when evaluating the work. To get full marks, graduate student projects to be of sufficient quality that they could be submitted for publication (at least at a AAAI Workshop or Symposium) with only a small amount of additional work.

Suggested Structure for the Report

Academic Integrity

All submitted work (assignments and project reports) should be the submitting student's own work, and should bear his/her name as author. Any evidence of writing from a different person or source will be considered plagiarism and will be dealt with as such (see University policy below). A few simple rules may help you here:
  1. ALWAYS write your own submitted work.
  2. CLEARLY indicate contributions from anyone else: enclose the text in "quotations" and CLEARLY indicate the source right next to the text. Just citing the work that you are quoting from at the end in the bibliography is NOT sufficient. Rule 2 must be applied IMMEDIATELY upon putting any text or image that is not your own into your document. Don't wait, you'll regret it later when you submit your work but have forgotten to go back and put in the citation.
  3. DON'T cut and paste.
  4. If you do cut and paste (remember: don't cut and paste - see rule 3), then apply rule 2 IMMEDIATELY.
  5. DON'T cite Wikipedia or other publicly generated web content. Read about citing Wikipedia or other web content.


Citations are an important part of any scientific writing. They put your work in context, and show its relationship to other work. A big part of the power of a citation comes from its trustworthiness: the source is such that you have good reason to believe that a group of professional scientists has read and evaluated the paper, and so it contains mostly valid scientific results (although they may have made a mistake, but then it is up to you to find it!).

If you are talking about someone else's work, then you put a reference (properly formatted) to the work in a bibliographic section at the end of your paper, and cite the reference after you have discussed the work:

Carroll's use of poetry is an important part of his work, as it contextualizes and motivates the compositional aspects of the work (Carroll, 1871).
However, if you are directly quoting someone else's work (do this very sparingly), then you need to enclose the text you are quoting in quotation marks, and put the reference, with a page number, immediately after the text you are quoting.
The poem opens with the line: "The sun was shining on the sea" (Carroll, 1871, p.72).
And, then, at the end of the document, you list the full reference.
Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. MacMillan, 1871.
The actual format of the references will change depending on the journal or conference you are writing for. If you are using LaTeX, then you can simply change the bibliography style, see here for a guide to LaTeX sytles. If you're using Word™, then I question your sanity but nevertheless wish you the best of luck.

Wikipedia (or other publicly generated web content) is not a trustworthy source of information. Wikipedia entries can be generated by anyone, and may be left un-checked for months or years. Any references to Wikipedia in your submitted coursework for CS886 will not be considered valid, and significant marks will be deducted. However, you may use Wikipedia to seek the original references, and cite those instead.

The only exception to the "don't cite Wikipedia" rule is if the content you are citing is specifically about Wikipedia itself. e.g. "In my research on the trustworthiness of Wikipedia, I found that there was a significant error on the page about affective computing (reference to webpage and date of access)". In such cases, you must include the date that you accessed the content on and the exact URL.

Citations to works that are online only (not in print) are perfectly fine, but must include a journal name, volume number, and other relevant citation material, and/or a digital object identifier (DOI). You can also cite a web page from a well-established organisation, but you should include as much reference material as possible, e.g. an ISBN number or DOI.

Wikipedia itself has a good page about citing Wikipedia.