(rev. February 27, 2017)
[2017/02/27: Modified office hours]
[2017/01/28: Initial version ]
TERM: Spring 2017
Seminar in Computer Science (CS 4960)
CLASS INFO FROM SCHEDULE:
20585 CS 4960 002 Seminar in Computer Science 1.0 Wednesdays 11:00-11:50 P-103
INSTRUCTOR: John Sarraillé, Professor of Computer Science
Professional Schools Building (also known as Demergasso-Bava Hall), Cal State Stanislaus
(The first day of scheduled office hours is Monday, January 30, 2017, and
the last is Wednesday, May 17, 2017.)
- Mondays 11:00-13:00
- Tuesdays 12:30-13:30
- Thursdays 12:30-13:30, 15:00-16:00
- or ask me for an appointment at a time that works for you
Senior standing and consent of instructor.
(This course is for senior computer science majors.)
REQUIRED TEXT: None.
- To explore aspects of computer science beyond what you have encountered
in your previous course work,
- To benefit from similar research done by your fellow students, and
- To present an important body of work in both written and oral form.
- Accept the presentation date I assign at the beginning of the semester.
- Choose a computer science topic to research and present to an audience.
The audience will include, but not be limited to, the other members of
- The topic must have significant scholarly, as opposed
to merely technological, content.
- The research must draw on multiple sources, and embody
concepts that may be expected to endure beyond any particular
- Your presentation must be different from all others, including
those given in other courses.
- Propose your topic (use
the e-mail form interface)
and follow all the directions given there.
The proposal must include:
- full citations, in proper form, of at least two sources
from which you intend to draw. For details about proper
content and form for citations, see
"Your List of References" and
"When You Make Direct Use of a Source" below.
When you submit your
proposal, you must submit filled-out forms
(see form #1
for two articles from
scholarly periodicals. Additional requirements regarding those two
articles appears below under the title
"RESTRICTIONS ON SOURCES"
- an abstract of up to 250 words, which describes
the nature of the scholarly content that you will include in
your presentation. You will enter the text of the abstract into
- Your proposal must be satisfactory in order for you to pass
the course. You must get my formal approval of
the proposal by working out
an agreement with me, which may mean that you will have to perform a
series of revisions to your proposal.
- Create a balanced and unbiased written report on your topic.
Base it on solid sources, including at least the ones you listed in
your approved proposal. Your report must contain what the
approved proposal says it will contain. You can add more content,
but you aren't allowed to leave out stuff that you said you'd include.
Synthesize and summarize the knowledge you gained
from studying your source materials. Infuse the exposition
of the report with freshness and originality.
The report must tell what you learned about the
subject matter - what you think, feel, and wonder about it. What
interesting questions did your research answer? What interesting
questions remain unanswered?
How long does your written report need to be? The written
report must contain exposition of everything you are going to say in
your oral presentation, and your oral presentation has to run at least
40 minutes. By rehearsing and timing yourself you can figure out
how long it takes you to present, say, a page of material. Once you
figure that out, you will know how many pages you need. Do not fail
to prepare a presentation that runs at least 40 minutes.
- Turn in your written report one week in advance of your presentation
Give one copy of your written report to me, and a copy to each
member of the class, so that all members can begin reviewing
the information a week before your oral presentation.
must be double-spaced, have wide margins, and have a font size of
12 or greater.
You will have the option of either giving each
member of the class a hard copy of the report,
or sharing a link with the class -
a link to a PDF version of your report, published via the
CS Department web server.
"Sharing a link with the class" means you come to class on the
due date and you share the link by giving each member of the class
a piece of paper, on which is typed or legibly
written the correct URL for accessing your report. That's how you
have to do it.
Whether or not you decide to give hard copies of your report
to your fellow students, you must give me a hardcopy
of the report.
If you ask Marlys, the CS Department secretary, sufficiently
ahead of time, she can help you avoid paying per-page charges
for any printouts or photocopies that you need to
make for me and/or the class members. Feel free to talk to me
about this if you have any questions.
- On your assigned date, deliver an oral presentation
of the content of your written report. Like your written
report, your oral presentation must contain what
the approved proposal said it would contain.
I will publicly announce seminar presentations.
