CSE6242 / CX4242, Fall 2015
Data and Visual Analytics
Georgia Tech, College of Computing


Grading & Schedule

  1. Proposal (10%)
  2. Proposal presentation (10%)
  3. Progress report (15%)
  4. Final poster presentation (15%)
  5. Final report (50%)
See course homepage's schedule table for all deliverables' due dates.

Teaming Important!

The work will be carried out in teams of 4-5 persons.

A team may consist of both on-campus and distance learning students (Q or Q3 section). All such teams will have 3-day lags for all their deliverables. For proposal presentation and final presentation, those teams can choose to do that in class or submit videos (see details below).

We will grad projects and undergrad projects separately; we generally expect grad projects to include more detailed analysis, comprehensive results, etc.

Polo recommends each group to consist of either all grads or all undergrads. The main reason is that grads and undergrads have different expectations and work schedules. If you want to form a group with both grads and undergrads:
  1. We will grade that group as if all members are grad students
  2. Every member MUST fully understand the potential challenges in coordinating work schedules (e.g., grads usually take class on TH, undergrads on MWF) and expectations (e.g., course grades are generally very important for undergrads)

It is optional for an auditor to work on a project. When an auditor joins a team, the auditor MUST contribute to the team as an enrolled student, and the whole team will be graded as if everyone is enrolled, otherwise it will be unfair to other teams — every team member must fully understand and accept this requirement.

Choosing a Topic

Once you have selected a topic, you should do some background reading so that you are capable of describing, in some detail, what you expect to accomplish. For example, if you decide that you want to implement some new proposal for a multidimensional file structure, you will have to carefully read the paper that proposes similar structures, pinpoint their weaknesses, and explain how your approach will address these weaknesses. Once you have read up on your topic, you will be ready to write your proposal.


Your proposal should answer Heilmeier's questions (all 9 of them; see list below); if you think a question is not very relevant, briefly explain why. In other words, your proposal should describe what you plan to do (the problem to address), why you want to do it, how you will do it (what tools? e.g., SQLite, PostgreSQL, Hadoop, Kinect, iPad, etc.), how your approach is better than the state of the art, why it may succeed, and when it does, what differences will it make, how you will measure success, how long it's gonna take, etc.

9 Heilmeier questions (source)
  1. What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
  2. How is it done today; what are the limits of current practice?
  3. What's new in your approach; why it will be successful?
  4. Who cares?
  5. If you're successful, what difference and impact will it make, and how do you measure them (e.g., via user studies, experiments, groundtruth data, etc.)?
  6. What are the risks and payoffs?
  7. How much will it cost?
  8. How long will it take?
  9. What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success? How will progress be measured.

You must describe what portion of the project each team member will be doing.

Your proposal should be fewer than 1000 words, excluding titles, section names, reference list, etc., but including the literature survey. It should use 12pt font, typed in PDF format (can be created using any software, e.g., latex, Word), and with figures, tables, etc. whenever useful. It should be self-contained. For example, don't just say: "We plan to implement Smith's Foo-Tree data structure [Smith86], and we will study its performance." Instead, you should briefly review the key ideas in the references, and describe clearly the alternatives that you will be examining.

How to write the survey without using too many words?

Grading scheme & Submission instructions

Proposal Presentation



Progress Report

This should be fewer than 1600 words, 12pt font, typed.

It mainly serves as a checkpoint, to detect and prevent dead-ends and other problems early on.

It should consist of the same sections as your final report (introduction, survey, etc), with a few sections "under construction", describing the work performed up to then, and the revised plans for the whole project.

Specifically, the introduction and survey sections should be in their final form; the section on the proposed method should be almost finished; the sections on the experiments and conclusions will have whatever results you have obtained, as well as `place-holders' for the results you plan/hope to obtain.

