Course Structure

Lecture Times: TuTh 1:30-3:30 PM

Lecture Room: 185 Environmental and Water Resources Engineering

Lectures Dates: Aug 29, 2023-Dec 5, 2023

Instructor Office Hours: Thurs. 3:30-4:30 PM 4721 Bob and Betty Beyster

GSI Office Hours: Mon. 4:00-5:00 PM 3941 Bob and Betty Beyster

EECS 584 consists of five main components: paper presentation, participation in class discussions, writing paper summaries, a midterm exam, and a final project.

Note: To pass this course, you need to obtain at least 30% of the grade in each of these five components. For example, a score of 20% for class participation will subject you to a failing grade (at the instructor’s discretion) even if you obtain a 100% score in all other components. In other words, your final grade is a weighted average of your scores in these different components only if your score is above 30% in each component.

1 Paper Presentation

The majority of this course will be conducted as a seminar. A typical class will include a student presentation (approximately 45 minutes) followed by a class discussion of the designated paper(s). Each student will be assigned to present a paper at least once throughout the semester. When the number of students exceed the number of papers, some papers will be presented by a team of two students. When you present a paper, your goals should be as follows:

  • Motivate the paper and provide the necessary background. Why is this paper important? What problem does it solve? In some cases, you may find it useful to refer to related material (e.g., from the textbook), and to explain how the concepts in the assigned paper advance the state of the art.
  • Provide an overview of the paper’s key contributions.
  • Illustrate key technical points. Examples are a great way to do this.
  • Discuss how the proposed technique is evalauted and what are the important results.
  • Share the key takeaways/lessons you learn from the paper
  • Share the key limitations/potential improvements you observe from the paper.

You will need to strike a balance in your presentation: realize that there will not be time to cover all of the technical details, so you will need to decide which details are most important. Here are some additional resources that can help you prepare and deliver a good presentation:

Presentation Requirements: When it is your turn to present, you must read your assigned paper well in adavance.

To help improve the quality of the presentations, all student presenters are required to meet the instructor in his office according to the following schedule. You must prepare your draft slides and bring them to the instructor prior to your practice meeting time.

Your presentation will be evaluated based on several criteria: how well-prepared and organized your presentation is, and the extent to which you have distilled the key information of the original paper. Please refer to the grading table.

2 Participation in Class Discussions

You are expected to attend all lectures (see exceptions), and more importantly, actively participate in class discussions. Even if you are not currently enrolled (e.g., undecided or on a waitlist) but may enroll before the add/drop deadline, it is your responsibility to still attend the lectures and fulfill all the class requirements.

3 Paper Reviews

All students, whether presentors or not, are expected to carefully read the papers before class (i.e., mandatory readings) and write a short review/summary for each paper according to the following deadline. This serves two purposes: (1) it ensures that you will be prepared to participate in class discussions, and (2) it improves your critical skills in evaluating other people’s research, and thereby your own paper writing skills.

Your reviews can be brief, but should contain the following components:

  • Overview of the paper: What is the problem addressed by the paper, and why is this problem important? What is the main approach proposed by the paper? (3-5 sentences)
  • Three main strong points/findings/takeaways of the paper (1-2 sentences each)
  • Three main weak points/limitations/potential improvements of the paper (1-2 sentences each)
  • Around five additional comments (e.g., strong points, weak points, other comments) (1-2 sentences each)

How to Submit Your Reviews: You must submit your reviews through Canvas. Submission are managed through an automated system and will not be accepted after the deadline (no exceptions). Submitting reviews by emailing the instructor(s) or any other means will NOT be accepted. Once your review is submitted successfully, you will receive an automated confirmation email. Please check your spam folder if you do not receive a confirmation.

Your review will be evaluated based on how well you cover the strength and weakness of the original paper, how much insight you are able to extract, and how deep you understand the material. Please refer to the grading table.

