CS/ECE 3992
Computer Engineering thesis/project planning
Spring 2014

Instructor: Erik Brunvand, elb 'at' cs 'dot' utah 'dot' edu, MEB 3142
Office Hours: After class and by appointment
Class: Wed  11:50-12:40  MEB 3147 (Large Conference Room) 
Web Page: http://www.eng.utah.edu/~cs3992 (right here!)

Note that the School of Computing has adopted a tougher stance on academic misconduct you will need to read the policy and print and sign the form. This form will be turned into Arlene Arenaz (the CE academic advisor) by Friday, Jan. 17 (unless you already have one on file with Arlene).

For 3992, academic misconduct means representing as your own, work that is substantially copied from an outside source. Since this course is all about self selected projects where you will write a proposal in various stages of completeness and give project presentations via slides, this is not likely to be a problem.

However if you use text which is slightly modified or copy diagrams that you find on the web then the source of this information must be cited.  Best practice for textual work is to cite information obtained elsewhere and provide the full reference in a bibliography.  For copied diagrams used in either your proposal or your slides then best practice is to cite the source in the caption or as text associated with the diagram. This is not an optional practice.

Course Description

Prerequisites: "C-" or better in CS/ECE 3710 AND CS/ECE 3991 AND Full Major status in Computer Engineering

This is the first course in a 2 or 3 semester series. The purpose of this course is to form teams and propose one of three senior capstone projects:

  1. A self-selected senior project to be completed in CS/ECE 4710
  2. An ECE clinic which will be completed in the subsequent 2 semesters.
  3. An individual thesis, which requires you to find a thesis advisor, and write a thesis proposal. The thesis work will be in CS/ECE 4991 and 4992.

During the first half of the course while teams are being formed and while project ideas are being selected the instructor will lecture on the fundamentals of project planning: scoping, group selection, risk assessment, scheduling, backup planning, strategy, etc. The second half of the course involves student presentations and critique of the written proposals that are in progress. The final result of the course will be an approved project, clinic, or thesis proposal.

This class will involve a lot of writing and presenting of your ideas.

Writing Resources

Bill Thomson recommends the following books in his excellent "Technical Communications in Computer Science" class

Other writing resources: Prof. Furse in ECE has put together some resources here.
Still more writing resources: The College of Engineering CLEAR center at the University of Utah


Grade Components

Four assignments: 16%
Quality and detail of web log: 14%
Single-page project proposal: 5%
Initial presentation and document: 15%
Intermediate presentation and document: 20%
Final presentation and document: 30%
Note that 70% of your grade is on your evolving proposal documents and presentations

Class Schedule (a work in progress)

Date Topic / Agenda Links, Assignments, and Due Dates

Jan 8

Introduction, Discussion
Teamwork, Project Management

Teamwork slides in PDF

Jan 15 Project planning and scoping Project planning and scoping slides in PDF
Resume Assignment: Due Jan 15 (in Canvas)
Sketchbook assignment #1: Sensors. Due Jan15
Jan 22 Project Idea Discussion Sketchbook assignment #2: Linkages. Due Jan 22
Jan 29 Project Idea Discussion #2

Sketchbook Assignment #3: Engineering. Due Jan 29

Links to "digital interaction" and HCI research groups. This is just a totally random selection of places that I found interesting or have some vague connection with. I'm sure there are many many more out there:

Here are some additional links suggested by Ahmet Oguz in our class:

Feb 5

Anatomy of a Proposal
Team Forming

Slides about proposal structure
Feb 12 Proposal Writing Slides on proposal writing
One-page project description + team due (in Canvas)
Feb 19 Organizational issues and parts sourcing discussion

Details about your initial presentation
Slides on parts sourcing

Feb 26

Initial Proposal Presentations

11:50-12:00: Air Hockey
12:00-12:10: Foos Fools
12:10-12:20: Pipe Dream
12:20-12:30: LifeSense

Three-page initial project proposal due (in Canvas)
Mar 5

Initial Proposal Presentations

11:50-12:00: Helicopter Lights
12:00-12:10: ASIC Tester
12:10-12:20: Leftovers
12:20-12:30: Voice Control
12:30-12:40: Ryan Jones (clinic)

NOTE: Meet in "Graphics Annex" today (Room MEB 3515 - by the ECE homework lockers)

Web site must be established, and meeting logs initiated
Mar 12 No Class: Spring Break  
Mar 19

Presentation discussion

NOTE: We'll be meeting in the "Graphics Annex" for the rest of the semester!
(Room MEB 3515 - by the ECE homework lockers)


Mar 26

Intermediate Proposal Presentations (10min)

11:50-12:00: Helicopter Lights
12:00-12:10: ASIC Tester
12:10-12:20: Voice Control
12:20-12:30: Ryan Jones (clinic)
12:30-12:40: Ahmet Oguz (clinic?)

5-10 page intermediate proposal due (in Canvas)
Apr 2

Intermediate Proposal Presentations (10min)

11:50-12:00: Air Hockey
12:00-12:10: Foos Fools
12:10-12:20: Pipe Dream
12:20-12:30: LifeSense
12:30-12:40: Drew Janibagian (clinic)

Apr 9

Final Proposal (15 min presentations)

11:50-12:05: Voice Control
12:05-12:20: Ryan Jones (clinic)
12:20-12:35: Helicopter Lights

Apr 16

Final Proposal Presentations (15 min presentations)

11:50-12:05: ASIC Tester
12:05-12:20: Drew Janibagian (clinic)
12:20-12:35: Pipe Dream

Final project proposal due (in Canvas)
Apr 23

Final Proposal Presentations (15 min presentations)
(Note that this class will run overtime by 10min...)

11:50-12:05: Air Hockey
12:05-12:20: Foos Fools
12:20-12:35: Ahmet Oguz (clinic?)
12:35-12:50: LifeSense

Upload your final project presentation slides to Canvas

Previous 3992 projects can be seen here