CS518 2007


General Information





Term paper

Pattern presentation



Term Paper

Each student will select a topic that gives them an opportunity to survey the state-of-the-art and practice. It should prepare them to do further research in their Master's or doctoral work. The topics are related to the research activities of the software engineering research group at Colorado State University. In the past offerings of this course, a few course projects led to Masters theses and Ph.D. dissertations.

Start working on thinking about the topics early, preferably by the first week of February. Hunt for papers using the ACM and IEEE digital libraries, Citeseer, and Google. You are required to write a proposal by the first week of March. You cannot do this in one day! You can discuss your ideas with the instructor before writing the proposal. Drafts are welcome up to a week before the actual proposal is due.

The term paper must be written individually. Students must select a topic from the following list.

  • Adaptive applications and middleware.
  • Performance modeling/simulation of distributed applications (e.g., when certain design patterns such as reactor or proactor, or certain infrastructures such as EJB or web-services are used).
  • Test coverage tools, debuggers, and visualization tools for distributed applications.
  • Aspect-based refactoring of applications.

The following table shows the deliverables, deadlines and the contribution of each deliverable toward the final grade.

Component Worth Due date
Proposal 3% March 8 (before the spring break)
Report 8% May 3


Submit a 2 page proposal describing the topic. The proposal must contain the following items:

  1. Title
  2. Author
  3. Problem description: What is the problem being addressed and its context? What is the significance?
  4. Preliminary list of criteria that you will use to compare and evaluate the approaches to be surveyed.
  5. Summary of your preliminary investigation of the area. List the relevant work that you have found along with a short description of each, and cite the papers.
  6. List of references (at least 3 papers, at most 5 papers).


The report is an important part of your project. You will get good practice for putting down your thoughts concisely. Don't leave out any details. Assume that the reader does not know anything about the problem being solved.

The report is modeled after the department's research exam without the oral exam. "The report will be a creative survey. You will summarize and critique existing work on a subject. You are not required to do original research, but that will be a plus. The emphasis is on providing deep and comprehensive insight into high-quality existing research on a specific topic. You will exhibit awareness of the research frontier in an area and potential research directions. You should be aware of weaknesses and gaps in the published work."

The report will be between 10 and 15 pages, 11pt size, single spaced. The sections will be as follows:

  • Title, author, affiliation, date
  • Abstract (100 words)
  • Keywords (5-6)
  • The following must be numbered sections:
    • Introduction
      • Problem description and significance
      • Objectives and contributions of your work
    • Organize the survey into several sections as you think best. It's a good idea not to critique each paper separately. Instead, organize the report in terms of each research question or criterion and then discuss how the papers address each one. This will show that you can synthesize the content of the papers.
    • Open problems
    • Summary
    • References: Don't pad references. List a publication only if it is cited somewhere in the text. Give complete information about the citations.

Be careful about plagiarism, i.e., do not present other people's words as your own. Do not reproduce other's work verbatim without quotation marks and citiing the source. Do not paraphrase or summarize other's work or ideas without attributing the source.

For more details on quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing other people's work, please refer to the CSU writing center's teaching guide on understanding and addressing plagiarism.

Feel free to use the resources at CSU's writing center to improve your writing skills.

Last updated: October 27, 2006