CIS 400/401 Senior Design Projects 2009/2010

Instructor and TA's Information:

Instructor: Insup Lee
E-Mail: lee [at] cis.upenn
Office: Levine 602
Office Hours: TR 4:30 - 6:00 PM
Teaching Asst: Jian Chang
E-Mail: jianchan [at] cis
Office: Levine 613
Office Hours: By Appointment
Teaching Asst: Andrew G. West
E-Mail: westand [at] cis
Office: Levine 613
Office Hours: By Appointment


  • The CIS401 final project report due by 11:59PM on Apr. 24.
  • Please submit your final report via BlackBoard.
  • CIS401 Project Poster Day is on Apr. 27, 9AM-5PM in SEAS Levine Hall.
  • To facilitate the commercial printing of your posters, posters are due by 11:59PM on Apr. 22, WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
  • Please submit your posters via BlackBoard.
  • CIS400 final project interview meeting time blocks: [Mar 16, 1-3PM] - [Mar 17, 2-4PM] - [Mar 18, 12-1PM]- [Mar 19, 1-3PM] - [Mar 22, 2:30-4:30PM] - [Mar 23, 1-4PM]
  • Please choose a time block for your group. The sign-up sheets are on the door of Levine 602.
  • Please also submit your presentation for the meeting via BlackBoard.
  • CIS400 final progress report presentation meeting time blocks: [Dec 14, 1-4PM] - [Dec 15, 9-10:20AM, 1-2PM, 3-6PM] - [Dec 16, 9-12AM, 1-4PM]
  • Presentation for the meeting is due by Monday, Dec 14 12PM.
  • Please also submit your presentation for the meeting via BlackBoard.
  • CIS400 final progress report is due by Sunday, Dec 13 11:59:59PM. 
  • Electronic copies are to be submitted via BlackBoard.
  • Project Proposal is due by Thursday, Oct 8 5:00PM. 
  • Hard copies with advisor's signature should be given to Marissa Mele in Levine 311. 
  • Electronic copies are to be submitted via BlackBoard.
  • SEAS TCP Assistant Director Douglas McGee will host research information sessions on Thursday 9/17 at the normal course time and Wednesday 9/23 at 5:00PM. Location: TBA.
  • Attendance at ONE of these sessions is REQUIRED.
  • LaTeX turtorial will be on Tuesday, 9/15, 4:30-6:00 PM, TOWN 303
  • Our first course meeting will be on Thursday, 9/10, 4:30-6:00 PM, TOWN 303

Milestone Dates:

GENERAL INFORMATION N/A [Intro Slides] [General Rubric] [Tech. Comm. Rubric] [Writing Guidelines]
400: Project Proposal Oct. 8, 5PM [Proposal Specification] [LaTeX Example Package] [LaTeX Tutorial] [LaTeX Tutorial Example Package]
400: Progress Report Dec. 13, 11:59PM [Proposal Specification] [LaTeX Example Package]
400: Progress Report Presentation Meeting Dec. 14, 15, 16 (Various time blocks) You are required to bring FOUR slides that highlight:
(1) Problem/motivation & Related work; (2) Your Approach; (3) Progresses so far; (4) Future plan.
400: Final Project Interview Meeting Mar. 16-19, 22-23 (Various time blocks) [Interview Presentation Guideline]
401: Project Poster Apr. 22, 11:59PM [Poster Specification and Examples]
401: Final Project Report Apr. 24, 11:59PM [Final Report Specification]
401: Project Poster Day Apr. 27, 9AM-5PM To be held in Levine Hall

Course Structure:

[Goals] The goal of this course is to provide an opportunity to define, design, and execute a project of your own choosing. Evaluation is based on your ability to select an interesting topic, communicate your objectives in writing and presentations, to accurately gauge what resources are required to complete your chosen task, and your ability to execute your plan.

[Course Mechanics] In CIS 400 you are required to submit two revisions of your project description. After the first submission you will sign up for a design review meeting. During the 20-30 minute meeting we will review your document, discuss, and tweak your objectives (This first portion is 25% of the CIS 400 grade). The second revision, due later in the semester, is expected to be a longer and more technical account of your approach and progress. It should also include a prototype demonstration. (This portion is 75% of the CIS 400 grade). Additional review meetings will be held during the spring semester (CIS 401) to assess your progress. At the conclusion of spring term, poster presentations will be held, with prizes awarded to outstanding projects.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Are team projects allowed? Pair projects are often approved assuming the project scope reflects the additional team member. Teams with more than two members are not likely to be approved.

  • Can I have a project advisor from outside the CIS department? Yes, but I will likely require an additional advisor within the CIS department who can evaluate your work from a CIS perspective.

  • Can I register for a class that conflicts with CIS 400/401? Yes, but you are required to sign up for and attend the individual project review meetings and any other additional meetings.

    Ideas & Past Year's Projects::

  • Senior Project's 2008/2009
  • Senior Project's 2007/2008
  • Senior Project's 2006/2007
  • Senior Project's 2005/2006
  • Senior Project's 2004/2005

    Project Resources:

  • Senior Design Project Course Guide @ Penn Libraries
  • Information Resources in CIS @ Penn Libraries
  • Science & Engineering Libraries @ Penn

  • Derwent Innovations Index (Patent Library)
  • Google Scholar
  • CiteSeer Digital Library and Citation Repository
  • ACM Digital Library
  • IEEE/IEE Electronic Library
  • Full-text version of "Lecture Notes in Computer Science" (lots of books)

  • Plagiarism - What it is and how to avoid it -- DON'T DO IT!