G7400 F'12


The purpose of the project is summarized on the general syllabus page.

Stage 1 Pick a topic that you and your partner consider interesting (in the context of this course). A list of suggested topics appears below. It is acceptable if two pairs grab one and the same paper. If you would like to be more ambitious---recommended to PL students---look at the conferences or journals discussed in class. Read the abstracts and motivational sections.

Get approval by 09 October 2012 for your chosen topic. If your topic is from the list below, a simple email from one of you to me, ccing your partner suffices. Otherwise, submit a two-paragraph email: one summarizing the topic in your words, and a second one explaining why you wish to study this topic.

Stage 2 A first reading of a technically complex paper should leave you with a shallow understanding and a desire to understand certain aspects in more depth. The best way to express this desire is to articulate your understanding and to phrase questions in this context. These questions tend to tell you which "tools" (mathematical techniques, implementation, measurements, etc) you will need to use to find answers.

Write up a one-page memo in journal-paper style that (1) summarizes your current understanding of the paper, (2) states which aspects of the paper you would like to understand in depth, and (3) explains which tools (Redex and otherwise) you wish to use to model the paper's insights so that you gain the desired insight. Researchers tend to think of this memo as a proposal.

The PDFed proposal memo is due 23 October 2012.

Stage 3 Just do it! There is nothing like working on your chosen topic. Experience the feeling of understanding what the author really meant; what the author could have done. -- Do not hesitate to consult with me if you're stuck!

Stage 4 Report on your experience in a two-page "result" memo. The revised memo should consist of four parts: (1) the fixed-up summary from the "proposal" memo; (2) a revised and concrete set of questions that you tackled; (3) a description of the approach used to answer them; and (4) your answers (abstractly, because you have a limited amount of space). Do not write an essay on what you did in the past two weeks but imagine yourself writing a final report for a scientific grant that you obtained from a funding agency.

To format the paper, use (1) an 11-point font, (2) 1.5in margins all around, (3) a header that specifies the paper title and the authors of the memo, (4) no section or subsection headings. If you wish to label a passage, use the so-called paragraph style, which boldfaces the initial phrase of a paragraph.

The revised memo is due, in PDF form, on 20 November 2012 before class. Email it as an attachment together with one Redex file (if needed). Both file names should use the last names of the partners, plus a suitable suffix (.pdf and .rkt).

Stage 5 Prepare a joint 40-minute whiteboard lecture that describes (1) the paper's problem, including the motivation, and background, (2) your questions, (3) the approach you used to answer these questions, and (4) the insight you gained.

Divide the talk between the two partners but each partner should be prepared to answer questions about the entire talk.

Grading Your "deliverables" are: (1) the "proposal" memo, (2) the "report" memo, (3) the lecture; and (4) an appendix that documents your work (usually a Redex model).

Your project grade consists of four different pieces:

  1. the initial formulation of a question concerning the topic;
  2. the description of your answer or attempts, i.e., the 'revised memo';
  3. the in-class lecture; and
  4. the Redex model in support of your answer.
Both memos are judged at two levels: the content and its English (unit-level organization, style, grammar, typos). Similarly, the lecture is about both content and oral communication skills of technical matters. Finally, the Redex model must support the conclusion and must show that you have understood the basic modeling techniques.

A note on writing or "less is more." Concise language is superior to a lot of weasel words and paragraphs. The two limits (one and two pages, respectively) are upper limits not lower limits. -- Good technical writing focuses on the essence of a topic and avoids emotional verbs (e.g., "believe") or judgmental adjectives (e.g., "wonderful"). -- Start a unit of writing with a 'thesis' and use the rest of the unit with support of the thesis. -- Also, use active voice over passive voice. Connect sentences by starting sentences with idea-words near the ending of the preceding one; then introduce a new one. Doing so is accepted American style of writing and technical writing. -- For a short elegant book on writing, see Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" (3rd edition).

The Topics

  1. Ariola, Felleisen. The Call-by-Need Lambda-Calculus. JFP 1996 acquired by Bowman and Kazemi Nafchi
  2. Aditya, Arvind, Maessen, Augustsson, Nikhil Semantics of pH: A parallel dialect of Haskell MIT CSG 377-1 acquired by Marquez and Muehlboeck
  3. Clements, Felleisen. A Tail-Recursive Semantics for Stack Inspections. ESOP 2003 acquired by Ma and Ramachandran plus Yao and Gu
  4. Cousineau G., Curien P.-L., Mauny M. The categorical abstract machine. FPCA 1985 (LNCS 201) acquired by Bass and Liu plus Koh and Delgir
  5. Flanagan, Sabry, Duba, Felleisen. The Essence of Compiling with Continuations. PLDI 1993 acquired by Mates and Silkensen
  6. Flanagan, Felleisen. The Semantics of Future and Its Use in Program Optimizations. POPL 1995 acquired by Garg and McGrath
  7. Guha, Saftoiu, Krishnamurthi. The Essence of JavaScript. ECOOP 2010 acquired by Yue Chen and Bochao Shen plus Chen and Unlu
  8. Krishnamurthi, Findler, Graunke, Felleisen. Modeling Web Interactions and Errors. In: Goldin, Smolka, Wegner (editors). Interactive Computations. 2006 acquired by Clarke-Lauer and Abhishek Samanta
  9. Waddell, Sarkar, Dybvig. Fixing letrec: A faithful yet efficient implementation of Scheme's recursive binding construct. HOSC 2005 acquired by Claire Alvis

last updated on Mon Nov 19 17:49:27 EST 2012generated with Racket