Gennert's Project Guidelines
PROJECT GUIDELINES apply to all projects:
Sufficiency, IQP, PQP, MQP, Independent Study, Directed Research,
Research Assistantships, Thesis,
although certain items may not be applicable to all projects.
A successful project includes the following ingredients:
- Relevant coursework should be taken before the project is
started. Isn't that the whole idea of The WPI Plan?
A well-written proposal will be due at the beginning of project work.
This may be part of an earlier PQP if appropriate. The proposal must
explain what the problem is and why it is important, and sketch a
method of attack. The proposal does not need to be comprehensive, but
it should let a reader know that you understand the problem.
"How to Write a Project
You must follow the instructions in HtWaPP in order to receive
A schedule, covering the entire project, must
be developed at the beginning of the project. The schedule should include
milestones and deadlines.
The topic must be well-researched. The library is an invaluable resource;
all project students should be familiar with it. If you do
not know how to perform a literature search, the library staff will help.
Attend relevant seminars and
colloquia on campus and nearby. This is one of the best ways to learn
what others are doing.
- A project should represent a significant effort. The average
amount of work will be 15--20 hours per week.
Sponsored Research Assistants should spend 25--30 hours per week on
Meetings and Reports
Project review meetings will be held every week.
If you will be unable to attend
a scheduled meeting, call or email ahead of time.
Written progress reports will be
posted on the Web prior to
the weekly meeting, with
a summary at the
end of every term or semester. The weekly
progress report can be short---1 or 2 pages---but must state what has
been accomplished since the last report, what is expected to be
accomplished in the next interval,
and what obstacles were encountered. One progress report per project.
The end of term/semester summary, project proposal, or final report may be
substituted for the weekly progress report.
You are strongly encouraged to submit condensed versions of
high-quality reports and theses to conferences and journals.
All thesis students must submit at least one paper based on the thesis.
A well-written final report or thesis is required.
Correct spelling and grammar are mandatory.
Contact the Writing Center if writing assistance is needed.
A complete draft must be submitted at least 10 days before the final
revisions. Submitting sections earlier is encouraged.
Thesis readers must be given at
least 10 days to review submitted materials.
If the project advisor is to review a draft before the reader,
submit the draft at least 20 days before the deadline.
You must prepare copies of final reports for all
thesis reader, off-campus advisor or sponsor,
- All submitted work must be original.
- There are occasions when direct quotations are unavoidable.
Indicate exactly which material is a direct quotation,
and provide a reference including page numbers.
- Minimize direct quotations; quote only the material needed to
support the point.
- Always quote the original source; never quote one author quoting another.
- Rules of attribution apply equally to drafts and finished work.
Do not let anyone suspect plagiarism.
A well-organized final presentation is required for IQP, MQP and thesis
projects. This may be satisfied by an on-site presentation for
off-campus work, or
CS MQP presentation,
Research Group meeting,
or other forum.
Use professional tools for your presentation, e.g., PowerPoint,
Light Pro and browser.
Expect to go through a dry run of the presentation with the project advisor.
All software must be of professional quality.
It must be
thoroughly documented, including a User's
Manual, if appropriate.
Use an IDE.
If written in Java,
it must use javadoc for documentation.
It must be thoroughly demonstrated.
Warning: Normally well-behaved demos have been known to break in
the presence of a project advisor!
It must be thoroughly debugged.
It must compile without error. Warnings should be minimal; those that
remain should be explainable.
It must be portable. Use makefiles.
If your project advisor cannot compile and run it, it isn't good enough.
Maintain up-to-date project web pages.
Include the proposal, specs, weekly reports, links to related items,
links to your homepages, etc.
Maintain a current homepage with a link to your project. Or a wiki.
Post images and videos as appropriate.
You are expected to find and post information on the
While the Web is a valuable information source, use it
judiciously. Note well that primary sources,
such as original papers,
are always preferable to secondary sources, such as the Wikipedia.
Let your advisor know where your personal and project web pages are located.
You are be responsible for finding out exactly what
administrative paperwork is required
and for preparing same. This includes Completion of Degree
Requirements (CDR) forms, Thesis forms, etc.
- No passing grades will be awarded until all borrowed materials
have been returned.
- Grading policy:
"A" indicates exceptional work, not just good effort.
Significant original ideas, effort that goes far beyond what is expected,
and meticulous implementation all contribute to an "A."
"B" indicates good work, while "C" is for acceptable
"SP" indicates satisfactory performance at "A," "B," or
An "NR" grade will be given when little or no work has been
performed during the grading period or when awarding additional credit
The final grade for a multiple-term/semester project
may, at the advisor's discretion, supersede intermediate grades.
"NAC" indicates unacceptable work.
Groups Take Note!
All project students share responsibility for the project's success.
All team members should understand the entire project,
and should read all weekly progress reports, term/semester summaries,
proposal, and final report.
You will receive a grade that reflects the
group's overall achievement and your individual contribution to it.
- You will be asked
to confidentially evaluate everyone's contribution, including
- Follow these Guidelines!
Michael A. Gennert's Home Page
WPI CS Home Page
WPI Home Page
michaelg at wpi dot edu