About the Course (Winter 2023)

Survey of Computer Science is a required course for all Computer Science MSc and PhD students. According to the 2022-23 Graduate Academic Calendar, the course is described as follows:

CSCI 5010G – Survey of Computer Science Research Topics and Methods. This course is a survey of some of the main research topics in computer science and the corresponding computer science research methods. Topics covered vary from year to year and may include digital media, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, computer networks, security, health informatics, databases and software design. Research methods covered include library methods, topic analysis, data management, technical writing, presentations, evaluation methods and peer review. This course includes guest lectures by experts in the research topics covered. Credit hours: 3

The topics surveyed will be presented by weekly guest lectures from graduate faculty in the Computer Science program and will be a mix of state-of-the-art research in the fields of digital media, information systems, networks & IT security and software design.

In addition to surveying Computer Science topics the course will also survey Computer Science research methods. Each week half of the lecture will be devote to introducing a new research method and addressing common questions such as:

  • How do I learn about my chosen field of research?
    • Finding research papers and creating an annotated bibliography
    • Conducting literature reviews, classifications and taxonomies
  • How do I select a research topic?
    • Conducting a topic analysis
    • Technical writing
  • How do I write a thesis proposal?
    • The structure of a thesis proposal
    • Defining a research hypothesis
    • Proposing a methodology and understanding the possible outcomes
  • Is there a right way to manage my research?
    • Research logs
    • Research meetings – agendas, notes
    • Backing up data! – The benefit of version control systems
  • How do I evaluate my research work?
    • Evaluation methods for computer science research tools and techniques
    • Evaluation methods for computer science research involving human subjects
    • The importance of reproducibility, threats to validity
    • Conducting ethical research
  • How do I write up and defend my thesis?
    • The structure of a thesis proposal
    • Advice on obtaining feedback from your supervisor and committee
  • How do I publish and disseminate my research?
    • Different kinds of research publication venues – workshops, conferences, journals, books
    • Publication quantity vs. quality – understanding publication metrics, citation counts, etc.
    • The peer review process and how to review a paper
    • Oral communication and research presentations

Course Outline

The course outline can be found here.

Marking Scheme

  • Annotated Bibliography – 15%
  • Paper – 25%
  • Peer Review – 15%
  • Presentations (2) – 25%
  • Attendance & Participation – 20%