Note: You are on your honor not to read or use other students’ reviews before the submission deadline. Nor can you directly generate the review using generative AI, such as ChatGPT. Read the engineering honor code. No violation of the honor code will be tolerated.

4 Midterm Exam

There will be a open-book (no electronics) midterm exam based on the mandatory readings of the class. Each student must complete the exam solely by her or his own efforts. Questions during the exam can be asked only of the course instructors. The exam must be completed within the specified time. No makeup exam will be offered. Please check the midterm date and time before enrollment. See the midterm date, time and location.

5 Final Project

A major component of this course is a class project. For this project, you form a team (see our team size policy) and choose a research topic in the area of data management, and explore it in detail. Projects can range from relatively theoretical to implementation-heavy ones, and should include some original work. In other words, survey articles are not permitted. You may choose to implement an existing algorithm or technique, but this should be done in order to conduct a unique experiment, or to test a novel hypothesis. All project topics need to be approved by the instructor to avoid situations where the topic or scope is not acceptable for the final project of this course. To ensure that you will have enough time and feedback and will be able to turn in a high-quality project, we require you to follow the following milestones:

  1. Identify your team members as soon as possible. See our team size policy.
  2. Meet with the instructor during his office hour with your team members. In this meeting you will pitch your idea and the instructor will give you some early feedback. You are more than welcome to keep revising your initial idea and coming back for more feedback, until you and the instructor reach a mutually aggreeable topic and scopre for your project. You must think about your topic of interest before the meeting.
  3. Submit a project proposal by proposal deadline. Include the names of all team members on the first page. Your proposal should cover the following aspects of your project: what problem you will work on, why the problem is important, what are the existing solutions to the problem, at a high-level how you plan to solve the problem, what are the technical challenges you may address, and how do you plan to evaluate your solution.
  4. Present a mid-semester progress report on your project. These presentations will be held during regular lecture hours (see class schedule for exact dates). Aim for a 10 minute presentation, followed by a 5-minute Q/A. It’s best that all team members participate in the presentation (preferably, each person describing her/his own part of the project). Make sure you rehearse your presentation many times, to ensure that you can clearly communicate your project. Similar to the paper presentations in this class, your goal should be to give an introduction to your problem (very briefly), describe your contribution and highlight your main results.
  5. Participate in the final presentation, to be held on this date. The format is the same as the mid-semester presentation.
  6. Turn in your final deliverables by placing them in a single ZIP file (not to exceed 500GB), uploading it to a private folder (e.g., Google Drive or Box), and sharing a link with your instructor(s) no later than this deadline. Your final deliverables must include the following items:

    1. Your mid-semester and final presentation files.
    2. Your final report, in the form of a research paper. You should try to write the best research paper that you can using the results of your project. By this time, you have read many good papers throughout the class, and thus, you should have an idea of what makes a good research paper. In a nutshell, your report should clearly present the following: your problem statement, your motivation (why it’s important), your literature review (the previous work in this area), your main idea and approach, your implementation techniques, as well as your experimental setup and evaluation results. (Your project proposal may already cover some of these aspects, and it’s okay to reuse text. But your final report should be self-contained without referencing the proposal.)
      • Paper Format: Your paper should follow the ACM formatting (preferably in LaTeX, but Microsoft Word is also acceptable), using one of the templates provided at for Word and LaTeX (version 2e). (For LaTeX, both Option 1 and Option 2 are acceptable.) The font size, margins, inter-column spacing, and line spacing in the templates must be kept unchanged. Your main body of the paper should not exceed 10 (2-column) pages. You can have as many appendix pages as you deem necessary, but the first 10 pages of your paper (including references) should be self-contained, i.e. if one decides not to read your appendix, one should still be able to understand your project’s contributions.
    3. Your code and documentation. Place your entire source code in a single ZIP file (no binaries please). Your top directory should include two files: INSTALL.txt and README.txt, as described next.
      • Your INSTALL.txt file should provide the detailed steps required to compile your source code. For instance, “go and download and install SomeThirdParty library” is not an acceptable instruction. Instead, provide the exact commands and URLs needed to install other libraries that are needed to compile and use your source code.
      • Your README.txt should contain two sections. In the first section, you should explain the Usage of your tool, e.g. command line arguments and pointers to some small text data that can be used to run your tool. In the second section, please explain the major functions of your source code and where to find their implementations in your source code.

