graduate students

Current Doctoral Students

  • Sami Albouq
  • Reihaneh Hosseinzadeh Hariri
  • Kate Bowers

Current Masters Students

  • Charles Smartt

Resources

The remainder of this page is to provide my graduate students with my expectations and resources to help guide you in your work.

Weekly Meetings

All graduate students are expected to submit a status report by 10pm prior to our weekly meetings. Furthermore, all status reports are to be formatted using LaTeX (as you will be working on academic papers using LaTeX anyway). Use the following code as a basis for your reports:

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage{fullpage}
%\usepackage{doublespace}
\begin{document}
\title{Weekly Status Report}
\author{Project Name \\
Name(s) of Participants \\
\date{Week Ending 8/29/03}
}
\maketitle
%
% This section is used to list the key action items from the
% previous meeting. This information will help provide 
% continuity of information and decisions made in the
% previous meeting. 
% Use the \item construct to list each item.  Try to keep the
% descriptions for each down to one or two sentences
%
\section{Summary of Action Items from Previous Meeting}
\begin{enumerate}
\item Action item description and status (completed, in progress, terminated) 
\item Action item
\end{enumerate}
%
% This section is used to list the accomplishments of the week.
% Use the \item construct to list each item.  Try to keep the
% descriptions for each down to one or two sentences
%
\section{Planned Accomplishments}
\begin{enumerate}
\item New item: give internal deadline for deliverable.
\item Person and Scheduled Task name:
   \begin{itemize}
      \item hours spent by person
      \item description of what was done (task doesn't need to be complete)
   \end{itemize}
\item Scheduled Task name:
   \begin{itemize}
      \item hours spent by person
      \item description of what was done (task doesn't need to be complete)
   \end{itemize}
\end{enumerate}

%
% This section is used to list the unscheduled accomplishments of the week.
% Use the \item construct to list each item.  Try to keep the
% Descriptions for each down to one or two sentences
%
\section{Other Accomplishments}
\begin{itemize}
\item
\item
\end{itemize}

%
% This section is used to list the following week's plan
% Use the \item construct to list each item.  Try to keep the
% Descriptions for each down to one or two sentences
%
\section{Next Week's Plan}
\begin{itemize}
\item
\item
\end{itemize}

%
% This section is used to list any issues that were raised during
% the week that are of special interest.  Also use this to voice
% issues that the TA or Instructor must resolve.
% Use the \item construct to list each item.  Try to keep the
% Descriptions for each down to one or two sentences
%
\section{Issues}
\begin{itemize}
\item
\item
\end{itemize}

\end{document}

Writing Resources

In addition to coercing you all into becoming power-LaTeX users, we will also follow Dr. Stirewalt’s (Michigan State University) 5-paragraph rule for writing introductions:

Dr. Stirewalt's 5-paragraph rule for writing Introductions

Of the many tasks involved in writing a good conference
paper, I find writing the introduction section to be
the most difficult. This is unfortunate, as a poorly
structured argument sets the wrong tone for what might
otherwise be really good research. To help manage this
painful process, I have developed a heuristic, called the
{\em five-paragraph rule}, that is useful for organizing
introductions. The heuristic prescribes that good
introductions should contain a sequence of five major
pieces, each of which should fit into a single paragraph
in order to force the writer to communicate at the
appropriate level of abstraction. The heuristic borrows
ideas from {\em persuasive argument} and
{\em structured analysis/structured design} (ala DeMarco/Yourdon),
and it is reminscent of a similar structuring mechanism
from freshman level courses in English composition.
My success in publishing papers increased dramatically
once I began to use this heuristic to structure my
introductions.

The heuristic is: Design your introductions to comprise five paragraphs
whose purpose and contents are as follows:

1) Introductory paragraph: Very briefly: What is the problem and
        why is it relevant to the audience attending *THIS CONFERENCE*?
        Moreover, why is the problem hard, and what is your solution?
        You must be brief here. This forces you to boil down your
        contribution to its bare essence and communicate it directly.

2) Background paragraph: Elaborate on why the problem is hard,
        critically examining prior work, trying to tease out one
        or two central shortcomings that your solution overcomes.

3) Transition paragraph: What keen insight did you apply
        to overcome the shortcomings of other approaches?
        Structure this paragraph like a syllogism:
        Whereas P and P => Q, infer Q.

4) Details paragraph: What technical challenges did you have
        to overcome and what kinds of validation did you perform?

5) Assessment paragraph: Assess your results and briefly state
        the broadly interesting conclusions that these results
        support. This may only take a couple of sentences. I
        usually then follow these sentences by an optional
        overview of the structure of the paper with interleaved
        section callouts.

Here are some other various writing resources:

  • Elements of Style (Strunk and White)
  • How to Write & Publish a Scientific Paper, Robert A. Day, ORYX Publisher, 1998.
  • Style: Toward Clarity and Grace, Joseph M. Williams, The University of Chicago Press 1990