Grading will be based on the following components:

Participation  10%
Assignments 10%
Presentations 25%
Project  55%



You are strongly encouraged to contribute to the discussion by asking questions, making observations, identifying strengths and weaknesses of the approaches under discussion. Critical discussion and analysis are key prerequisites for good systems research.


Assignments will involve critical evaluation of the papers in the reading list. Critical reading of technical papers is a must skill to have in research. You will complete and submit a paper evaluation form before each class for each paper marked with "*". You are asked to submit only 10 evaluations. More details can be found here.


Each participant will present the material for one or two sessions (depending on the final enrollment count). The presentations should strive to compile information from the papers and present them in a coherent manner. You will submit a detailed outline of the presentation a week before the presentation. The outline will be revised according to the instructor's feedback. Similarly, the talk slides will be submitted at least two days before the presentation and will be revised.
The "Resources" section contains links to articles on how to give good technical talks. Please make sure to review them.
Below are some basic criteria that you should keep in mind before and during your presentation:

bullet Clarity and broad vision: Always start with a good motivation: why is this work important? Why should people care? Discussing real-world examples or applications for which the work can be useful is crucial for the audience to relate to and appreciate the work. Throughput the presentation, you should clearly identify the contributions and limitations of the work and emphasize them. It is your responsibility to make sure that the audience gets one-two key points made in the paper. It is more important for people to remember one-two things about a paper six months later than to learn ten things that they will forget a week after the presentation.
bullet Style and smoothness: The key to a good talk is practice! Practice your talk until you are very comfortable with it. Ideally, you should know what exactly you would like to say in each slide and then say those and nothing else. You should make eye contact with the audience.
bullet Exposition: You should use big fonts in your slides. The slides should not contain complete sentences. "Less is more" when it comes to the text in the slides. Always use figures to explain difficult concepts. Animations usually help but they shouldn’t be overdone.
bullet Q&A: You should have a good understanding of the material – you should know the material at least one level deeper than the audience. Try to answer all the questions to the best of your knowledge. If you don't know the answer to a question, just say so. You can speculate as long as the fact that you are speculating is clear to the audience.


Details of the project can be found here.