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Details for MTH 312 Research Project

MTH 312: Research Project Information

Overview

The research project is one of two extended projects that MTH 312 students can work on to demonstrate competence in the course. The primary objective of the research project is:

Work with a small group to investigate either a technical or non-technical topic related to the course that was not explicitly covered in the course, and produce a presentation in which you briefly and effectively instruct a general audience on your topic.

In other words, what you'll be doing in the research project is choosing a topic that is not covered in the class but which is related to cryptography and privacy, researching it, and developing a short presentation on it that will be given to a general audience. The presentation will take place during our class' final exam period, which is Wednesday, April 27 from 12:00--1:50pm.

The presentation will be a poster presentation rather than a "speech" type presentation. Teams will make up posters and take turns presenting their research via the poster during the presentation session. For lots of information about posters, how to create them, and how to present with them, please see this website: http://go.ncsu.edu/posters.

Rubric for Evaluation

The public service project is evaluated using the EMRF rubric described in the syllabus. The evaluation is based on both the poster and the presentation.

The table below describes the criteria for these designations:

Mark Description
E The poster is focused on a single message, uses graphics to communicate the idea with text used only sparingly, is well-ordered with an obvious and logical sequence, and is visually attractive. The presentation is brief, focused, knowledgeable and clear, and the presenter is able to field questions from the audience.
M The poster is focused on a single message, uses graphics to communicate the idea with text used only sparingly, and is well-ordered with an obvious and logical sequence. The presentation is brief, focused, and clear.
R The poster has significant deficiencies in focus, effective use of graphics, or logical ordering and sequencing; or, the presentation lacks clarity, brevity, or a command of the subject matter.
F The poster or presentatation show evidence that the team clearly does not understand the subject matter; or there is an insubstantial attempt made at either a complete poster or complete presentation.

Timeline for Completion

  • Now: Think about an issue you'd like to address and a medium you might like to use, and talk with people you might like to work with.
  • Thursday, January 28: Select 1--2 other people in the class to form a project team. You will be working in groups of 2--3 (you plus the 1--2 other people). Groups of 4 or more are not allowed. Groups of 1 are allowed by permission only. On this date we will "lock in" the groups, and you and your group members should begin brainstorming ideas. This does not have to be the same team as for your public service project.
  • Thursday, February 18: Your team is to submit a short proposal (no longer than 2 pages) that describes what you plan on doing. You should talk about the topic you are choosing and what, exactly, you are going to present about it. (Some topics are very large, so you should try from the outset to narrow down your project to something manageable, that can be researched in a reasonable amount of time and presented in a brief amount of time. You should also ask any questions you have as well.
  • Week of February 22: I (Prof. Talbert) will be reading through your proposals and getting back with the team members with feedback and questions.
  • Week of February 29: Each team will be scheduling time to meet with me (Prof. Talbert) to discuss the feedback from the Research Project and your thoughts about. You'll be expected to have made some initial progress on this project by this point. During this week we will also be meeting with teams about the Public Service Project, which is described in a separate document.
  • Week of April 4: Teams will be scheduling time to meet with me for a second round of progress check-ins on your projects. By this point it's expected that your team will have made significant progress on the project and you should have a draft of the poster ready to show me -- this would just be a visual sketch of what is going to go on your poster and how it will be laid out. I will give some preliminary feedback on your work; the more you have to show me, the more detailed and precise that feedback will be.
  • Wednesday, April 27: During our scheduled final exam period from 12:00--1:50pm, we'll set up our posters in the classroom and take turns visiting posters and presenting work. This will be open to the public. Grades for the research project will be determined immediately afterward.

Ideas for topic areas

  • Choose a cryptosystem not studied in the course and figure out how it works, and teach the audience how to encrypt and decrypt with it and discuss cryptanalytic weaknesses and real-life uses.
  • Focus in on a particular historical event in which cryptography or privacy was a major issue, and tell the story of that event.
  • Focus in on a particular individual or organization central to the history of cryptography or privacy, and tell the story of that person or group.
  • Find a depiction of cryptography and privacy in literature, film, or music and give a full analysis of what the depiction gets right and what it gets wrong.
  • Find a scientific or engineering issue that is related to cryptography or privacy and explain it in detail and with clarity.

There are many, many other possible topic ideas to come up with. Just remember the primary objective:

Work with a small group to investigate either a technical or non-technical topic related to the course that was not explicitly covered in the course, and produce a presentation in which you briefly and effectively instruct a general audience on your topic.

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