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Final Project Proposal

In this assignment, you will produce a plan for your final project and an in-class presentation on Friday April 18.

Considerations for two-person project teams are described near the end of this document.


The final project is worth 25% of your overall class grade. This proposal document is worth one-fifth of that – so I'd like a significant effort on the proposal itself. Also, given the compressed schedule, I am asking you to start working on the project itself before the point you turn in this proposal (note: real projects are often this way).

As we discussed, here are the things that will make a high-quality project:

  • explicit connection to ideas that were introduced in the course
  • explicit connection to some real-world domain
  • an interesting overall concept
  • something that you personally are interested in and care about
  • an implementation in which you learned something carrying it out
  • demo that lets people (or yourself) interact with your project
  • a writeup that explains what you accomplished

The Proposal

Given that there are less than three weeks from today until when the project must be demonstrated, I expect you to have accomplished meaningful implementation work at the point when turn in this proposal. So you should start building something and then write it up as a proposal.

The proposal itself is a written document that explains what you are going to do. It should have the following sections:

  • Project title. No more than ten words. Really.
  • Problem statement. What is the problem and why is it interesting?
  • Problem analysis. Explain what approaches from the class you will bring to bear on the problem. Be explicit.
  • Data set or other source materials. If you will be working from existing data, where will you get the data (e.g., will you download it from a web site, will you create it via a simulation that you build, etc.)? How will you convert it into a form that is usable for your project? Do your homework here: if you are pulling a data set off the web, actually download it and look at it. Explain in some detail your plan for accomplishing the necessary data processing.
If you are using some other starting materials, explain what they are.
  • Deliverable and Demonstration. What exactly will you produce by the end of the project? Of course, there will be a piece of software, but what will it do? Is it a batch-mode kind of thing, and you will present some analytical results? If so, how would your program be re-run on different source data?
Will your program be interactive, and you can show it at work? There will be a demonstration, so interactive/live programs will be good.
Explain exactly what you'll have at the end.
  • Evaluation of results. How will you know if you are successful? It would be wonderful if this included some kind of quantitative analysis.
  • Major components. Explain how you will go from proposal to finished product. Explicitly define at least three major components of the project. Put them in logical sequence as to the order they will be created. Indicate dates that they will be done. Remember the whole thing is due Friday May 2.

In short: You should be proposing something that you have high confidence that you can achieve, and the proposal should project that confidence.

The proposal should be no longer than necessary, but long enough to include critical detail. Two to three pages is appropriate. Diagrams are welcome.

In-Class Presentation

Create a two- to three-slide presentation of your idea which you will present in class on Friday April 18.

You will have two minutes.

Add your material to the Google Presentations slide deck indicated here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/91301-s14/QW1cGjF905M


The following rubric will be used to evaluate the final project itself. The percentages given are percent of overall class grade, so they total 25%.

2% in-class presentation on Friday Apr 18
3% quality of the proposal document itself (see above for what it should include)
3% degree/quality to which project makes use of class concepts (please be explicit about this in the project writeup)
10% accomplishing project itself
3% quality of final writeup document (will be assigned later)
3% quality of in-class demonstration of project (with accompanying poster—this will be assigned)


The proposal document must be a PDF, Microsoft Word, or OpenOffice file.

Make sure your real name is part of the document's file name.

Turn it in using:

submit fredm 301-fpp <filename-e.g.-fred-martin.pdf>

Do not submit a document named my-proposal.doc.


Teams of two are acceptable. The key is that the team must propose a joint product, but with each of the two individuals responsible for clearly separable parts.

In the Deliverables section, the project must be described in a modular way, so that each person his responsible for different pieces.

In the Major Components section, there should be two columns, one for each partner, showing parallel work. Please make sure to leave time for integration.

You are welcome to help your teammate with your teammate's portion, but you will be evaluated on the part that you specified that you are responsible for (in the proposal).

So, please make sure to specify the separate pieces that each of you will be working on. If you do your part, but your partner totally bails, I should be still be able to evaluate your work and give you an A (or whatever grade is appropriate).

Teams should submit one proposal with both of your names on it. I will decide later how the end-of-project writeups will be handled.