Term Paper - CSCI 530, Spring 2004

Term Paper Proposal
[BC: Changed 2/29/2004] The deadline has been removed for the proposal. (We will start bugging you if you have not submitted a proposal by 3/26/2004.) E-mail submissions to both the TA and the instructor only. [BC: Added 4/9/2004] Please note that the only allowed formats are ASCII text, PDF, Postscript, and HTML. Additionally:
  • No grade will be assigned for the proposal.
  • You may work on the term paper as soon as your proposal is approved.

For your term paper, you will be asked to write an 5 to 6 page paper, double spaced (about 2000 words), on a topic of your choosing, subject to instructor approval. We are open to a number of different kinds of topics; here are some suggestions:

  1. A survey of security techniques in a fairly well-defined area: signature-based intrusion detection, public-key infrastructure, etc.

  2. An implementation paper on a theoretical idea, such as a hash algorithm, or an intrusion detection mechanism.

  3. A paper based on an idea of your own, modifying a system described in a paper you've read.
You are not limited to these ideas, nor will your proposal necessarily be accepted simply because it falls into one of these categories. [BC: Added 2/25/2004] Also, please focus of the technical aspects of security systems as oppose to social, political, and economic aspects.

For this first phase, do NOT write the entire paper. Instead, write a 1 page proposal, double spaced (about 300 words), describing what it is you plan to write about, as well as justifying it as an interesting topic. If you have any questions regarding this initial phase, please contact the instructors.

Your proposal must include a list of at least 3 papers that you plan to use. This list can spill over to the 2nd page of your proposal.

Term Paper
(To be read after you have received feedback regarding your proposal.)

[BC: Added 2/29/2004]
Due 11:45PM, Wednesday, April 21, 2004. Electronic submissions only. [BC: Added 4/9/2004] Please note that the only allowed formats are ASCII text, PDF, Postscript, and HTML. Please name your submission as either termpaper.txt, termpaper.pdf,, or termpaper.html, respectively.

By now all of you who submitted your proposal have received feedback from the instructors regarding the suitability of your topic and have been writing for several weeks. In your proposal most of you have prepared a reading list of the papers that you plan to use, though you are free to add to the reading list as you continue to work on the research paper. When considering the addition or deletion of papers please keep in mind some guidlines for references here.

You must now write a paper on the topic you selected in your proposal. The purpose of the research report is for you to become an expert on the topic you selected. The research report should be written so that it conveys information to the reader. When grading the paper we will ask ourselves whether other students in the class might learn about the topic you choose by reading your paper. The paper should contain original analysis of the papers you choose to cover, and ideally suggest directions for future research on the topic.

In writing your paper you should use the several assigned readings from the course as a guide of what is expected of you. In particular, the length and level of detail should be about that of the typical paper from your readings. The real constraint on the length, though, is that your paper should be as long as is necessary to get across the material you wish to convey, and not longer. The best way to accomplish this is to write your paper without concern for its length, then go through the paper sentence by sentence and ask yourself whether the sentence adds information that is relevant to your topic. If not, delete the sentence, or shorten it. You should also use the papers in the readings as a guide to what is expected in terms of properly citing other works.

We realize that some of the students in CSci530 have not been required to submit research papers in other classes that they have taken. For those of you who have not written a research paper before, we urge you to utilize the resources of the Engineering Writing Center or the USC Writing Center.

[BC: Section added 3/6/2004]
The following is a list of links on security related conferences.
[BC: Section added 3/30/2004]
Just to itemize a few things that I'm looking for in your final term paper:
  1. A good paper.

  2. Clearly written and technically sound.

  3. Does a good job in evaluating the surveyed area or presenting your original idea (depending on which type of paper you are writing). If you are doing a survey paper, don't pick 3 papers that say pretty much the same thing.

  4. The paper needs to "say something" or "make a point" (have your friends read it, if they don't "get it", you need to make your point clearer).

  5. Demonstration that you have read and understood your references.
Since the term paper will be an extended abstract, I wouldn't say that I expect great depth. So, you don't need to look for something that no one understands! :-)
Important Submission Notes
Both the proposal and the term paper must be submitted electronically. You must follow the Electronic Submission Guidelines when you submit project assignments. Please note that this is a brand new procedure and very different from previous procedures.

Late submissions will receive severe penalties. Due to clock skews, electronic submissions of projects and homeworks assignments will be accepted within 15 minutes after the specified deadlines without penalties. If your submission is beyond the 15 minutes grace period, you will receive 75% of your grade if your submission is 15 minutes late beyond the grace period; you will receive 50% of your grade if your submission is 30 minutes late beyond the grace period; you will receive 25% of your grade if your submission is 45 minutes late beyond the grace period; and you will receive a score of zero otherwise.

All submissions will be timestamped by the submission server and receipts will be issued. Whether your submission arrived to the server by the deadline is determined by the timestamp. Please keep your receipts.


[Last updated Fri Apr 9 2004]    [Please see copyright regarding copying.]