Grading scheme & Submission instructions

  • 70% for proposed method (should be almost finished)
  • 25% for the design of upcoming experiments / evaluation
  • 5% for plan of activities (in an appendix, please show the old one and the revised one, along with the activities of each group member)
  • Clear list of innovations: give a list of the best 2-4  ideas that your approach exhibits.
  • Team's contact person submits a softcopy via T-Square (progress report only), named teamXXprogress.pdf, via T-Square, where XX is the team number (e.g., team01progress.pdf for team 1)
  • [-5% if not included] Distribution of team member effort. Can be as simple as "all team member contribute similar amount of effort". If effort distribution is too uneven, I may assign higher scores to members who contributed more.
  • Final Poster Presentation

    Each project team presents a poster during Thursday, Dec 3, 5pm to 6pm-ish, in Klaus 1116. All team members must attend this poster session. Everyone is welcome to walk around to see other teams posters. When we (TAs and Polo) come to your team, at least one member should be there to present. The presenters should know the project very well and be prepared to answer our questions (so we recommend all team members to be there when your team presents).

    Please design and print the poster *well before* your presentation day, to avoid last-minute rush.

    The poster must be in portrait orientation; width between 20 and 30 inches, height between 30 to 40 inches. Foam core poster boards, push pins, and easels will be provided to you to mount the poster. We suggest 18pt font size and larger.

    A deck of PowerPoint slides is not acceptable as a poster. However, you may print your design on multiple smaller sheets of paper and then carefully stitch them together. See the illustration below for what is allowed and what is not.

    Each team will have 3 minute to present the poster, and 30 seconds for Q&A.

    Demo: optional but encouraged. If you decide to give a demo, please bring your own laptop. Assume there will little or no internet connection, and no ready access to power outlets.

    Who will attend: We plan to open the session up to everybody (to the College of Computing at least).

    Your poster should cover the following parts (point distribution shown on the left).
    15% Motivation/Introduction: remind us what you're doing, why it's important and why we should care
    30% Your approaches (algorithm and interactive visualization): what they are, their intuition, why do they work, etc.
    5% What's your data: where you got it, what's its characteristics (e.g., size on disk, # of records, temporal or not, etc.)
    20% Experiment and results: how did you evaluate your approaches? What are the results? How do you methods compare to other methods (if any)?
    30% Presentation delivery: (e.g., Good design? Is the text too small? Did you practice?)
    If you team has Q or Q3 students. You can choose to
    1. Present in class
    2. Submit a video presentation through T-Square which shows your poster (e.g., as pdf on your computer screen via screen capture) with voice narration. Your team will have the standard 3-day lag.

    Possible software to create posters

    1. Powerpoint (save as pdf)
    2. Adobe Illustrator is pretty good and available for limited trial and also installed on Library Mac Mini.
    3. You could also use Words/Pages with higher quality images
    4. Inkscape (free, cross platform)
    5. Polo uses XARA (has free trial) http://www.xara.com/us/

    Where to print posters?

    1. Paper and clay. http://studentcenter.gatech.edu/seedo/paperandclay/Pages/default.aspx
    2. Poster printing is available for free at the GVU, but you have to physically go to the machine, log in, and upload your pdf
    3. http://gvu.gatech.edu/wiki/index.php/Poster_Printing_FAQ
    4. Poster printing is also available at basement of the library, this costs money(about 11$ for 3ft x 4ft poster) and they provide the good poster paper
    5. http://librarycommons.gatech.edu/lwc/multimedia.php
    6. PCS - more expensive
    7. http://www.oit.gatech.edu/rm/service/print-copy/print-and-copy-services
    Above info curated from previous classes. Thanks Yin-Shu Kuo, Jitesh Jagadish!

    Final Report

    It will be a detailed description of what you did, what results you obtained, and what you have learned and/or can conclude from your work.


    1. Writeup: fewer than 2800 words, 12pt font, typed. Describe in depth the novelties of your approach and your discoveries/insights/experiments, etc.  
    2. Software: packaging, documentation, and portability. The goal is to provide enough material, so that other people can use it and continue your work.

    Grading scheme & Submission instructions