They will be open to visitors who may wish to attend.
speak for no less than 40 minutes and no more than 45 minutes. If not,
you will have to repeat the presentation (during finals week)
in order to get credit for the course.
(To insure that your presentation goes well, it is essential
that you rehearse it, and that you are prepared to make
your presentation a little longer or shorter, if the need arises.)
After your talk ends, we'll ordinarily use some of the remainder of the
50-minute class session for comments, questions, and your answers.
When you make your oral presentation, you'll lose a lot of
credit if you merely read your words from prepared text.
That could also lead to me requiring you to repeat your presentation.
(Whether the prepared text you read from is on a screen, on paper,
or something else is immaterial.)
It's fine if you rely somewhat on looking at "slides" on
the classroom screen, or other kinds of notes, but you are not
allowed to spend long periods of time reading stuff to the audience.
Also, it will count against you if you remain seated for most or
all of your presentation.
Some people have significant special kinds of issues with
public speaking. If that's the case for you, bring your issues up
with me right away, and I'll see what I can work out with you.
You can come see me in my office to discuss such issues.
- Attend all the presentations of the other members
of the class. React to
the presentations by asking questions and by filling in
which I will collect after the presentation, record, anonymize, and give
to the presenter. During the semester, each student must
ask (out loud) presenters at least three documented
questions, and receive their answers. Students will document
questions by (accurately) writing the questions and answers on a
Assuming you fulfill all the requirements listed above, I will base
your grade on four components:
Each of the components above will get equal weight.
- the quality of your efforts during the topic selection and topic proposal
- your grade on your written report,
- your grade on your oral presentation, and
- your participation grade.
To a significant degree, I will judge all work on the extent to which you
follow directions, meet deadlines, and observe time
In addition, I'll grade your topic selection and proposal based on their
quality; I'll grade your paper and oral presentation based on the
thoroughness and depth with which you address your topic, as
well as the clarity, accuracy and style of your
presentation. You'll get a grade between 0 and 100 for each component.
You'll get one participation credit for each time you attend a presentation
and turn in an acceptable feedback form. I'll compute your number of
satisfactory feedback forms as a percentage of the number possible, and this
percentage will be your participation grade (unless your total number of
documented questions is less than three).
You'll receive credit (a grade of "CR") for the course if
Otherwise you will receive no credit ("NC").
- you receive a a score of 60 or above in each of the four components, and
- your average over the four components is 70 or above.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN WORK:
How to Cite Your Sources of Information
It is very important to good scholarship and intellectual honesty that
you accurately and fully report the sources of information you employ in
preparing your report.
Your List of References
Make a list of references. In the list, cite all your sources of
information whatever be their form: written word, audio, image, video,
material artifact. Attach the list to the end of your written report.
A report without such a properly-constructed list of references is
unacceptable. The citations have to be complete
and have a proper kind of format, as explained further on in this
document, and in some of the documents to which this
document has links.
The references in a list are always numbered or tagged in some way so
that you can specify exactly which one you mean when you speak or write
Each item in your list of references is a guide to your reader.
The reader may want to examine your source material. You must
describe each of your sources so that the reader will be able to find a
copy of the source as easily as possible.
Here are some specific rules for citing an article, book, or web page:
- For our purposes, a periodical is a scholarly magazine
(also known as a journal)
that is published, continuing indefinitely, at regular intervals
(no less frequently than quarterly - four times per year).
An entry in your list of
references for an article in a periodical must
If you accessed the article on-line, then you must also cite
the full URL.
- the title of the article,
- the name(s) of the author(s) of the article,
- the page numbers where the article appears (or, if you
read the article online and page numbers are not available, the full
URL of the article),
- the title of the periodical in which the article appeared,
- the date of publication of the issue of the periodical
in which the article appeared (along with any volume
and/or issue numbers you can find), and
- the name of the editor of the issue of the periodical
in which the article appeared.
Scholars are not normally required to cite
the name of the EDITOR of a journal, but I require YOU
to do that. I think it will help make sure that you pick the right
kinds of articles. You may have to do some extra searching to
find the editor's name, but it's usually pretty easy to locate
it in the "about" information or a similar category. Where does the
name of the editor go in your citations? Put it at the very end.
- An entry in your list of references for an article from the
proceedings of a conference will contain much the same
information as a citation for an article from a journal.