It is extremely important to start working on your project as early as possible in the semester, or you are unlikely to finish in time. You can always reach out to, or meet up with, the instructor if you have questions or concerns about your project progress throughout the semester.

Key Details


Presentation Practice Schedule: Student presentors must meet the instructor in his office 2 weekdays before they will present at these times: Friday 3:30 PM for student(s) presenting the Tuesday in the following week, and Tuesday 3:30 PM for student(s) presenting the Thursday in the same week. Note: if you cannot make it, you must notify the instructor at least 48 hours before your appointment so that it can be rescheduled.

Presentation Submission Deadline: Student presenters must email the final copy of their slides (PDF) to Canvas right after their presentation date. If your presentation contains animations, it is your responsibility to ensure that the generated PDF is still readable.


Review Submission Deadline: You must submit your review by 11:59 PM the day before the paper is going to be presented.

Review Submission Method: You can submit your reviews through Canvas.


Team Size Policy: You must form a team with 1 to 3 other students from the class. One-person teams and teams of larger than 4 are disallowed. The recommended team size is 3. Note: the project contribution is expected to be proportional to the number of students in the team.

Project Proposal Submission Deadline: Submit your final proposal (1-3 pages long; word or PDF format) through Canvas by 11:59 PM Oct 5, 2023.

Final Project Presentation: The final project poster/demo session will be held 1:30-3:30 PM on Dec 12, 2023 in 185 EWRE.

Final Deliverables Submission Deadline: You must submit your final project deliverables (the link to your ZIP file) through Canvas the day after the final project presentation by 11:59 PM Dec 13, 2023. See the instructions here.


Max Number of Missed/Skipped Lectures: You may skip up to 2 lectures due to legitimate reasons.

Midterm Time & Location: The midterm will be held 1:30-3:20 PM on Oct 24, 2023 in 185 EWRE.

Disabilities: Students with documented disabilities (including invisible disabilities) are encouraged to contact the instructor during the first three weeks of the semester.

Grading: The following table summarizes the breakdown of your overall grade.

Paper Presentation: 15% Each student will be assigned to present at least one paper during the semester. Presentations will be graded on a scale of 0-5 as follows:
    0: Student fails to complete assigned presentation
    1-9: Presentation is disorganized, hard to follow, or lacking in important details
    10-13: Presentation is solid and covers important points with reasonable clarity (typical score)
    14-15: Presentation is exceptionally insightful (score given infrequently)
Class Participation: 5% Your participation grade will be based on a qualitative assessment of the value of your contributions in leading and participating in class discussions throughout the semester.
Paper Reviews: 15% Each student is expected to read and write a review for each of the mandatory readings (see here for details). Each paper review is graded on a scale of 0-5 as follows:
    0: Review not submitted or submitted after the deadline
    1-2: Review is disorganized, incomplete, or hard to follow
    3-4: Review is solid and covers important aspects of the paper with reasonable clarity (typical score)
    5: Review is exceptionally insightful (score given infrequently)
However, three of your reviews with the lowest grade will be ignored in your final score. Therefore, you may choose to skip up to three reviews without penalty. This is to accommodate unforeseen circumstances throughout the semester.
Midterm Exam: 25% The midterm will be a open-book exam.
Final Project: 40% Your project grade will be based primarily on your poster presentation and final deliverables. Students in the same team may receive different grades depending on their contributions, i.e., students contributing equally to the project will receive equal grades.