CS8395 — Project

You are required to work on a research project during the semester. There will be a Project Proposal in which you present a proposed project to the class before Spring Break. At the end of the semester, you will present a Project Presentation containing the results you have.

You can work in groups of 1, 2, or 3 students. It is up to you to find project partners; you are welcome to use the Piazza forum to do so.

You have two options for your semester project:

  1. You can work on a novel research idea, in which you work on a technique or area that solves a security project. Under this option, the goal is to develop a project that culminates in a manuscript that can be submitted to a cybersecurity conference or workshop. This option is suitable for PhD students.
  2. You can work on a Systematization of Knowledge project, in which you will systematize knowledge of a particular area of cybersecurity. SoK papers are a good option if you are a new researcher (e.g., a first year graduate student).

You can pick whichever option you like; there is no difference, penalty, or benefit from choosing one option over the other.

Picking a research topic

You can meet with me to discuss potential research ideas for a project. In addition, a list of potential highl-level topics is below:

Novel research

Ideally, your project will culminate in a written project report that is worth submitting to a conference or workshop venue. If you are interested in submitting your work for peer-review, I am happy to work with you, even after the semester ends, provided the work is of acceptable quality.

Systematization of Knowledge

As an alternative, you are welcome to work on a Systematization of Knowledge project. SoK projects are surveys of existing literature in a specific area (e.g., "malware analysis," "election cybersecurity," "cloud resource management," etc.). If you elect to do an SoK project, your project proposal presentation will incorporate why the area matters and is worth systematizing as well as a table of citations that you will explore and taxonomize.

Project Approval

You may want to discuss your potential project idea with me before the Proposal (before spring break) and the Final Presentation (last day of class). You can email me or catch me after class to discuss a direction to see whether your potential idea is appropriate for this class. I welcome and encourage project ideas that overlap with your thesis, dissertation, or other coursework, but please let me know ahead of time about such arrangements. If possible, you should discuss your project with me during early February.

Project Pitch

The project pitch is due early in the semester, on Wednesday, February 1, by noon Central. is meant to be a quick ideation step to see if you are able to identify and scope an appropriate project, identify potential teammates, and get early feedback about your idea. The pitch consists of:

Project Proposal

The project proposal is due the week before spring break, on Monday, March 6, by noon Central. The proposal consists of:

Turn-in for Project Proposal

You must submit two artifacts separately on the submission system.

  • prospectus.pdf, your 2 page prospectus document. Your bibliography can extend beyond 2 pages. You must include each team member's name, VUNetID, and Vanderbilt email address at the top of each page.
  • proposal-slides.pdf, your presentation slides. I will likely want to use my laptop to present all teams' presentations, so I would like a PDF of your slides for class. The presentation should take no more than 10 minutes. Assume there will be 2 minutes of questions and answers in addition to the presentation.

Final Project

The final project consists of two parts, each due separately.

Turn-in for Final Project

You must submit two artifacts separately on the submission system.

  • final-slides.pdf, your presentation slides. Your presentation should take no longer than 10 minutes, with an additional 3 minutes for setup and Q/A.
  • final-report.pdf, your written report. You must use either the IEEE and ACM conference proceedings template. Your written content should be 4 pages or fewer, with additional pages for bibliography. You must use ACM or IEEE style citations.