Many of the concepts we've seen so far in this
course continue to be used and actively researched today. As part of the
requirements for this course, you'll be conducting an independent
research project to further
explore a preselected topic, and then to explore a topic of your
In the first phase of the project, everyone will be researching the same
second phase will be more open-ended, where everyone will end up doing
Research Project Specification
Due Dates: See
Independent research may be a new thing for many of you, so you should
read the "How to do (database) research"
to get an idea of what is involved and the resources available to you.
Phase 1: Exploring DSM
In the first part of this project, everyone will research an alternative
N-ary storage model called the Decomposition Storage Model or
DSM. The original, seminal paper is the following:
Copeland and Khoshafian, "A Decomposition Storage Model", SIGMOD
Using this and other resources, research the DSM to find out how it
works and where
it is being used. Remember to always have some basic questions in your
you read critically:
- What problem is the author trying to solve by using DSM?
- What specific advantages and disadvantages does DSM have?
- How does it relate to comparable models?
You will have two deliverables for this phase of the project:
- Create an outline of the research paper that could be written
from your findings.
You won't actually have to write the full paper for this phase, though
have collected enough information that you could write it, if asked.
a thesis for your paper and
a bibliography of all the sources you cite.
- Create a set of presentation
slides (such as on Powerpoint or the equivalent) that could be used in
oral report of your research findings. Again, you won't be actually
giving the oral
report, but the slides should be complete as if you were. There should
enough material for a 30-minute presentation.
Phase 2: Blaze your own trail
The choice of topic is up to you for the second part of the project.
The subject can be an extension of just about anything we've seen in
thus far. To help guide you, I've compiled a
list of topics and starting references.
You may choose a topic
from this list or make up your own. Unlike the paper you critiqued in
Phase 1, notice
that most of the references I give in the topic list are very recent,
been published just a few years ago, at most. Thus
you'll be reviewing
some pretty bleeding-edge material.
Once you have settled on a topic, let me know via email what you have
Once a topic has been claimed, no one else can pursue it.
There will be three deliverables for this phase:
- A research paper, complete with bibliography, discussing your
I don't like giving page limits, but 10-15 pages is what I'm thinking.
if you go reasonably above or below these limits.
- A set of five questions and answers about your topic, comparable to
the types of
questions I give you on homework assignments. I will be using these to
one of your future assignments (and maybe part of an exam...)
- An oral report to the class, 30 minutes in length, showing the
of your findings. The five questions mentioned above should be
from the presentation you give. It is your responsibility to
sure all appropriate compilers/environments/software are loaded onto the
PC before your presentation to ensure that everything works beforehand.
talk that goes awry will be reflected in your grade. To get through all
the projects, the 30-minute time limit will be rigorously enforced.
be sure you finish on time!
Due dates are as follows:
Warning: due dates above may overlap with due dates for homework
assignments so manage your time accordingly.
- May 1st: (same day as the midterm!) Phase 1 deliverables due.
Outlines can be turned in on paper. Please upload slides to
- May 3rd: Deadline for obtaining email approval for
Phase 2 topic. One point deduction for each day missed if this deadline
is not met.
- May 17th: Five questions and answers for Phase 2
- May 24th: Oral presentations.
Remaining deliverables (paper and slides) due at time of presentation.
Please upload slides to Blackboard.
This project is worth 20% of your total grade. For the Phase 1 outline
and the Phase 2 paper, I'll be looking for:
- sufficient depth of knowledge of the material (know the details!)
- connections to related material covered in class
- ability to objectively critique the benefits and shortcomings of the
For the Phase 1 slides and the Phase 2 presentation, I'll be looking for
- effective communication of foundational concepts
- clarity and coherence of your talk (in both style and substance)
- ability to answer questions about the material
Remember, you're not just summarizing a paper. Doing that would take a
You have several weeks because finding relevant material, reading papers
a critical eye, and forming new understandings about unknown topics is
trivial work, especially when you have to deal with many authors'
backgrounds, writing styles, and points of view. Come see me if you
and start early.
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