Pilot Project

For the course project, you will be choosing a topic that we have covered during the class, and exploring it further on your own. This could mean replicating and modifying an existing paper's algorith, collecting a new and different data set, coming up with a whole new approach of your own to somthing we've talked about, etc.

An important part of doing this kind of research project is the pilot study. The idea behind a pilot study is it should be a small-scale, proof-of-concept step towards your final project. For the purposes of this class, you should be showing me that you have ideas about:

  1. what problem you'll be solving or question you'll be answering,
  2. how you're going to do that,
  3. why it's a good/interesting approach (i.e., you've done some background reading), and
  4. what data or other resources you'll be needing, and how you'll get it (or have already gotten it)
Furthermore, you should demonstrate that you've made at least some sort of concrete step towards doing your final projects: you've gotten at least some of the data you'll need, you've implemented an algorithm out of one of the papers you found, you've run that data through that algorithm, and gotten some sort of evaluation numbers out to use as a baseline, etc. Not necessarily that you've done *all* of those things, mind- having done any combination of a couple of them will suffice.

For example, if you were particularly interested in relevance feedback, your pilot project might go something like this: "I went and looked at last year's SIGIR papers, and thought that Jones et al. had an interesting approach to relevance feedback. I downloaded a copy of the data from the 2010 TREC Relevance Feedback track, and was able to replicate Jones's algorithm (see results). For my final project, I'm going to try to improve on their approach by ${NIFTY_TECHNIQUE}, which I think will work because ${REASONS}."

Your deliverables will be:

  1. a 5-minute presentation, with slides, in class on 5/19;
  2. a two-page writeup talking about points a-d above.
If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask.

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