However there won't usually be volume or issue numbers,
and instead of editor name(s), you may find only name(s)
of conference chair(s).
- An entry in your list of references for a book
Some books are on-line. For example, many books that are in the
public domain are on-line. If you accessed the book on-line then you
must also cite the full URL.
- the title and edition number,
- date of publication, and
Scholars are not normally required to cite
the ISBN of a book, but I require YOU to do that.
It may give me some needed help when I'm checking your
references. Where does the ISBN go in your citations?
Put it at the very end.
- If you want to use a web page as a reference, rule 1 or rule
2 may apply. If not, then you must diligently search the web
page and the appropriate related pages (e.g. a link to "home" or
"about us") for the following information:
The URL should be "stable." If it appears that the page will
only be available temporarily, then it is not appropriate
to use it as a source.
- date the page was last updated,
- date you viewed the page,
- the full URL, and
- any additional information you think may help your reader find the
information and/or get an idea of its quality.
Citations for other forms of writing, audio, video, images, and
artifacts are to be made along the same lines.
for a great deal of very useful additional information regarding
how to cite various kinds of source material.
RESTRICTIONS ON SOURCES:
Two of your sources - the ones you submit as part of your proposal,
form #1 here -- must be articles
from scholarly periodicals, citable as described above,
of high quality, and published no more than five years ago.
this information from the Cornell University Library for help
understanding the difference between scholarly and non-scholarly
To help insure that these two required articles are scholarly,
you must verify that it is possible to find both of them using
this search facility. Make sure of that before
submitting your topic proposal. Of course, you can use that
search facility to perform your initial searches for those articles.
Caution: An article appearing in the proceedings
of a scholarly conference is not equivalent to an article
from a scholarly periodical, and so I will not
accept an article from the proceedings of a conference as a subsitute
for one of the required articles from scholarly periodicals.
There is some good information about the difference between
conference proceedings and journals
WHEN YOU MAKE DIRECT USE OF A SOURCE
Direct use of source text means direct quotation or close
paraphrase. The term also applies to other kinds of "art." For
example, if you insert an image from one of your sources into your work,
that is direct use of a source. If you slightly modify or copy
someone's art and then insert it into your work, it is still considered
In the type of writing you are assigned to do for this class, it is
permissable to make limited direct use of source material.
However, it is very seldom appropriate to make extended direct use of
For example, it is seldom appropriate to quote or paraphrase a long
passage of text from a source. It is seldom proper to include copious
numbers of diagrams and images from source material.
You must include acknowledgement with each direct use of a
source, whether it be limited or extended.
It is dishonest to omit proper acknowledgement.
You must place quotation marks ("") around any text that
you copy directly (quote) from a source.
You must place the acknowledgement in very close proximity to the
location in your writing where you have used the source. The
acknowledgement must indicate which source you used and where to
find the material within the source. You may use an in-line comment or
a footnote to identify the location.
For example, if you number the items in your reference list like this:
Then you can use a simple in-line comment within your text to
acknowledge and identify the location of a direct quotation.
The following text illustrates the idea:
-  Comer, Douglas E. 1999. Computer Networks and Internets, 2nd
ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-083617-6.
-  Sobell, Mark G. 1995. Unix System V: a practical guide, 3rd
ed. Boston, MA: Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-8053-7566-X.
As Comer states on page 158 of : "To achieve high bit rates over
conventional twisted pair wiring, ADSL uses an adaptive technology in
which a pair of modems probe many frequencies on the line between them
According to the free dictionary:
DEFINITION: To Plagiarize
- Transitive Verb:
- To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as
- To appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from
- Intransitive Verb:
- To put forth as original to oneself the ideas or words of
If you make direct use of a source without acknowledgement, then you are
plagiarizing, and that is dishonest.
Do not plagiarize any part of what you write
for this class, or what you present visually or orally.
If there is compelling evidence of plagiarism, I will withhold credit,
in the manner I deem appropriate, including the possibility of assigning
a failing grade to the offender.
NETWORK AVAILABILITY OF COURSE MATERIALS:
I will make course documents available on the world wide web. To access the
on-line CS 4960 materials, you can open the URL:
There is also a miscellaneous collection of information that you may want to
use from time to time. It is located here: