[iw] Proposal Presentation Informaton - Week of October 10th - 13th

Colleen E. Kenny-McGinley ckenny at CS.Princeton.EDU
Fri Oct 7 15:46:35 EDT 2011

Proposal Presentations : 

1. Upload your presentation to the Drop box by 8 AM on the day of your presentation!  
Please upload a . pdf of your presentation here: 
https :// dropbox .cs. princeton . edu / COSIW _F2011/ ProposalPresentation 
Upload a . pdf of your talk by 8am the morning of your talk. Please name your slide as follows: 
DayOfPresentation _ FirstInitial _ Lastname . pdf 
( EG for Maria Smith presenting on Monday it would be: Monday_M_Smith. pdf ) 
Students are expected to attend for an entire 1-hour block (starting and ending on the hour) and give feedback to other students in that time period. 
Consult with your advisor in advance if they would like to attend 
2.  Be on Time:   You must be in the conference room at your scheduled block time.  For example, all appointments scheduled at 10, 10:20, 10:40 must 
     be in room at 10 AM. 
3.  The full schedule for the week is posted outside of  my office room 210. 
Below please find the information needed for a successful Independent Work presentation.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. 
You have signed up for a slot and will attend one of the talks in the 1 hour time block (starting and ending on the hour) While attending you will fill out feeback forms.  You will give the forms to the other students in your group to give them tips that will help them improve their speaking abilities. 
You will be given 1 minute to set up , 12 minutes for the talk and 2 minutes for questions . An absolute maximum of 15 minutes from when the last person finished to when you finish. If your talk is too long you will be cut off in the middle -- manage your time carefully! You must upload your slides to the dropbox prior to the talk -- see the important dates page for the exact webpage , etc. 
You are very strongly encouraged to give your talk on my laptop. The only reason not to give the talk on my laptop is if you have some special demo or software you need to run. (With the number of talks we need to get through, switching laptops every talk causes us to get behind. In addition, sometimes there are technical problems that make it difficult or impossible to project from certain laptops... we want to avoid such problems whenever we can.) 
Please make your presentation in either PowerPoint or PDF formats. Part of (not the entire presentation) may involve giving a demo of some software you have created or are using. 
Please read the section on giving a good talk . Also, be sure to practice in advance, by yourself and if possible to your friends, and to go over your talk with your advisor . Your advisor will be able to give you good feedback on both the content and the style of presentation. You will be assessed on both the proposal content and the clarity and effectiveness of your presentation. You should not assume that the audience has a specialized knowledge of your field. Assume your audience is a group of senior undergraduates from Princeton who have not necessarily taken the courses that are most closely related to your research area. 
In general, a reasonable format for this talk would be something along the following lines: 

    • Title slide . Include your name, class, project title, and advisor . 
    • Problem Description & Motivation . Give a high-level introduction to the research area in general and state specifically what problem you will be researching. Explain why the area and specific problem is important, interesting and nontrivial to solve. Give the audience some reason to keep listening to your talk. In other words, the Motivation is a critical part of any successful research talk. The motivation is not "I need this to graduate," but instead should be something like "this problem commonly arises in picking hockey players for your NHL hockey pool, and a better algorithm could improve your chances of winning the pool". Giving some examples will make the problem easier to understand in general. Using pictures or graphs to explain your ideas is often a very good idea -- feel free to use lots and lots of pictures and have very little writing on your slides. Many excellent research talks are composed almost exclusively of pictures and graphs. But then again, don't go overboard. If using pictures is not the best way to make your point then don't. Use common sense and judgment at all times. 
    • Problem Background and Related Work . You probably are not the first person to work in this area, nor will you be the last. Give some background of what has been done. Have academics already written papers on this topic? What do those papers contain? Why will your research be different? Have industrial researchers or companies already built related software? How will your software be different? It is always the case that someone has done something that can be related to what you are going to do. Find out the most closely related pieces of work and explain the relationship to your proposed research. 
    • Plan of attack . Explain, as clearly as possible, what steps you plan to take to solve the problem. What papers will you need to read? What mathematics will you need to learn? What algorithms will you need to define? What software infrastructure will you need to build (pictures can help explain the software architecture)? What data sources will you need to obtain to perform effective experiments? Outline any logistical or technical problems you anticipate and explain any contingency plan you have for avoiding or coping with them. Give a realistic timeline and set deadlines for completion of subtasks . 
    • Evaluation and success criteria . At the end of the project, you should have some means of measuring success. Explain what you hope to achieve, and how you will quantify/qualify it. What experiments will you do to prove that your ideas are successful? 
    • Conclusion . Sum up the most important aspects of the talk concisely. 

Note that each of these bullets may require more than one slide. Please do not feel constrained by the number of slides, but make sure you stay within the time limits. Your slides should be reasonably attractive, visually -- use graphics where appropriate to explain the problem, etc. Most presentation programs have some pre-packaged slide backgrounds, etc., that have reasonable color/font schemes for text, bullets, etc. You should probably use them but do not use an overly-gaudy background that distracts from the content of your slides. Remember that the content of your slides is the most important part of this talk. The presentation is meant to enhance it, not mask any weakness in content. At the same time, presentation is important -- a good format uses color, font size, etc., to show organization and to make it easier for the viewers to follow your presentation. 
  Giving Good Research Talks  - http:// iw .cs. princeton . edu /11-12/#Welcome_Meeting 

You are heavily encouraged to ask your advisor to take a look at your slides in advance and to take their suggestions for improvement seriously 


Colleen Kenny-McGinley 
Undergraduate Coordinator 
Dept. of Computer Science 
ckenny @ princeton . edu 
(609) 258-1746 
(609) 258-1771 (Fax) 
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